According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause over $5 billion in damage each year in the U.S., alone. They are the largest threat to wood based structures, even more than flood, fire and wind. There are 2 main types of termites in this country – subterranean termites that live underground and dry wood termites that live in wood. Both are equally bad and thrive in warmer climates, like that of California. That termites are more active in the spring is a myth - they cause damage all year round. If you are wondering if you have termite infestation, you should look for:
- Hollow Sounding Wood: Because termites like a dark humid environment, they do not usually feed on the surface of wood where they can be easily seen. Instead they burrow into the wood and eat it from inside. A wooden surface that appears to be perfect could be hiding damage below the surface. If tapping wood produces a hollow sound, that could be because termites have eaten it up inside.
- Frass: Frass is the name for the dropping that dry wood termites leave behind as they eat wood. It is usually the same color as the wood that is eaten and so often difficult to spot. Check your gutters, crawl spaces and downspouts regularly for any signs of frass which could be an early sign of the presence of termites.
- Mud Tubes: Small mud tubes on wooden surfaces is a sign of subterranean termites. They use the setostore moisture as they eat the inner areas of a wooden structure. Keep moisture rich environments like mulch, firewood etc. away from the home as these are ideal places for termites to breed.
- Discarded Wings:Some species of termites actually fly and discard their wings when they find a food source where they can exist for a length of time. These termites normally swarm in the spring, so this is the time to be on the lookout for small piles of discarded wings which will indicate that termites have found a new home in your home.
- Cracked and Distorted Paint Surfaces: Dry wood termites can enter wood though small openings in the surface. If it is a painted surface this will often result in minute cracks and distortion on the paint. While these cracks in the paint, could also be weather or age related, the possibility of there being termite infestation should not be ignored.
Your home is your biggest investment and where you will be building your future. Do not think that termite infestation is a small problem that can be handled by using bug spray in a few areas. Before you know it, termites can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, or in the worst case, actually be the cause of serious structural damage that could put your home at risk. The best way to rid yourself of termites and protect your home and your future is to call in a pest control company that has the experience, latest technology supported techniques and the most up to date equipment to deal with these pests. That way you can be sure of sleeping safely at night, protected by a sound building structure around you.