Dec 09, 2015 • Home Inspection, Inspection Services • By Home Inspector
Termites are considered the top threat to wood-based structures, ahead of fire, flood and wind. In fact, termites cost Americans more than $5 billion in damage annually, according to the National Pest Management Association. Education on termite basics—identification, warning signs and preventive steps—is key to protecting homes from termites.
5 Signs of Termites
Termites pose a serious threat to your biggest investment: your home.
1. Hollow-sounding wood: Termites prefer to be in dark, humid environments, so they do not typically feed on the surface of wood, where they would be visible to the human eye.
2. Groups of winged insects (“swarmers”) or discarded wings: Reproductive termites called swarmers take flight to create new colonies. Subterranean termites typically swarm in the spring, whereas drywood swarms are less predictable.
3. Cracked or distorted paint on wood surfaces: Swarming drywood termites can enter through openings smaller than the edge of a dime, so monitor and seal any cracks in the home’s foundation and near roof siding, vents and windows.
4. Mud tubes on exterior walls: Subterranean termites build mud tubes on surfaces, such as a home’s foundation, to provide moisture while they are searching for food.
5. Frass droppings: Drywood termites produce wood-colored droppings called frass as they eat their way through infested wood. Keep gutters, downspouts and crawl spaces free of debris and cellulose materials to prevent food sources for termites.
A as a termite inspector we can recommend a licensed pest control company to perform a customized treatment and prevention plan. Their plan may involve liquid repellants, wood treatments, baits and, if necessary, fumigation of the entire structure.
What Are Termites?
Termites are eusocial insects that are classified at the taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or as epifamily Termitoidae within the cockroach order Blattodea. Termites were once classified in a separate order from cockroaches, but recent phylogenetic studies indicate that they evolved from close ancestors of cockroaches during the Jurassic or Triassic.
It is possible, however, that the first termites emerged during the Permian or even the Carboniferous. Approximately 3,106 species are currently described, with a few hundred more left to be described. Although these insects are often called white ants, they are not ants.
Steps to Stop Termites
Two termite control steps you can take to help decrease the chances of invaders settling on your property are:
1. Removing potential food sources: Dispose of wood piles or dead plant debris around your house.
2. Eliminating moisture problems: Like moisture buildup – in and around your home
3. Cracks in your foundation: If you see any cracks, fill them or monitor them closely for signs of termite mud tunnels.
Taking these steps will help you minimize your chances of accidentally attracting these homewreckers. However, there is no substitute for the effective termite control a trained specialist can deliver.
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