The hardy, wood-eating termite exists in every American state besides Alaska, and with timber being such a popular building material, they pose a clear and present danger to homes across the nation. This article highlights the importance of termite control, and two vital strategies that homeowners need to do to protect their asset – early detection of a termite colony, and the prompt destruction of it.
There are four species of termite found in the United States, and unfortunately all of them love cellulose – the substance at the heart of all the structural and internal timber in your home.
Together these insects cause a staggering ($5 000 000 000), that’s five billion dollars damage to property across the country every year, and none of that loss is covered by insurance! Below are some practical suggestions to assist you with the detection and destruction of a termite colony and hire a pest control company.
Detection of Termites
The best way to have peace of mind that you aren’t hosting a termite colony is to ask a pest control professional to inspect your home and yard. You can find pest control companies by searching on Facebook or by search engines. Ask friends for a recommendation as well. Ideally an inspection would have been done before settlement (as part of your purchasing due diligence). However if that did not occur, its very much a case of better late than never.
A pest controller or inspector will typically look for other infestations as well as termites, and this should be encouraged as you will already have them there at your property.
Depending on the region of the country that you call home, a termite control inspection should be carried out at least on an annual basis. And immediately you notice any of the termite warning signs outlined below.
Tell-tale Signs of Termite Activity
Have a good close look around the perimeter of your home on a sunny day. Also if it’s accessible to you – a thorough inspection underneath it. Arm yourself with a flat screwdriver and a torch. Then hunt for the these tell-tale signs.
One of the commonest species of termites construct mud tubes around the timber they are attacking, mainly to stay hidden from birds and lizards. The tubes are about the diameter of a pencil and will vary in colour depending on the soil type around your home. Use the screwdriver blade to pierce a tube and see if there are termites crawling inside.
If there are, you know you have a problem, however even if you can’t see any termites it means that they have been there. They may well be resident in another part of your home. If you locate any mud tubes at all, you should not hesitate to call in pest inspectors.
Hollowed out Timber
Use the handle of the screwdriver to tap on any accessible timber around and under your home, including beams and siding. Start at ground level and tap every six inches or so till you reach head height. If you detect a hollow sound, take the screwdriver blade and gently press on the surface of the timber.
Termites tend to consume the cellulose in the timber from the inside out. A sure sign of a serious infestation is when the skin of the timber (painted or exposed) collapses. If this happens, you can be certain that termites are currently very active on your property. Perhaps have been so in the past, maybe during previous home improvement projects. In either case, you need to call in a termite removal specialist immediately.
Destruction of Termites
Think of an active termite infestation as a cancer eating your home. If you were told you had cancer in your body, would you try and treat it with medications from the drug store? Here are some of the reasons to opt for professional termite control and eradication of a termite colony –
- Exterminators are trained in what they do, and are up to speed with the latest products and methods
- A professional will offer you a warranty*, and be available to return to inspect for secondary infestations
The chemicals used for termite eradication are constantly being up-graded and re-assessed. By both industry bodies and state and local authorities. Environmental laws also govern what chemicals can and cannot be used. With heavy penalties applying for misuse.
A professional exterminator will be using the current best-practice chemical(s). They will have the necessary knowledge to know how to apply it effectively and safely.
*The warranty will be conditional on you having the exterminator treat the entire house, and surrounding timber (fences and trees). As well as returning for regular post-treatment inspections.
DIY Termite Control
It must be said that this needs to be viewed as the less effective method of halting a termite invasion. However it certainly beats doing nothing at all. Here are some important tips to factor in before you begin your project –
Identify which of the four species of termite is present on your property
Read up on the current best-practice chemicals and methods for controlling termites in your area
Make sure you are thoroughly across the safety aspects of using the chemical(s) you have chosen. Know how to safely apply the treatment. Make sure you are wearing all the protective masks and clothing pertaining to that product.
Discovering the presence of termites in your home may be a very concerning matter, however at least you have the knowledge that they are there. This is a chance to put things right. Whatever method you choose, don’t let your property become a statistic.