Quick Tips for Identifying and Combating a Termite Infestation

No homeowner likes to hear the “T” word.  That is, termites.  These unwanted pests are responsible for billions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses across the U.S. each year. In fact, termites cause more damage to U.S. homes annually than tornadoes, hurricanes, wind and hail storms combined, according to termites.com.

Termites are often referred to as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to build hidden nests inside walls and other areas of a home.  This means that years of structural damage can occur before a homeowner ever so much as notices the signs of a termite infestation.  Therefore, it’s important to know what to look for when dealing with termites so you can eliminate the problem before it is too late. Offered below are some key signs to look for along with some suggestions for getting rid of termites in your home.

Do You Have Termites?  The Following Signs Point to Yes.

  1. Swarms.  Usually occurring in the spring, swarms of winged insects in or around your home are one of the most visible indicators that you likely have a termite problem.  You may also notice stray wings on the ground near doors/windows.  If you come across a swarm, try and catch a few and take to a professional exterminator so they can be properly identified as termites.
  2. Sawdust.  If you notice an unexplainable sawdust like powder near doors, windows, baseboards, or wood furniture in your home, you may have drywood termites.
  3. Mud Tubes.  Mud tunnels on exterior walls, wooden beams, or in crawl spaces indicate the presence of subterranean termites.  These termites need moisture and wood (their food source) to survive, so they build mud tubes connecting their underground nests to aboveground food sources.
  4. Hollowed Wood.  Don’t let the physical appearance fool you.  Termites eat wood from the inside out.  Therefore, just because a wood beam looks normal on the outside doesn’t mean it is termite-free.  Tap on suspect wood to check for a hollow sound.  If the wood sounds hollow, it is likely that termites have done their damage.
  5. Cracked or Bubbling Paint.  Paint on wood surfaces that has a cracked or bubbled appearance may indicate a termite problem.

What Now?  How Do I Get Rid Of Termites In My Home?

Getting rid of a termite infestation in your home requires the special skills and tools of a trained  professional.  Therefore, if you’ve noticed any of the signs mentioned above, it’s best to hire an exterminator rather than attempt to treat the problem yourself. Do-it-yourself termite solutions sold in retail stores will rarely eradicate an existing infestation. A trained exterminator who knows the critical termite entry points will be able to quickly diagnose the problem, determine which species is attacking your home, and develop a proper treatment plan for your home.

If you currently do not have termites, it’s a good idea to take preventative measures to safeguard your home from these destructive critters.  Homeowners should have regular inspections conducted by a professional exterminator to help prevent or minimize termite damage. Taking action before a termite problem arises is the best way to protect your home from these silent destroyers.
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