The most notorious pests with a reputation for causing structural harm to your home are termites. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (2022) revealed that property owners pay over $2 billion annually to treat these bothersome critters. The cost of annual losses brought on by termite infestation is over $5 billion in the US alone, and it’s not hard to know why. The truth is that an established termite colony has millions of termites that continuously wreak structural damage on your house for a full day without sleeping.
The fact that termite discovery typically happens too late is frustrating. We only learn we have termites in our property when the structural damage is evident and severe. This Old House (2022) asserts that when faced with a termite infestation, it pays to be cautious and act immediately. Termites reproduce remarkably fast, increasing their population to millions. Therefore, it is not surprising that termites can cause a building to collapse quickly.
How to tell if you have termites at home
One needs to be vigilant regarding these notable pests and shouldn’t wait for a significant catastrophe before taking action to remedy the issue. There is a lot that homeowners and building owners can do to stop termites from wreaking more devastation and ruin. Still, first, we must be aware of the following symptoms of a termite infestation:
1. Termite droppings
Drywood termites create wastes that resemble mounds of pellets with a hue that resembles wood. You might have a termite problem if you discover these droppings within your home, which are brown like wood. It would be best if you got a termite pest control specialist as soon as possible to assist you with termite removal.
2. Mud tubes
Termites usually tunnel into wooden constructions. These bugs build tube-like tunnels from their saliva, mud, and dirt. These blatantly obvious mud tubes, which extend from the house’s exterior walls to the termites’ food supply, are standard. Pay attention to this sign if you want to prevent the structure of your home from deteriorating and collapsing sooner or later.
3. Strange tapping sounds
Termites frequently produce a tapping sound. They achieve this by beating their heads against the walls of their mud tunnels, which is how they alert the other termites to a potential threat. You might be able to hear the strange noises they create coming from your walls, ceilings, floorboards, basements, and lofts. Place your ears next to your wall and listen for the rattling sounds of these infamous critters to confirm this termite activity.
4. Bubbling paint
Water damage is similar to termite damage. Paint that is rough or bubbling when there is moisture build-up is one sign of such damage. Termites or water may be at blame for this. In either case, you must get professional aid to inspect your property for a termite infestation thoroughly.
5. Wood damage
Blister-like damage on your home’s wooden structures clearly shows the presence of termites. Termites are drawn to wood and decaying trees because they feed on cellulose. When you tap on termite-infested wood, it typically sounds hollow. Termites can seriously damage a wooden structure, compromising the building’s stability and safety. The bending or swelling of wood resembling water damage indicates that termites have attacked the timber. A termite infestation is likely if you discover that your home’s floors, ceiling, or other wooden components are swelling or changing shape.
6. Swarmers (Reproductives)
Swarmers are young, winged termites in charge of breeding or boosting the termite population, especially at the start of spring. After mating or swarming, these swarmers will leave behind their wings or even dead termites. You might discover these discarded wings or termite carcasses on your door or windowsills.
Termite Control Tips
Once termites have settled a colony inside your home, they intend to devour all the wooden elements therein for as long as possible. Harris (2022) pointed out that termite reproducers (swarmers) can live for up to 25 years. That is why it is ideal to call in a termite removal expert to deal with a termite infestation. You also need to observe preventive measures and apply DIY methods to make your home unattractive to termites and to reduce the extent of the structural damage somehow. Consider the following tips:
1. Apply anti-termite products.
Termiticides are proven effective products when it comes to killing termites. The good thing about termiticide is that termites cannot detect it. Thus, you can use termiticide as a barrier by applying it to woodwork and other exterior parts of your home. This method is primarily for subterranean termites. For treating dry wood termites, you can drill holes in the termite-infested wood and then fill the gaps with termiticide. When the termites unknowingly consume materials treated with termiticide, they will ultimately die. Also, they will unwittingly spread the content of the termiticide, thereby infecting and killing the others in the colony.
2. Install DIY traps.
Set up a cardboard trap. Subterranean and dry wood termites can be captured and eliminated using a DIY trap. The process involves dampening two cardboard pieces and putting the wet parts together. Termites will crawl between the two cardboard pieces because they are drawn to the cellulose, which will cause them to become imprisoned. You can burn the cardboard once the termites have been collected. However, only some termites can be trapped at once, so this method is only sometimes practical.
3. Set up baits.
Another effective way to handle termites is to insert consumer baits around the ground of the house’s foundation. Toxins included in termite baits are designed to stop termite growth. Additionally, because they kill termites gradually, any termites with toxins on them would unintentionally spread the poison to the other termites. Depending on the extent of the infestation, it will take several days to 2 weeks to eliminate the termite colony.
4. Use essential oils.
Examples of essential oils that kill dry wood termites include neem and orange. Several drops of the essential oil are combined with two cups of water, dish soap, and other ingredients in the procedure, which is then sprayed on the termite-infested areas.
5. Treat the infested area with diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a powdery substance with tiny shards that can puncture and dehydrate termites’ exoskeletons. Sprinkle the significance all over the termite-infested areas.
6. Apply direct or natural chemicals.
The effect of natural chemicals can last for a month or so. You can use natural chemicals like the odorless Termidor Foam on the interior parts of your home. Apply the chemicals directly to all cracks and holes where termites are possibly hiding. As the foam chemical expands and evaporates, it leaves behind a poisonous residue that kills all termites that come into contact with it.
7. Use beneficial nematodes.
Beneficial nematodes are microscopic worms that are natural parasites to pests like termites. These organisms can kill termites by delving into their host’s body while simultaneously releasing toxic bacteria.
It would help if you first got in touch with a termite exterminator, like a termite exterminator in york, PA, who knows about infestations. Depending on the species of termites, the appropriate treatment must be used to eradicate them. Also, you should find time to review your insurance policy. Some insurance policies may cover termite damage. Speak with your insurance agent before beginning any repair work, including seeking contractors, removing walls to reach damaged areas or any other type of renovation. Some people still believe that, following treatment and repair, they need not be concerned anymore about further infestations. Sadly, this is one myth that can cause an infestation to return. Vigilance is the only way to stop a new invasion. Even after termite removal and treatment of your property, there is no guarantee that termites won’t be drawn to it in the future. It is crucial to create a continuous treatment and prevention program with your technician.