January 15, 2019
When termites attack homes in Missouri, there isn't much fanfare. You're not going to wake up and find insects crawling all over the place. The… Continue
The threat of subterranean termites is hard to completely comprehend. It is hard to grasp the concept of wood-destroying insects damaging our homes. It is also difficult to know who to believe when it comes to determining how big the threat is. Because of this, it is easy to make mistakes when it comes to meeting this threat. Here are some common mistakes homeowners make.
It is easy to think that your home is safe from termites. But, just because you don't see termites, doesn't mean they aren't there. Termites come up from the ground and feed silently inside the wood of your home, consuming it one bite at a time. If you don't take proactive measures to prevent this damage, you could be like countless other homeowners who have had to learn the hard way that termites are extremely destructive insects.
A termite colony can have thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even a million individual termites in it--and a home can be attacked by more than one colony at once. While one termite isn't going to do a lot of damage in a year, a million will. In the United States, termites cost property owners more than $5 billion annually.
Subterranean termites don't leave obvious signs. Here are 3 signs you may see and, more importantly, why you're probably not going to see them.
When termite swarmers crawl out of a hole in your floor and fill your home, it is hard to miss this sign, but this isn't how most people see swarmers--assuming they see them at all. Swarmers usually appear on outside walls, and swarms only last about 30 minutes. Usually, the only sign of a termite swarm is the evidence of white wings littered around the foundation perimeter.
Subterranean termites create shelter tubes on foundation walls and other hard structures to climb up and feed on the wood of a home if there is no wood touching the soil. If you know what these shelter tubes look like, you should have no problem recognizing them. The problem is that termites don't make these mud tubes in places you're likely to see them. Worker termites don't like the light. For this reason, they often create tubes in shaded or hidden locations. If you have a block foundation, they can build tubes from the soil to your home right up through the inside of a cinder block pier. To see those, you'll need a mirror and a flashlight.
If you're thinking you'll see minor damage before anything major happens, you may want to reconsider your thinking. Termites prefer to stay hidden. They will feed on the wood in your walls right up to the paint, and then stop. You could be looking at a wall that appears to be completely sound, when it is actually severely damaged on the inside.
Termites do more damage to homes in the United States than all natural disasters combined, so you would think that a home insurance policy would cover this damage. Sadly, this is not usually the case. Why? Because termite damage isn't accidental damage. It can be prevented with reasonable maintenance.
There are many DIY termite control products on the market and these products make big claims. But what you may not know is that effective termite control requires an education in the methods of application. Termite workers are relentless. If you don't apply termiticides properly, they will find a way through your defenses. They only need 1/32 of an inch to get through. If you choose to go with bait you need to understand that all baits are not created equal. If you choose the wrong baits, install bait stations wrong, or forget to check those stations, you won't know your pest control efforts have failed until it's too late. Professionals use both of these methods but they follow strict guidelines for application and they follow up with a detailed and professional inspection to make sure these products do the job.