Home termite control is quite possibly one of the most frustrating and confusing issues homeowners face. The destruction that these small insects can cause is extreme, and their ability to survive treatment is perhaps even more mind-blowing. When facing the issue of home termite control, prevention is crucial. Protecting your home from subterranean termites is necessary, and requires thoughtful planning.
What is a Subterranean Termite?
Subterranean termites are soil dwelling, wood eating insects that live in colonies or nests. Subterranean termites are incredibly destructive, causing more damage to homes each year than windstorm and fire combined. With an average of $2 billion in damage each year, home termite control is nothing to be taken lightly.
How can I identify a Subterranean Termite?
Being able to identify these pests is important when implementing home termite control. There are three types of termites in each colony: Workers, Reproductives (the King and Queen), and Soldiers. The King and Queen may, or may not have wings, and are fed and protected by the other members of the colony.
Workers are wingless, are often between white and grey in color, and have a round, yellow-brown head on their small bodies. Soldiers are very similar to Workers, with the exception of their heads; Soldiers have large yellow-brown heads on rectangular bodies and possess large mandibles. Many people find that subterranean termites resemble ants. While there is a resemblance, termites are distinguishable from ants by their long, straight, antennae, and thick waists.
How can I Prevent Infestation?
Subterranean termites thrive in warm, moist conditions. Keeping all moisture accumulation near the foundation of your home at bay is important for termite prevention. Be sure that all downspouts and gutters are functioning properly and affectively.
Examine the ground near your foundation to make sure it is properly graded to allow adequate drainage. Once you have inspected the ground near your foundation, move on to your crawl space. Your crawl space needs to have exceptional cross-ventilation to reduce moisture buildup.
It is recommended that homeowners have ventilation openings in the foundation every two square feet per 25 linear feet of the foundation wall, insuring one vent resides within five feet of each corner of your homes exterior. Make sure that no vegetation is growing over and covering the vents. When considering home termite control, keep their intention in mind.
Termites seek wood; therefore, make sure that any and all wood is kept away from the sides and foundation of your home. Remove any tree stumps or roots, and never stack firewood near or against your foundation. If you are building your home, it must be a priority to keep an 18 inch gap between the soil and wooden portions of your home.
It is recommended that you reinforce your concrete foundation to prevent cracking, which allows access for termites to your structure. Be mindful when using wood mulch on your property, as it is enticing to termites. If wood mulch must be used, always avoid contact with the frames of doors, windows, and any wood siding on your home. You may want to consider another option, such as crushed stone, which will also decrease the number of other pests as well.
My home is infested…Now what?
Upon discovering a possible subterranean termite infestation, there are two options. You can attempt a do-it-yourself extermination, or call a licensed professional. As stated before, home termite control is nothing to be taken lightly, and infestations require attention.
Although there are several products for termite extermination available to homeowners, keep in mind that they are not as strong or effective as the products available to licensed contractors. With the varying prices of extermination, do not be afraid to take the time to get several (at least three) quotes and choose your professional carefully, if you choose to take that route.
Home termite control can seem confusing, but it does not need to be. With proper prevention and diligent care of your property, subterranean termites need not be an issue. Be mindful of your construction and maintenance and in turn, decrease your risk for a dreadful infestation.