Protecting Your Home from Termites

Tiny termites can do a huge amount of damage to your home. The problem is that you may not even know you have them since they hide so well.

Tiny termites can do a huge amount of damage to your home. The problem is that you may not even know you have them since they hide so well. In spring, termites become more visible as they fly in swarms to create new colonies. You can’t prevent termites, but these tips can help you identify an infestation and discourage an invasion.

In the U.S., you’re most likely to see two kinds of termites: subterranean termites, which live deep underground, and drywood termites, which feed off the wood they inhabit.

So, where should you look for termites? Anywhere their tiny bodies will fit, which means crevices, cracks, front door entries, garage openings and more. Termites hide well, so look closely. Be especially mindful of areas where water tends to pool.

Here are some signs that your home might have termites:

• Buckling, sagging floors
• Popping hardwood slats
• Bubbling or peeling paint
• Small, wood-colored droppings called frass (indicates drywood termites)
• Wings that drop from “swarmers”
• Dark, blistery wood
• Tunnels within wood
• Wood that sounds hollow when tapped
• Mud pipes where the structure meets the soil

These are some of the precautions you can take to protect your home:

• Empty your crawl space of debris and pieces of wood. Cover the soil’s surface with polyethylene sheeting to reduce the moisture.

• Remove any deadwood from your yard.

• Look at all moist areas for termites, especially where water has puddled.

• Check around decks, porches, latticework and any wooden surfaces that touch the ground.

• Use screening over attic vents to block termite entry.

• Remove tree stumps, untreated fence posts and firewood that are stored near your home.

• Spread mulch in low mounds and several inches away from your house.

What About Treatment?

Termite control is complicated and requires a thorough knowledge of chemicals and the insect itself. That’s why it’s best to contact a pest control professional, like Terminix, and get an annual inspection to reduce the chances of an infestation.

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