Each year termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage. Even though termites are ecologically beneficial toward creating nutrient-rich soil, the same feeding behaviors that prove helpful to the ecosystem can severely damage homes. Follow these tips to identify and prevent termite damage in your home.
Small Piles of Wings
Swarmers – the winged adults that fly away from their own colonies after reaching maturity – are always the first on the scene. They drop their wings when they find a place where they want to mate and colonize, leaving behind a pile of discarded wings.
Because termites like dark, humid places, they typically eat the interior of the wood. They rarely come through the wood, so there can be massive destruction on the inside of the wall without there being any exterior damage. Wood that sounds hollow or damages easily when tapped most likely has termites.
Mud tubes allow termites to have access to moisture while they search for more food. These tubes will connect termite nests to wood, soil, and moisture. Mud tubes are proof of termite infestation, but their absence doesn’t necessarily mean a structure is termite-free. Break mud tubes open to see if termites are active inside; termites rebuild damaged tubes, another indication of continued activity.
If termites do eat to the outside surface of furniture or wooden structures, then they’ll create a series of veneer cracks and sprawling tunnels. This is commonly found on antique furniture and is easier to spot with the naked eye.
If the termite infestation goes untreated for a long time, the wood in the floors can become weak and begin to give way. Excessive squeaking can be evidence of a termite-damaged floor. Termites can damage laminate flooring, as well, by eating the backing off of the laminate.
If you get a home inspection and you’re in the clear, here are some things you can do to prevent future infestations.
- Get rid of old tree stumps or rotten fences
- Move wood piles as far as possible from your home
- Eliminate wood to soil contact
- Seal all cracks on the exterior of your home
- Schedule yearly inspections
No one wants to come across termite damage in their home. If left uninhibited, termite damage can render structures unlivable until expensive repairs are made – the key is to look out for it so that you’re not stuck with the costly repairs down the line.