If you have termites in your home, chances are you may never see them. What you will see, however, are the results of their work. Signs of an infestation include holes chewed into wood in your home and the distinctive honeycomb pattern created when termites devour wood along the grain. Other clues may include buckling floors, shelter tubes that termites have constructed to move to new areas, and even mounds of fecal pellets (called frass) pushed outside of termite tunnels.
A termite infestation can be devastating and cost thousands of dollars in repairs. In many cases, termite infestations are preventable if you just avoid some common mistakes. Here are ten mistakes to avoid if you don’t want termites in your home:
1 Leaving old, dead tree stumps in your yard
After you’ve cut down a tree in your yard, you might not see the harm in leaving the stump there. A dead tree stump, however, will quickly entice termites to move in. They will devour the inside of the stump and then, once they’ve used it up, they will move on – into your home. Dead tree stumps should be removed quickly to avoid this; if you are not prepared to do it yourself, you can have it done professionally. Let Vernon show the benefits to stump grinding old trees today.
2. Piling firewood near your house
Just like the tree stump example above, a stack of firewood (or any other large source of wood) left outside your home will look like a tasty treat to nearby termites. Once you bring that wood into your home, the termites could crawl out and have the run of your house. Or they could move straight from the outside stack of firewood into your home. You can take measures to avoid this problem by stacking the wood on top of something termites can’t chew through – such as sheet metal – and periodically inspecting your firewood for signs of termites so that you don’t accidentally bring them into your home.
3. Leaving mulch piles around your home
A pile of mulch is another delicious snack to a termite; as it sits on the grass it can hold moisture from the soil and make for an even more inviting home to the subterranean pests. The mulch that people generally use is made from soft woods, like pine, which are a great source of food for termites as well. You don’t want to spray insecticide into your mulch, as it can be detrimental to the health of your soil. If you do have mulch and you suspect a termite invasion, call a professional to come take a look.
4. Damaging your termite barriers
A common way to prevent the entry of termites into your home is the addition of a chemical or physical barrier to keep them out. These barriers can be effective, however they can easily be damaged or disrupted when well-meaning homeowners dig through them while trying to plant a new bush or do some other type of work. Make sure you know where your termite barriers are and avoid digging through them when you’re doing any work nearby them.
5. Trying to handle termites on your own
Homeowners often become overconfident when faced with a pest infestation and attempt to tackle the problem on their own. There are a number of steps you can take to try to control termites in your home, but if they are unsuccessful then the problem will not go away and in fact can become worse, especially if you believe you have solved the problem already and become complacent. In the majority of cases, it’s best to bring in a professional to deal with an infestation for you.
6. Forgetting to treat wood near your home
An old wooden fence, if not properly treated, can become a focal point for an infestation. This goes, of course, for any wooden materials you may have near your house if they’re not properly treated, whether fences, boxes, swing sets, or any number of other things. Therefore if you do have wooden items next to your house, make sure they are properly treated with something like borate to keep termites away.
7. Expanding your home but not your termite barrier
Of course any homeowner will be eager to expand their home when the opportunity presents itself, however it’s important to make sure you expand the termite barriers right along with it. If you make an addition to your home, such as a new patio, then that can easily become an entryway for termites if a proper physical or chemical barrier is not placed. Once again, call a professional to deal with this if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.
8. Allowing untreated wood to touch soil directly
Termites burrow through soil into wood. So if you have any wood that hasn’t been treated properly that can directly touch the soil, termites will move in through there. If there is any part of your home or any structures near it that are touching the soil, take immediate steps to place some kind of barrier there.
9. Doing work that forces termites to move
If you are doing any kind of work near an area that may house termites, you may force them to make a mass exodus towards a safer place. For example, if you have a dead tree stump and you decide to burn it away, any termites in the stump may find themselves forced to move to a new home. Often, your home is the nearest safe spot for them. This is another issue that can be avoided by calling a professional that is trained in dealing with termites when you have work that needs to be done.
10. Forgetting to have a professional termite inspection done
Remember that termites may have nested in your home without you knowing about it. If this is the case, they can do thousands of dollars in damage before you even know that they are there. That’s a problem you want to avoid, so get a professional exterminator to inspect your house. If there are termites, they can take steps to get rid of them. If there aren’t, the exterminator can tell you if there are any parts of your home that are at risk and what you can do to prevent a future infestation.