Termites cause more than $5 billion in damage to 600,000 homes each year in every state except Alaska. That’s more damage than all the earthquakes, wildfires, winter storms and floods combined!
Once termites get into a house, a typical Formosan termite colony can consume an entire structure in two years and do permanent damage in just a few months. Worse, they’re stealthy destroyers, leaving few clues to their whereabouts until the damage is done.
Janelle Iaccino, marketing director for Franklin Pest Solutions, with locations across Indiana, says there are four steps you can take to prevent termite damage.
1. Unclog Your Gutters
Termites love moisture, particularly water-logged wood. If your gutters are clogged, water can overflow and pour down near the foundation of the house, beckoning termites to its very supporting structure. “Clogged gutters are the number one issue,” Iaccino says.
2. Minimize the Use of Mulch
Wood chips, pine straw and other wood-based mulch traps moisture and creates a haven for termites and other pests, like centipedes, earwigs and ants. Consider replacing it with synthetic materials or stones, and keep all ground covering at least 15 inches from the foundation.
3. Keep Firewood Away from the House
Termites are looking for water and wood, so when firewood gets wet it becomes a termite paradise. Keep your firewood at least 20 feet from the house and at least five inches off the ground, says Iaccino. “Termites come from the ground, as do any crawling insects,” she says.
4. Get a Home Inspection
A pest control company can assess your home for termites and other pests. “Everyone is susceptible, so this is like an insurance policy,” says Iaccino. If there is any reason to suspect your home might become infested, Franklin Pest Solutions uses the environmentally conscious Sentricon system to draw termites away from the house with food that affects and eliminates all life stages of the entire colony.
Termites aren’t generally evident until they have caused irreversible damage to a home, but there are some telltale signs. Iaccino recommends looking out for these four:
1. Mud Tubes
Termites construct highways along walls, on plumbing and across crawl spaces to move between their nests and food sources. If you see pencil diameter-sized track marks, that’s a sure sign termites are feasting on your house.
2. Damaged Wood
“Termites excavate in channels as they crawl along the wood, creating galleys or tunnels in the wood,” she says. If you tap a piece of wood and it either sounds hollow or your finger pushes through it easily, you may be infested, and damage may have already begun.
Certain members of a termite colony grow wings and fly away, doing reconnaissance for new nesting sites. This happens all at once following a rain shower in warm weather. If you see a swarm of flying insects, their origin could be the site of a termite colony that has been stressed by external elements. If you see their discarded wings, they have found a site for a new colony and action must be taken quickly to prevent infestation.
4. Live Insects
Termites look like maggots or squiggly grains of rice. If you see them while remodeling, call for a professional pest inspection before moving forward.
Since 1929, Franklin Pest Solutions has been the local, family-owned solution, trusted in the Midwest to keep homes and businesses free from insects, rodents and more. They use cutting-edge technology, environmentally friendly methodology, and customized solutions. They guarantee reliable, honest pest-control service from their customer care team and service technicians. Visit them at FranklinPestSolutions.com or call 1-800-Got-Pests?.