Warm weather brings termites how to prevent and stop an infestation

Warm Weather Brings Termites – How To Prevent And Stop An Infestation

During spring when temperatures increase, so do the potential for swarms of termites. Considered one of the most destructive insects in the world, termites cause billions of dollars in property damage each year.

Protecting your home and spotting termite infestations is the first line of defense against these harmful insects.

The first full week of spring is also Termite Awareness Week, so here are some simple steps to identify a termite infestation should you have one and what to do to prevent these damaging insects from destroying your home-sweet-home.

Do

Do move mulch away from the foundation of your home

The larger the space between the mulch and the foundation of your home, the less likely termites will find their way inside and begin devouring your home from the inside out.

Consider replacing mulch with stones to create a barrier of at least 1 inch between your foundation and mulch.

Do assess the perimeter of the home for mud tubes and rotting wood

Telltale signs to look for during a home inspection include soft, decayed wood in the home, mud tubes often found near the foundation of your home and discoloration or blistering of wood structures.

Mud tubes are made of dirt, termite droppings and wood and are used as paths between the colony and food source, which may be your home. Be especially vigilant of wooden structures that are in direct contact with the soil, such as a deck frame or steps.

Also, it is important never to bury scraps of wood or lumber waste in the yard or near your home or other structures.

Do repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles

While inspecting the perimeter of your home for termite activity is important, it is just as vital to look up and inspect your home’s fascia, soffits and roof for rotting wood. Moisture is a danger not only to the interior of your home from decayed wood, it also will attract termites.

Do divert water away from the home through properly functioning downspouts and gutters

Homeowner’s should eliminate or reduce moisture in and around their home, which termites need to thrive. Divert water away from the home’s foundation by installing properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.

Do keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry

Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation and fix leaky pipes that create a moist environment favorable to termites. Insulating pipes prevents condensation and another moisture source for termites to find.

Don’t

Do not store firewood within 20 feet of the home

It’s tempting to keep firewood close to your home so you don’t need to travel far in the winter to bring logs indoors, but keep in mind if the firewood location is convenient for you, it is for termites as well.

Keeping firewood stored at least 20 feet from the home and raised off the ground will go far in helping to keep termites from finding your home a more suitable living arrangement.

Check the firewood for insects before bringing it indoors to store, too, preventing another easy entry method for these insects.

Do not ignore fallen tree branches left over from winter storms

This past winter has riddled the majority of the country with strong winds and storms that has resulted in severe damage to trees, leaving fallen branches scattered near homes. As homeowners wait for snow to melt to clear out the winter debris, the branches begin to decay which attracts termites.

The closer the tree debris to your home, the closer access these pests have to enter and begin damaging your home. Removing dead wood from your property is one sure way to keep termites from finding a new meal station.

Do not believe homeowner’s insurance will protect you

Typically, homeowner’s insurance does not cover termite damage. Most pest infestations and accompanying damage are considered maintenance issues by insurance carriers.

If you believe you have a termite infestation, verify your homeowner’s coverage with your insurance carrier.

Do not neglect yearly inspections or home maintenance

While you may not have had termite damage in the past, that doesn’t mean that termites will not find your home suitable in the future. Your home is an investment and one that you don’t want devoured by termites.

A yearly inspection to check for rotting wood, cracks and crevices that should be sealed, leaky pipes that drip and offer a water source to insects are easily fixed and much less expensive than dealing with structural damage repair from hungry termites.

Do not underestimate the voracious appetite of a termite colony

There are more than 50 varieties of termites found in the United States and depending upon the termites found in your areas, colonies can number in the hundreds of thousands – and subterranean termites can number up to two million members.

Termites eat 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which means structural damage can happen very quickly.

Summary

Termites can cause significant damage to your property. It is vital to proof your home against termite infestations and detect termites early.

A pest professional can help homeowner’s offer treatments to keep these destructive pests from wreaking havoc in the home.

Nancy Troyano, PhD, BCE

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