It’s the T-word that every homeowner dreads, no matter who you are or where you live: termites. You shudder not only because of the creepy-crawly insects but also because of the amount of money they can cost you.
While some parts of the country have more widespread termite issues than others, no one is immune. Consider us to be your knights in shining armor because here’s everything you need to know about how to find and get rid of termites.
How to Know You Have a Termite Problem
As they say, the first step to fixing a problem is knowing that one exists. With termites, knowing how to spot them early is one of your first defenses.
Despite the fact that they like to dine inside the wood, termites aren’t always shy. If you see what you think are white ants in your home, we have bad news: those are termites.
You may see termites near wood sources inside or outside your home. Keep your eye on the horizon too, though. At certain points in their lives, termites can fly. This is when you’re most likely to see them.
Hearing Termites in the Walls
Termites may be tiny but they can’t fly under the radar entirely. If you put your ear to your wall or another wood source in the house, you may be able to hear them crunching and munching away.
Another sound that could signal termites is clicking on your walls.
When termites sense danger or their tunnel is disturbed, they warn each other by banging their heads against the walls of their tunnels. To the human ear, this sounds like clicking.
When it comes to finding termites, you may not find the smoking gun, but the smoke itself is a sign as well.
We mentioned flying termites above. Termites fly around when they leave their colonies and look for a mate to start their own colony. When they find that mate and settle down, they lose their wings.
As a result, you may spot discarded wings around your home.
For some types of termites, you could see their droppings lying around as well. Look for small piles of black powder, especially near the bottom of wood sources in your home.
The Sound of Damage
On top of listening for the sound of termites themselves, your ears can show you signs of termite damage.
Termites eat wood from the inside out, which is why you usually won’t see holes or tunnels. Knock on some of the wood sources in your home. If termites have set up shop, the wood will sound hollow or papery.
How to Get Rid of Termites
The first step in getting rid of a termite infestation is to find out that the infestation exists. Where do you go from there? Follow these essential tips.
Get an Inspection
No matter how sure you are that you have termites, an inspection is always necessary. A trained inspector has the expertise and equipment to figure out how extensive your infestation is and exactly where it is.
In addition, the inspector may be able to tell you what kind of termites you have.
There are two primary types of termites: dry wood termites and subterranean termites. Drywood termites make their homes in the wood of your house. Subterranean termites eat wood but make their homes underground.
Knowing what type of termites you have will guide the treatment plan, so this is a crucial step.
Bring in Professionals
When you know the true extent of your termite infestation, it’s time to bring in the professionals.
For any homeowner who wants to save money, it’s tempting to try a DIY approach to termite extermination. The problem is that termites can do an extensive amount of damage in a short period of time.
If you try to save hundreds by doing your own extermination and it fails, it could cost you thousands in additional damage.
Instead, a professional exterminator knows how to take a targeted approach and thoroughly get rid of your termites. Depending on your specific needs, they could recommend a spot treatment or large-scale fumigation. Click for more about how an exterminator can help.
Install Bait Stations
The battle against termites doesn’t end when you get rid of the infestation you have. You need to keep them out, too.
One helpful way to do this is with bait stations. Your exterminator can install bait stations outside your home near the areas where there is termite activity. This creates a protective barrier around your home, trapping termites that try to breach it.
In particular, this keeps subterranean termites out of your home. It isn’t fool-proof, though. Flying termites can still enter your home when you open the door or through other openings.
For that reason, your exterminator may recommend an ongoing prevention plan.
Seal the Entry Points
Another important way to keep termites from making new colonies in your home is to close off their opportunities to get in.
Is there damage to your roof? Do you have moist wood anywhere in the house? Do you store wood outside against your home?
All of these can give termites a way into your house. Your inspector or exterminator can do a thorough examination of your home, find those problems, and help you fix them to keep termites out.
The First Steps Toward a Termite-Free Home
Termites are among the most destructive pests for homeowners, so it’s no wonder everyone fears them. If you suspect that you may have termites, though, the worst thing you can do is to ignore the problem.
The steps above can help you get rid of termites and reclaim your home from these pests.
Want to know more about how to protect your home? Check out our other home improvement blogs.