Catch of the Week: Termites
February 12, 2018
What's the most commonly overlooked household pest? Termites! These silent intruders can go unnoticed for quite some time because their damage is typically done behind walls. Our exterminators found these pesky insects in a Norwalk home that experienced a pipe leak. Pulling away the drywall to repair the damage revealed a live termite colony causing destruction to the studs and beams. Luckily, our technicians took care of this termite infestation before the problem resulted in any major structural damage.
Anyone can encounter a termite invasion. It's important for homeowners to know the best practices to prevent these insects from sneaking into the house. Once inside, termites can induce major structural issues that can be costly to repair. We'll give you the signs of an infestation and some tips to keep termites out!
Why Do Termites Eat Wood?
Termites are considered detritivores because they feed on trees and plants. They get most of their nutrients from cellulose, an organic fiber found in plant and wood material. These insects can also feed on paper, drywall and plastic, but termites prefer to eat wood. Since their main food source is wood, termites are known for wreaking havoc inside homes and can lead to costly destruction. If signs of these small, white insects are ever spotted in your home, call a professional exterminator right away!
How to Spot Termite Signs in Homes
Unlike most insects, termites do not hibernate during the winter months, so homeowners need to stay observant of termite troubles year-round. However, it's hard to notice signs of a termite infestation because they usually cause damage to the internal parts of a home. If fact, sometimes termites can silently hollow out the foundation of a house for years and are only found when structural problems arise.
If you're suspicious but not sure if you have termites, try these tips or call a pest control professional. The most distinguished termite signs are:
- cracked or bubbled paint
- mud tubes on exterior walls or crawl spaces
- wood that sounds hollow when tapped
Another tip for homeowners who are looking for termite signs, is to start your search in humid spaces with access to water. Termites can survive on water alone, and humid areas create the perfect living conditions for termite colonies to thrive. Unventilated areas, such as attics, basements and crawl spaces, are the perfect places to check for a hidden termite community.
Prevent a Termite Infestation
The most effective way to fend off termites is to take precautionary action. Stop these silent invaders from entering your home by following these helpful tips:
Keep wood away from your property. Don't mulch along the foundation wall of your home - it's best to keep it about six inches off the house. It's also best to keep the mulch under four inches thick. It helps to store firewood off the ground at least 20 feet away from your home, shed, garage or barn to keep these harmful insects out of reach. Bonus tip: covering wood with a tarp keeps it dry and wards off termites better than damp wood.
Reduce moisture in or around your home. Ventilate your crawl spaces and attics to decrease humidity. It's also important to fix any leaks or broken pipes right away before you create the perfect environment for termites. On the exterior of your home, adjust sprinklers to avoid puddles near the foundation of the house.
Clean up around the house. Remember, termites don't just eat wood, take steps to keep them away from leaves and other materials. Check the gutters and drains regularly to keep them clear of leaves and debris. When storing seasonal items in your home, it's best to pack things in plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes or paper bags. As a added benefit, plastic bins keep your items safe from other pests besides just termites.
Des Moines Metro Termite Exterminators
These silent invaders can cause quite a bit of damage over time. If you think you have termite signs in your home, don't wait until you have a harmful infestation on your hands! Call Preferred Pest Control today at (515) 276-7277 or schedule an appointment online.
Our team of exterminators also inspects homes for new movers! If you're buying a new home, have your local pest control technician check the new location for termite damage.
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