Wood Eating Pests – Termites
How to Protect Yourself from Termites
Termites exist in every state except for Alaska, and they cause property damage (millions of dollars of damage to homeowners) everywhere they thrive. Termites are particularly prevalent in Florida and other warm-weather states, but they can be a problem just about anywhere.
How do you protect yourself from these pesky insects? There are several ways you can do it without spending a lot of money. Let’s jump right in:
Treat Exterior Wood to Prevent Termite Infestations
It’s a forgone conclusion that we’re more likely to take action after we realize we have a termite problem, but it makes a lot more sense to prevent a problem in the first place. If you have wood decks or siding, it makes sense to have them treated with pesticides before you have a problem.
Avoid Storing Firewood Next to Your House
A lot of people like to save money by heating their homes with a wood stove instead of central heat. Or maybe you just enjoy a fire in the fireplace once in a while. Either way, if you’ve got a pile of firewood, you need to make sure it’s not placed somewhere that it will give termites easy access to your home.
Since termites are common in firewood piles, you need to be aware that they can easily travel from firewood to a wood-frame house. To avoid this, don’t store firewood within 10 feet of your home.
In addition, if you use decorative wood chips as part of your landscaping, keep at least three feet between the wood chips and the foundation of your home (you can always use decorative stones near the house).
Check the Exterior of Your Home Regularly
Ideally, you’ll prevent termite damage before it can even start, but if you don’t succeed, the next best thing is to catch termites before they do major damage.
Be aware of when termites are worst. They swarm in clusters from February to May (depending on how early spring arrives in your climate). If you spot a swarm, you’ll known they’re in the vicinity. Also, if your neighbors are having troubles with termites, chances are you might be too. Termites are more common in homes that are 35 years old or older, but they can trouble new housing developments, too, if the division was built near an existing colony.
To check your home, look for narrow dirt tunnels or tubes that rise from the ground. Both inside and out look for tiny wings scattered on the ground/floor (indicators that a swam has been through). Knock on wood and listen: soldier termites will answer with a tapping that means they’re alerting the other termites of potential danger.
If you suspect termites of entering your home, call an exterminator immediately for an inspection. Remember, it’s most cost efficient to catch termites earlier (before they do a lot of damage) than later.