Sunday, 21 May 2017

California Remains a Termite Hot Spot

California is one of the states that is most affected by termite infestation. A recent study based on Metropolitan Statistical Area analysis says that Los Angeles is the city most affected and it is closely followed by San Jose, San Diego and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario. Termites have been a long-standing problem in the state and the recent changes in weather patterns which have resulted in warmer and wetter weather, often at unusual times of the year, have caused a sharp rise in the number and volume of termite swarms in the state. While the extent of termite damage to a home can vary greatly, some estimates put the average cost of repairing the damage at about $8,000 per home. This comes from the homeowner’s pocket as most insurance plans do not cover termite damage. Termites cause $5 billion in damage each year across the U.S.

Protect Your Home

Termites are insidious creatures. They sneak into a home and do a lot of damage before the homeowner realizes that it is happening. Just because a home has never had a termite problem it does not mean that one cannot develop suddenly and unexpectedly. Regular inspection and action to remove the pests by a professional termite control company is the best way to keep your home, and the valuables in it, safe. In addition, the homeowner should keep an eye open for any signs of termites being present in or near the house. The most common of these are:

  • Discarded insect wings lying near doors, on windowsills or on the ground below windows.
  • Termite dropping anywhere in the house. These resemble coarse sawdust or coffee grounds. It is easy to mistake this for dirt or mud. When in doubt, consult a termite control specialist.
  • Thin tubes of mud, usually pencil sized, that appear on wooden surfaces or walls.
  • Dark spots or blistering on wooden surfaces.
  • Any areas behind or under walls, floors and other structural surfaces that give off a hollow sound when tapped. The hollowness is caused by the termites eating away at the cellulose material below the surface.

Doing these inspections takes time and it is easy to miss out on the signs of termite infestation. Even if they are found, often the signs of possible damage are so small as to leave the homeowner uncertain as to whether or not there is a problem. When in doubt, it is better not to take chances or delay in dealing with termites, which can result in thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Professional termite control is essential.

When weighed against the potential damage that termites can cause, the price of regular termite inspection, which can be surprisingly inexpensive, is worth the cost. The warranty that the best companies offer provides the homeowner with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their home is protected, and that they do not have to worry about damage and repair costs.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Termites and Disease

Termites are feared for the property damage they cause. What is often not considered is the effect they can have on the inhabitants of a home, including the pets. Termites do not themselves carry diseases that can affect humans and animals. Unlike mosquitoes and other parasites, they feed off cellulose, not human blood, so they do not directly spread diseases. However, they can indirectly cause various health problems.

Stings: Although not common, termites can sting humans and pets. The stings are very painful and cause severe localized itching and swelling of tissues. While the pain and swelling generally disappears after a few days;if it persists or if you are very sensitive to insect bites, it is advisable to contact a doctor.

Asthma: Termite infestation causes wood to decompose which often results in the appearance of mold spores and their spread inside a house. If these are inhaled they can cause breathing problems. Those who are prone to asthma will often experience the typical symptoms of the condition like wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and tightness of the chest.

Contact Dermatitis: If the mold comes in contact with the skin, a painful red rash known as contact dermatitis can develop. The effect of the contact could be almost immediate or it could develop over time with repeated contacts. The rash is usually localized to the area that came into contact with the mold spores and will have clearly defined borders.

Allergies: Termite droppings are in the form of small pellets, also known as frass. These are harmful to human health. These droppings can often be difficult to see and can be found all over the house. For example, termite activity in the ceiling can cause the pellets to fall onto a bed or carpet where they could be almost invisible. Or they could be on a window sill from where they can be carried by the breeze to all corners of a home. These pellets can cause all kinds of allergic reactions, often requiring medical treatment.

Pets: Just like humans, dogs too can be affected by termite bites. The sting can cause swelling and inflammation or result in contact dermatitis. If the dog has a thick coat, spotting the problem is difficult but if left untreated the dog will scratch it and this could result in a more serious infection.

Protect Your Home and Your Health

Termites are among the most difficult of pests to control. They are tough and very persistent. Even if you think you have gotten rid of them, there are often enough that remain to form a new colony and start doing damage all over again. Even if they are completely eradicated, unless the right measures are taken, they can return in a surprisingly short period of time. Doing your own DIY termite control is a good thing, but it is usually not enough to provide your home and family with the complete protection they need. For this, you need the services of a professional termite control company that has the experience and technology to offer you the maximum possible protection. Expert termite control is an additional insurance for your home and your family’s health.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Termite Infestation in California

Termites can be found all across the globe and the U.S. is no exception. Unfortunately, California is a state that suffers greatly from infestations. Termites are particularly active in the area from Redding to San Francisco, down to Fresno, Bakersfield, LA and Riverside. If you live in this region, it is essential that you take measures to protect your home from termite damage.

Types of Termites found in California

There are 3 main types of termites found in the state – subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. Of the 3, the first 2 do the most damage. Dampwood termites eat all kinds of material containing cellulose but are less likely to cause damage to structures. Formosan termites are a new entry into the state and they were first identified in San Diego County in 1992.

Swarming

Termites move in swarms. The size may vary according to the region and the food supply available to them. Generally, swarms appear on warm days when the humidity is high, such as after rain. However, they can also be found at other times and may occur in heated buildings when the weather outside is cold. Different types of termites have varying swarming habits.


