Termites are extremely common pests that plague home and property owners. These wood-chewing bugs are so scary because you may not even notice their presence for a long time, but they can cause extensive damage. In fact, termites cause nearly $50 billion in damage to homes around the U.S. They’re found in 49 of 50 states and are extremely resilient creatures.
They are also hard to recognize and find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The best thing to do is have a professional perform an inspection for termites at least every few years. You can also perform home inspections on your own in between professional treatments to make sure that your property isn’t being haunted by thousands of little insects.
How Much Damage Can Termites Really Do?
Monetarily, a termite infestation or termite damage is often discovered before selling your home and drops your property value a considerable amount. Even if you’re not planning on selling anytime soon, if you have extensive property damage it may be a hazard. Termites chew the inside of the wood, leaving it hollow. If you have a severe infestation that lasts years, your property may not be structurally sound. There are many cases where individuals discover termites only once their patios have begun leaning or collapsed altogether. Of course, this type of damage is drastic. More commonly, you’ll find that you need to repair or replace certain parts of your wooden structures. If you have antique or expensive wood furniture, it’s a good idea to regularly check for termites lest these prized possessions end up falling apart.
Tips for Checking Your Home For Termites
Checking for termites can be a dirty job as you’ll have to dig around outdoors or in other dusty locations around the home. It’s a good idea to wear gloves, a mask, and clothes that you don’t mind ruining. You should also have a bright flashlight and a screwdriver or other metal tool that can help you check wood for weakness.
Signs of a Termite Infestation
Termites leave behind several signs of their presence. Look for:
- “Mud Tubes” are sure signs of a termite infestation. These bugs dig underground and create tunnels spanning from trees, through properties, and under foundations. Look for unnatural mounds in the ground and follow where they lead, if you can.
- Check the wood by walking around and taking the time to knock on pieces of wood. Solid wood makes a different sound than hollow wood, and if you hear a thud in a piece of wood that should be solid, you can use your knife or screwdriver to dig into that piece of wood and check for tunnels. This will be the hardest and most time-consuming part of a home inspection. If you have wooden beams, floors, or patios outside you should take care to slowly go along and knock every foot or so to detect any damage.
- Piles of wings may be found near light sources like windows or around outdoor areas. As termites develop into their adult forms they shed their wings once they find a place to nest.
Places to Check for Termites
Termites live inside the earth so you can usually find them at or around ground level. You should check any wooden elements of your home such as structural beams, windows and sills (particularly in basements), and staircases. You should also take care to clear your outdoor area of unnecessary woodpiles, such as discarded wood chips or old furniture that can serve as a food source and attract termites.
Call in Professionals if You Discover Termites
If you’ve discovered termites or you simply suspect there may be an infestation in your home, you can call Commonwealth Exterminators at 1-800-734-1724 and speak to a professional. Our experts can perform a full inspection for you and make sure to remove any colonies before they can do too much damage.