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The word “termite” is one that is dreaded by just about every homeowner in every corner of the world, and for a good reason. Over time, the tiny insects have earned the moniker of “the silent killer” because of their ability to hide within the unseen parts of a home for months or even years on end without any visible indication of their presence. These pests are estimated to cause around $1.5 billion in damage each year in the southwestern United States alone.
More often than not, the time in which houses are most vulnerable to infestation is the beginning of the spring season, when termites and other swarming insects mate and form new colonies. Fortunately, there are plenty of termite treatment and control methods that you and your loved ones can use to insulate yourselves from the havoc that these tiny devourers are capable of wreaking. If they are already munching away, fear not, as there are effective answers for that as well.
Knowing the Enemy
In order to best hold off a swarm of termites from making their way through your home, it is a good idea to first familiarize yourself with their types and tendencies. Firstly, it is important to note that termites feed on wood of all kinds, not just the sorts used in the roof and walls of your home. They eat parts of dead plants and trees in general, which means that while the building itself may remain unaffected, your yard can still be at risk.
Outdoor trouble can usually be a solid indicator that there is starting to be termite activity in your area, as the soil is often the site of many subterranean termite homes. However, dry wood termites are more difficult to detect ahead of time, since they reside within the wood that they also consume. Once a colony of termites reaches a certain point in its maturity, the insects grow wings, at which point you will most frequently observe them buzzing around your windows and doors due to their innate attraction to light sources.
If the pests are allowed to reach their mating season unchecked, the problem only worsens. This is due to the fact that once two termites come together, they then move elsewhere to breed and in so doing form an entirely new colony.
A Dry Environment
Even though termites are, in theory a constant threat to any home, there are several preventative measures you can take which will hold the pests at bay if they are vigilantly maintained, starting with moisture control.
• Clean and clear out downspouts and gutters
• Create routes for water away from the home’s foundation
• Remove any standing water from the roof
• Keep plants trimmed back and wood mulch at the minimum necessary
• Mend any leaks in plumbing, faucets and air conditioning units
• Keep any exterior entry points for water or piping sealed
• Open and clear out all vents
Eliminating Wood Sources
Most of us make use of wood throughout the year and, as such, it is not realistic to try to take out all forms of contact for the sake of preventing termite infestation. However, you can do a few things to make the likelihood of their exposure to it at minimal as possible. Similar to the moisture situation, many of these have to do with wood proximity to the home itself.
• Do not allow wood forming the house to touch the soil
• Remove stumps and dispose of wood debris
• Limit outside access by installing screens over vents
• Look for damage in decks and fences
• All lumber, paper, and firewood should be kept away from the foundation and any crawlspaces
Recognizing the Signs
Not everyone will be fortunate enough to have implemented all of these buffers before a colony takes route, which is why it is just as important to know the signs that it has already occurred so that you can call a treatment and control service to take care of the problem.
• Hollow sounding wood around the house
• Mud tube termite shelters winding around on foundation wall
• Swarm of winged termites around light sources or entry points
• Wings from flying swarmer’s covering floors
• Damaged or bubbling paint
• Observing termite droppings in or around the home
Matching the Solution to the Problem
Depending on the severity and location of the problem, professionals will want to take a certain set of actions to exterminate the termites inside your home. The most common first step is to dig trenches around the foundation of the building so as to most effectively access the root of the problem. A rodding tool is then used to remove the insects’ homes and mud tubes. If you have a crawlspace under the foundation, it is ideal to have it treated as well. Additionally, if you have a basement, deep soil rodding should also be done.
Over time, voids can emerge in even the hardiest of home foundations. If, while they are trenching and rodding your piers, pipes and slabs, exterminators discover any openings, it is worth the investment to have them filled with a substance like foam. In this way, not only do you take care of the current problem, you have one more way to prevent more infestations in the future.
Don’t Put It Off
When it comes to dealing with a pest as potentially destructive as termites, time is of the essence. There are plenty of ways to keep them away from your home, such as minimizing exposed moisture and wood around your home, but sometimes they find a way inside anyway. When that happens, it is critical that you take action as soon as possible to get rid of them. Otherwise, you can end up with a situation in which termites mature, mate and form colonies in all areas.
The damage that comes as a consequence of this can be extremely expensive, which is why you need to hire a professional control and treatment company as quickly as possible. If you invest the money in extermination now, you will save yourself countless dollars and headaches down the line.
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