Termites The Silent Destroyers

termites in your home


Forget teenage boys, termites are what really could eat you out of house and home.  The ancestors of these wood-feasting pests once roamed with the dinosaurs, and  today they cause an estimated 5 billion dollars in property damage every year. Here is a guide  to recognizing and preventing termite damage.

Types of termites: There are three major types of  termites in the United States: dampwood, drywood and subterranean. Dampwood , which are usually the largest, live in heavily forested areas and go  for wood with high moisture content. Drywood, as their name suggests,  infest dry wood. They are primarily found from the South Carolina coast westward  to Texas and along the California coast. Subterranean termites are found throughout the U.S. and right here in Indianapolis. They are most destructive of all termites. They live underground or in  moist secluded areas above ground, and can cause the collapse of entire  buildings.

Signs of termite infiltration: You may  actually see the swarms of termites in early spring when clusters of  reproductive terminates venture out to start new colonies. Keep in mind that you  may confuse termites with flying ants. If you do see a swarm, contact a pest professional as soon as possible.

Termites are known as “silent destroyers.” They eat 24 hours a day, seven  days a week, which means the damage can happen rapidly.

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), finding  discarded wings near your doors and window sills could indicate that the termites  have already gotten in. Also look for dark or blistered wood structures, mud  tubes near the foundation and inside the crawlspace or basement of your home.

Getting rid of termites: The NPMA says that termites are  not the kind of problem that the average homeowner can solve on his or her own.  The organization says to bring in a licensed pest control professional  to control the situation because treatment varies based on where you live, the  species of termite causing the damage, the severity of your infestation and the  construction of your home.

Prevention: While you might not be able to get rid of the termites without help, there are preventative measures that can be taken to thwart a potential termite invasion.  The NPMA recommends making sure basements, attics and crawl spaces are well  ventilated and kept dry. Make sure vines, hedges and other plants are not  blocking the vents. Avoid burying wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard.

It is important to store firewood at least 20 feet away from your house and 5  inches off the ground, keep mulch at least 15″ away from the  foundation of your house and always make sure vegetation around your home is kept trimmed back a minimum of 18″ away from the home and not be allowed to touch the structure. Keep an eye out for changes in exterior wood like  windows, door frames and baseboards.

Ensure that your downspouts, gutters and extensions are effective in  directing water away from your house a minimum of 4-6′. You should also routinely check your  foundation for indications of mud tubes (which termites use to get to their food), bubbling or cracked paint  and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Repair any rotted  roof shingles.