  • Western subterranean termites typically swarm in autumn, winter and the beginning of spring, usually after it has rained. In southern parts of the state, swarms are generally found between September and November.
  • Arid land subterranean termites usually swarm during the daylight hours in the spring and fall.
  • Desert subterranean termites swarm from July to September, usually at night.
  • Pacific dampwood termites swarm in the evenings, usually just before sunset, in the months from August to October.
  • Nevada dampwood termites swarm in summer and early in the fall in coastal areas and in the spring in higher elevations.
  • Formosan termites swarm at night in June and July. However, small swarms can often be found till autumn.

Whatever be the type of termite, the damage they can do could be major. Because of the different swarming patterns of the various types, it is essential to know what to look for at what time of year to be able to prevent infestation and remove it if it does occur.

Going online will give you a huge number of websites full of information about DIY termite control. Taking precautions to protect your home is always a good idea, but these are rarely enough to provide the complete protection that you need. Termites are persistent and extremely hardy creatures and both preventing their entry into a building and getting rid of them if they do gain access requires professional termite control. Regular inspection and control by professionals will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your home is safe. When looking for a termite control company to use, ensure that it is one that has the skills, experience and state-of-the-art technology to give you the best possible protection.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Termite Hotspots in Your Home (Part 2)

Continuing with the list of termite hotspots in your home.

  • Wooden Furniture: Wood is the predominant material used for residential furniture. It is found all over the home and will attract termites from wherever they are able to find entry points into the structure. It does not matter what type of wood it is,if it is wood, termites will be interested. There are 2 ways to reduce the chances of termite damage. The first, and usually unrealisticone, is to replace as much wooden furniture as possible with items made from other materials. The second and the more practical way is to keep furniture away from walls to make it more difficult for the termites to reach these food sources.
  • Laundry Room: An enclosed room, usually in the interior of a home, filled with metal appliances may not seem to be a termite hotspot. But they are known to eat clothing if it is made of cotton, as it contains cellulose. To prevent clothing from being damaged, keep it in either a tightly closed hamper or in the washer or dryer, with the door closed to prevent termite entry.
  • The Bedroom: With wooden beds, wardrobes, cabinets, tables and other furniture, besides carpets and other fabrics, the bedroom serves as a food source for termites. Besides keeping the furniture away from walls, check under the beds regularly for signs of termite infestation. Check under mattresses and if possible, check behind wardrobes and cabinets for signs of termites.
  • The Garage: Garages are typical places where unwanted or rarely used items are stored, usually for a long period of time. These materials often serve food to termites. Since the items are not disturbed for a long period, termites will happily make a home there. The garage is also a place from where access to the rest of the house becomes easy. Keep storage units away from walls and place loose items on metal, not wooden tables or platforms. If there are shelves on the wall, ensure that the pile of stored material does not form a hill that termites can climb to reach the shelves and what is on them.
  • The Kitchen: From wooden furniture and fittings to food meant for human consumption, the kitchen is like a supermarket for termites. Cupboards and cabinets are great nesting places and dampness that remains for any length of time will attract termites. If you live in an area where swarming termites are common, keep the doors and windows closed during the swarming season. Check cupboards and cabinets regularly for any signs of termite activity. And inspect the plumbing to spot and fix any leaks.
  • The Garden: The garden contains a great deal of material that termites feed on and to make base from where they can explore way to get into the house. Remove dead trees and tree stumps for the yard. If mulch is being used, ensure that it is not placed near the walls or foundation as this will make it easier for termites to find a way indoors.

Taking precautions against termites will help to protect your house. But by itself, it is not enough. The best protection comes from using a professional termite control company to inspect your home and get rid of any termite infestation early, before any serious damage can be done.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Termite Hotspots in Your Home (Part 1)

There are few parts of your home that termites will not get into. And once they get in, the damage they cause can be massive. While professional termite control is the best way to protect your home, doing your bit with regular inspections of termite hotspots will increase the level of protection and allow for quick action if termites are spotted.

Here are some of the areas where termite are likely to be found and what you can do to prevent them from nesting.

  • The Roof: Broken roof tiles allow moisture to collect. This attracts termites and from here they could find their way indoors. Have the roof checked regularly for any signs of dampness. Have any broken or damaged tiles replaced.
  • HVAC unit: An air conditioning system creates a moist environment, which termites love. Although there is no wood in the system for them to feed on, if they are able to enter the ducts they can easily make their way to all parts of a home. Have the system cleaned and serviced regularly and ensure that the moisture release is in a place far away from the foundation of the home.
  • Attics: Because attics are places that are not frequently visited, it is easy for a termite infestation to go unnoticed until the problem has become a serious one. If there are exposed wooden beams, the termites have found a feast. The damage to the beams could be on the interior and so difficult to spot. To check for damage, press down hard on the wood with your thumb. If the wood feels soft or spongy, there could be termite damage. Call for professional help without delay, as weak beams could affect the integrity of the structure.
  • Cardboard boxes: Cardboard boxes filled with loose paper, photos, and junk are a tempting nesting spot for termites with shelter and food both easily found. To prevent them from finding a home, store all items that they could be attracted to in plastic storage boxes with tight lids.
  • Living Rooms:The wooden furniture in living rooms makes it a place where termites also want to live. Check under wooden furniture regularly for signs of wood dust or mud that could indicate the presence of termites. Wooden floors are also attractive to termites and since they are at ground level, access is relatively easy. All you can do is keep checking for signs of infestation.
  • Skirting Boards: Skirting boards draw termites like honey does ants. Again, since they are also at a lower level, access is easy. Check for damage by pressing down hard with the thumb on the skirting boards. If there is any softness, it could be due to termite damage.

The list of termite hotspots continues in the next blog.