Termites are one of the more expensive bugs to deal with when you experience an infestation. Not only do you have to get rid of them, but there's a chance that you will have to deal with any damage that they've done to your property. Although there are a few things that you can do to try and get rid of termites on your own, your best choice is to hire pest control to take care of it for you and fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to prevent a termite infestation from occurring.
What Are Termites and Where Do They Come From?
Termites are insects which live in large groups and when they finally settle in an area (the area they choose to settle in depends on the type of termite), they will build nests and reproduce. There are a few different types of termites.
Subterranean termites survive by using moisture that they typically find from either condensation or leaks below your property. After finding a moist location, they will build their nest.
Formosan termites don't use moisture to survive and are able to build their nests wherever they please.
Drywood termites are the type of termite that most people are familiar with. They don't seek moisture filled areas and attack wood. In cases like this, if the termites aren't detected early on then you could find yourself with some hefty repair costs.
How to Prevent a Termite Infestation
There isn't a lot of things that you can do to prevent termites from nesting around your home. However, some of the things that you can do are:
- Keep old or damp wood away from your home. If you have to keep the wood there, keep it as far away from your house as possible and elevate it from the ground to prevent termites from reaching it.
- Keep the bushes and trees in your garden trimmed, and remove any infested tree stumps too.
- Fix any leaking gutters or faucets that are outside of your house.
- Get rid of leaves from your garden and gutters.
- Make sure that the crawl space under your house and in your attic are both ventilated well to prevent condensation (which will attract termites).
While termites aren't able to dig through concrete, they're more than capable of fitting through small cracks in concrete. For that reason, make sure that you fill any cracks or gaps that would give termites a chance to infest your home.
Signs of a Termite Infestation
Below are some of the things that you should look out for which would signify that you have a termite infestation problem.
- Termites tend to dig a lot of tiny holes into the side of wood and eat it from the inside out.
- As termites develop, their wings fall off as part of their development. If you see a pile of small wings then this could be a sure-fire sign that there is a terminate infestation.
- Small tunnels that look completely out of place and are made out of mud is one of the most common signs of an infestation. Termites use these tunnels to travel to areas that they can eat.
- If you find mud tunnels, break them open using a stick or a knife and if it's a result of terminates, you'll be able to see them inside of the tunnels.
- For those who suspect that they have a termite infestation which has been going on for a while, tap on the wood which you suspect may be damaged with a hammer or metal tool. You may find that the tap sounds hollow, signifying a termite infestation.
Even if you don't see any of these signs but you still suspect you may have a termite infestation, it's a good idea to contact pest control for an inspection anyway; better safe than sorry.
What to Expect from a Termite Inspection
When you call pest control and arrange for an exterminator comes to your house, they'll start by asking you what the problem is, when you noticed it, and what led you to believe that there was a termite infestation in your home.
In terms of cost, some pest control agencies will offer a termite inspection for free and you will only be charged to deal with the infection. However, if you are charged then you can expect the inspection to be fairly cheap.
During the inspection, the inspector will ask you some general questions about the property such as whether or not you have had special construction done to it, what sort of maintenance you do to maintain the building, and after doing a thorough evaluation of the property they will tell you what the situation is.
If you don't have a termite infestation, you can sigh with relief and get on with your life hassle-free; the inspector may give you a few pointers on how you can prevent a termite infestation too. On the other hand, if there is a termite infestation then the different treatment options that are available will be explained to you and you'll be given a price quote for the specific job (each job is different, thus every price quote is different).
Again, however the exterminator deals with the termites depends on the situation – some will require them to go under your home while others will be taken care of from your attic.
Getting Rid of Termites
Your only option to get rid of termites effectively is to hire pest control to take care of it. After hiring them to inspect your property and giving them the go-ahead to get started on the specific treatment that they'll be using, they'll most likely get to work the next again day (possibly the same day depending on how busy they are).
During this time, you may be asked to leave your property depending on how big the infestation is as there will be a lot of unhealthy chemicals used to kill the termites. Once they have finished dealing with the termites, it will be safe for you to return after a few hours and the inspector will return in a few days to make sure that the termite infestation is gone.
It's a good idea to discuss home repairs with the exterminator after they have taken care of the termites and ask whether or not they feel as if your house's foundations need to be replaced. If this happens they may give you the contact information of a contractor who has experience working on projects like this and if they recommend that you have the repairs done, it's in your best interests to have them done to prevent further damage.
Termites Inspection Conclusion
Regardless of whether you're slightly suspicious of a termite infestation or you've seen them running around in your crawlspace, it's better to call a professional exterminator who can examine your home and tell you whether or not you're in danger. Even if you don't have a termite infestation it is better to be safe than sorry because if you don't call a professional and there actually is an infestation, you could be looking at incredibly expensive home repairs.