Protecting one’s family is something we can all understand, regardless of whether that family is related by blood or not. The same applies to protecting your property. We place alarms, we buy homeowner’s insurance, and we do all that we can to keep it standing and in good condition. When termites come into the equation, however, everything near and dear to you is threatened, and termites are a possibility for nearly every resident in the United States, making it a particularly difficult problem to deal with.
Dangers of Termites
It is important to note that termites are not inherently dangerous to humans ourselves. Though they can bite, their bites are not toxic and have not been known to carry any diseases, so you can rest assured that the internal health of your family will be fine. Rather, the dangers that termites bring come from the impact they cause on the environment. Those with asthma might find attacks more common, and others might find that they are allergic to termite saliva or droppings.
In terms of health, the greatest danger actually lies in the chemicals that are commonly used to rid your home of a termite infestation, which is why attempting to rid your home of termites by yourself is a huge mistake. Professionals are not only better equipped to exterminate the termites; they can also give you the right information as to how long you need to remain away from your home as the chemicals dissipate.
As for the dangers that termites pose themselves, that would lie within the structural integrity of your home. They are considered to be the most serious hazard to buildings made from wood, and on average, Americans spend over $5 billion in damages due to termites every year. What’s worse, is that damage caused by termites is rarely included in homeowner’s insurance, meaning you will pay for these damages out of pocket. Knowing the early signs of termites can help you mitigate the damage that they cause, and can help you deal with the problem quickly and effectively.
Types of Termites
The first thing that you need to know is that there are two types of termites: dry wood termites that reside in wood and within your home, and subterranean termites that reside beneath the earth and create colonies there. Both can cause damage to your home, though it is the subterranean termite that is considered to be the more destructive of the two, as it will eat 24/7.
Five Signs of a Termite Infestation
Know the signs of a termite infestation in advance, and you will be able to act sooner, and therefore lessen damages caused by these pests. As soon as you come across any of these signs, it is wise to call pest control Houston specialists for an inspection. They will be able to diagnose your problem and create an effective strategy towards eliminating your pest problem, but first you need to know the warning signs so you know when to call.
- Mud Tubes on Outside Walls
As stated before, subterranean termites are dangerous due to their ability to eat continuously. Just because they live underground, however, does not mean that your home is safe. Instead, subterranean termites create what is known as mud tubes. These aptly named creations are often the thickness of a diameter, and are created using mud and dirt to form tunnels that supply moisture while they are looking for food. Once spotted, these mud tubes can be very obvious, but the evidence is not always apparent. Keep firewood, mulch, and wood away from your house to remove their common source of food.
- Splintered or Disfigured Paint on Wood Surfaces
Termites need very little space to enter your walls, meaning that their point of entry might be less than a millimeter. Though this is small, it can still be detectable by the human eye, so look for small splinters or disfigured paint on wood surfaces in your home, particularly near the base of your home, and near any points of entry including windows, vents, and even your roof.
- Hollow-Sounding Wood
Termites do not like to be above ground. They like dark, humid areas, meaning that their existence might not be obvious from the outside. Termites tunnel into and eat inside of wood, which is why the sound of hollow wood can be an indication of an infestation, despite there not being an obvious change on the outside.
Drywood termites can be spotted by their frass, which are wood-colored droppings that they leave behind. To prevent them, keep your gutters, crawl gaps, and downspouts free of trash and materials made from cellulose, as these are key food sources.
- Signs of Winged Insects
Termites are often discovered during the spring, as this is the time that the reproductive termites, otherwise known as swarmers, fly out to form new colonies. That being said, drywood termites are far more unpredictable than subterranean ones. Be on the lookout for swarms around or in your home, and if you see any discarded wings, it’s best to be safe and call in the help of a professional.
Termites cause damage to your home that can be incredibly expensive to fix. If left unchecked, they could result in serious structural damage that could lead to more dangerous situations if your foundation were to fall from being eaten away. Your home is most often the largest investment a person will make in their life, and most homeowner’s insurance won’t cover your termite infestation’s damages. This is why being diligent and watching for signs of all kinds of pests can help you save money and your home.
If you suspect something, call for an inspection, so that you can deal with the problem as soon as possible. Waiting will only allow the infestation to get worse, meaning more damage to fix and the increased risk that the structure of your home will become compromised. If you’re worried about a future infestation, then professionals can provide you with a tailored treatment and avoidance strategy to reduce your chances.