Has an Inspector Recently Found Termites in Your Home?
If you’re like many homeowners, you may have been completely surprised by this discovery. When termites are uncovered in a house, the owners usually want to know how and why it happened. Is there something you could have done to prevent it? Termites are fairly common, but why?
To determine the answers to these questions, it’s important to have a basic understanding of termites. The two most common kinds of termites in Northern California are subterranean and dry wood termites. This primary difference between these two subspecies of termites is that subterranean termites, as the name indicates, live underground, while dry wood termites live and make their nests inside the wood itself. They do this by burrowing into exposed vulnerable wood that the swarmers land on.
Subterranean termites have soft bodies, which dry out when they’re exposed to air, so they have to stay in a damp environment. This means that they stay underground, foraging until they find wood. The wood they find could be a stump or a piece of buried wood, or it could be the lower levels of your house. They can get several feet above the ground, by building mud tubes up the walls of a home or office so that they can explore the opportunities the structure presents. This kind of termite often gets into a house through wood-to-ground contact, entering through doorframes, deck posts, or porch steps or supports. They can also get in through cracks in the foundation or the mortar between bricks, or even through holes in concrete blocks. It’s important to note that a termite can squeeze through a space as small as 1/32nd of an inch. That’s about the same size as the thickness of the average business card.
Drywood termites don’t have to stay in the soil looking for a place to nest. This allows them to attack any level of your home, not just the ground floor or below. When this kind of termite invades your home, it often starts with swarmers finding a crevice in the wood of the house and sealing themselves inside. There, they produce eggs, build their colony, and within a couple of years have become a terribly destructive force, causing serious damage to the building’s wood.
What Do All Termites Have in Common?
All termites have the same basic needs: food, warmth, and moisture. They seek all three in your home, feeding not only on wood but also on other things that contain cellulose, like paper and cardboard. Depriving termites of these things is the first step in keeping them out of your house. A big part of this is having regular inspections, during which a termite specialist can point out any weaknesses in your defense and any signs that you’re already under attack. Much of termite prevention, however, is keeping up with your home’s maintenance.
It’s harder to prevent a dry wood termite infestation than it is to stop subterranean termites, because of their ability to enter at any level of the home. To keep them at bay, you’ll need to be vigilant about maintaining the exterior wood of your home. Seal any cracks, nail holes or crevices that you find, and consider putting screens over vents. Any wood that has sustained water damage is also a problem because wood that’s been softened by moisture is extremely appealing to termites. In fact, if there’s enough moisture in a house, termites can sometimes even survive with no soil contact. If there’s any damage to the wooden parts of your house, whether from a roof or plumbing leak, excessive condensation or humidity, poor drainage around the foundation, missing or faulty downspouts or gutters, poorly adjusted sprinklers, or some other water source, take care of it as soon as possible to help protect your home from termites.
Are termites common?
Unfortunately, yes. These opportunistic termites are all over the United States, in every state except Alaska. Across the nations, they do about $5 billion worth of damage to homes and other buildings each year. If you want to keep them out of your home, you’ll need to be proactive.
*Regularly inspect the outside of your home, checking for mud tubes, uneven or bubbling paint, and any cracks or crevices that need repair.
*Repair leaks immediately, and eliminate moisture in and around your home to the best of your ability. Divert water away from your house and don’t allow it to pool around your foundation.
*Keep an 18-inch gap between soil and any wooden part of your home, and use mulch sparingly. Never store firewood against your home, and keep vines, ivy, and dense planting away from your home’s exterior as well.
*Make any necessary repairs to the exterior of your home as soon as you notice damage, whether to the soffits, fascia, shingles, or any other part of the house.
*Paint or seal exterior wood, and for unpainted, exposed wood like that found in attics and subareas, use a preventative treatment of Boracare or Timor. These borate salt compounds are easy to apply, have virtually no toxicity issues, and can protect the wood in your home for a decade or more.
*Maintain the interior of your home and keep it in good repair as well, sealing the property to keep termites out, fixing leaks immediately, and regularly checking your home for signs of termite damage.
*Don’t store timber, cardboard, or other materials that can act as a food source for termites in your basement, attic, or crawl space. Don’t leave piles of clothes lying around, because termites will eat fabric, too.
*Enlist the help of a termite company, scheduling annual inspections by an expert who can make recommendations for both protection and treatment options.
Termite Control Company Serving Northern California
Mighty mite Termite Services has been serving Northern California for nearly a decade, committed to helping the community one termite infestation at a time. Our knowledgeable, experienced staff members are happy to discuss different treatment options with you, sharing our expert knowledge to help you make an informed decision. Whether the answer is rodding, drilling, fumigation, botanical-based products like orange oil, or another type of termite treatment, we’re dedicated to going above the industry norm, continually finding new and better ways to protect homes and business from termites. That dedication to excellence is what drives our success.
At MightyMite Termite Services, we can help you keep your home safe from termites, using treatments that are naturally derived and have a low impact on the environment. We diagnose and treat infestations with the most effective methods and unmatched warranties, solving your termite problems the first time, with an industry-best “no call-back rate.” That, combined with our experience, technology, and highly trained professional staff, makes us the leading extermination company in the Bay Area. For more information, call us today at 408-377-3761, email Info@mightymitetermite.com, or contact us through our website.