How to Help Get Rid of Termites
“You have a termite problem.” Those are words no homeowner wants to hear. A well-developed termite colony can wreak havoc on a home, with more than one million worker termites consuming more than 100 pounds of wood per year. If that’s not enough to give you a headache, the bill for repairing termite damage will. The average cost associated with treating and repairing damage from a termite infestation is over a staggering $8,000.
Termites are found in every state but Alaska, and they’re a persistent threat, especially in the South, Southeast, West and Southwest, where they thrive in warm climates. If your home is at risk (and it probably is) find out how you can help get rid of termites and learn what to do to ensure these pests stay far away from your property.
Know the Signs
Unfortunately, termite infestations can be active for an extended period of time before evidence is visible. Still, knowing what to look out for can help prevent further, more costly damage to your home. Keep an eye out for these signs of termites in your house:
- Mud tubes – These structures are a sign of subterranean termites, which live underground. These “termite highways” connect colonies to food sources, allowing workers to forage for food and easily return to the colony. They may appear near where your home’s foundation meets the ground and can also be spotted inside your home inside walls, baseboards, bookcases and other areas.
- Blistered wood – Another sign of subterranean termites is blistered wood. This makes wood appear like it has water damage and is often the result of subterranean termite activity beneath the surfaces of wood in your home.
- Droppings – Drywood termites produce droppings that look like small, hexagonal shaped pellets about the size of coffee grounds. Piles of these droppings near baseboards or other wooden structures may indicate their presence and activity.
- Hollow wood – As termites tunnel through wood, they weaken its structure. Wood that has been damaged by termites will often produce a hollow sound when tapped.
- Discarded wings – Reproductive termites conduct mating flights. During these flights, they leave their main colony to mate and establish a new colony elsewhere. Once they find a suitable location, they shed their wings since they won’t need to fly again. Piles of these discarded wings are a sure sign termites are present.
Set Up a Good Defense
They say the best defense is a good offense, and that’s definitely true when it comes to termites. There are a few steps you can take to help keep termites out of your home. Remember the following tips and tricks:
- Keep the area around your home clean – Plants, lumber and mulch can all provide a favorable environment for termites and also provide access to your house. Soil should be kept at least 4-6 inches away from wood in your home and remove vegetation and other debris from around your foundation.
- Remove moisture – Subterranean termites need a constant source of moisture and to survive. Ensure that storm drains empty away from your foundation, and repair and leaky pipes or faucets around the house.
- Seal up cracks – Termites can fit through cracks about 1/32 of an inch wide – about the thickness of a credit card. Take a proactive approach to sealing up any cracks or openings you see around your house. You should also seal openings around doors and windows.
Is DIY the Best Bet?
Termites are sneaky and, despite your best efforts, you may still wind up with some unwanted guests in your home. If you think you have a termite problem, it may be tempting to try a do-it-yourself solution before calling the professionals, but is this really your best bet?
There are a few things to consider when it comes to DIY termite treatments. The first is effectiveness. There are three primary species of termites that pose a threat to homes in the U.S.: subterranean, Formosan subterranean and drywood. Different species of termites respond to different types of treatments, and proper identification is critical to effective removal. Additionally, many DIY products, such as termite sprays, are only surface treatments. They eliminate visible termites but don’t destroy the colony.
Another consideration is cost. If the proper treatment method isn’t used, or if the treatment can be ineffective, you may wind up spending more money and causing yourself additional frustration.
Call the Pros
The best way to solve your termite woes is to call in the professionals. Whether you want a preventive plan or you need treatment options for an established infestation, a pest control specialist can evaluate your situation and provide next steps. Terminix® offers multiple forms of termite treatment designed to combat the species that threaten U.S. homes. Call to schedule your FREE inspection today.