There are three basic types of termites, and there are different steps that you can take to protect your home from those types of termites. It helps to know what the primary types of termites that you will need to worry about in and around your property. In Virginia, the most common type of termite is the Eastern Subterranean termite.
Eastern Subterranean Termites
The Eastern Subterranean termite is spread throughout the Eastern part of the United States. These termites live underground in colonies and the termites will crawl up into the wood to feed. They will build mud tubes to protect themselves as they crawl up into your home. There three different roles in an Eastern Subterranean termite colony. The workers will focus on getting the wood to feed the colonies, the soldiers will protect the other termites, and the queen and kings. These termite colonies can move as they move from food source to food source.
Preventing Subterranean Termites
The best way to prevent these termites from infesting your home is to remove everything that attracts them to your yard. This means clearing out old wood like fallen trees or branches. You may also want to clear out old tree stumps. Clearing out leaf debris can also help. Be sure that you do not use wood mulch near your home, since the termites will eat that. You should also be sure that you only use treated wood in the building projects around your home.
You should also be sure that your home is in good repair. Leaks can make your wood wet, which is how termite prefer it. You should be sure that the wood dries out completely. Check your foundation periodically for cracks, which can give termites easy access to your home. You should also check for mud tubes along the foundation, which is a sign that you already have termites in the home.
What Other Types of Termites Can Damage My Home?
There are two other subtypes of termites. Dampwood termites like to feed on damp wood. They may come in through your attic. These termites need constant access to moisture and they can actually build their colonies inside of the wood of your home as they eat it. Drywood termites will also live inside the wood of the home. They are more likely to eat through the siding of your home and you can even find them in furniture. Keeping your home in good repair can prevent the termites from finding their way into your home.
Termites are a common problem that many homeowners will have to deal with at one point in their lives. Termites move from place to place and expand their colonies. Termites are found throughout the United States, but tend to do less damage where there are cold, dry winters. If you are a homeowner, there are a few steps that you can take to protect your home from a termite infestation.
Consider a Pretreatment Before You Build
Many building companies will complete a pretreatment for termites before they build. This is a soaker type treatment where the termiticide is applied to the ground before the building begins. This provides protection under the concrete slab and around your home. If you are building a home yourself, you can request that the contractors do this before they start building.
Seal Off Your Crawlspace
Many crawlspaces have dirt floors. If you can seal off your crawlspace, you can limit the areas that termites can get into your home. You can hire a termite control professional to do this for you, or you can attempt to do it yourself. The project can be quite time intensive and depending on the current condition of your crawlspace, it may include mucking things out. A professional company will make sure is done correctly and give you the protection that your home needs.
Regular Inspections and Bait Stations
Regular termite monitoring can help you detect termites before they cause a lot of damage. Bait stations can alert you that termites are on your property and allow you to treat for them if it becomes necessary. The bait stations are chemical free, and attract the termites since they contain wood and cellulose. If termites are found in these stations, you can begin treatment.
Use Treated Wood
If you are building a new outdoor project like a deck or shed, be sure to use wood that has been treated for termites, especially if it will go directly into the ground. Subterranean termites will begin to eat the wood of the deck and give you no visible signs unless the wood is treated.
Stack Wood Away from the Home
If you keep wood for a fireplace or wood burning stove, you need to stack the wood away from your home. If you can store it on a concrete pad, you provide another layer of protection for the wood. You can also cover it with a tarp for additional protection.
Image courtesy of James Niland (CC by 2.0)
One of the biggest fears associated with termites is the damage it can do to your home, which is your biggest investment. Termites can cause thousands of dollars in structural damage. However, finding out that you have termites does not mean that your home will become unsellable. Termites are such a common problem that many people look at it as matter of when your home is infested by termites as opposed to if your home is infested by termites. However, once you have had termites you may have a few more things to check off when it comes to selling your home.
1. End the Infestation
The first step is to stop the infestation completely. This means professionally treating for termites. It is important that you keep the documentation from the initial findings, and the methods that were used to kill the termites. This document will also likely contain the areas that need to be repaired as a result of the termite infestation.
2. Repair the Damages
The next step you will need to take is to repair the damages that the termites have caused. You can take before and after photos. It is also a good idea to keep this information on file. The report should explain the damage that was done, what repairs were made and when. It should also include an subsequent inspections done to make sure the work was up to code.
3. Prevent Further Termite Infestations
Once you have had termites, you should have your property inspected each year. Keep a copy of warranties that you purchase with the termite control treatment. You can also show these warranties to the person interested in buying your home. Generally, it is good practice to have annual inspections and treatments done and be able to show that you have done so.
4. Disclose the Information when It Is Time to Sell
Finally, you need to disclose the information when it is time to sell your home. It is the law and failing to do so can have serious penalties. However, the record of the treatment, repairs and further preventative treatments will show that your home is fine. There are areas of the country where most homes have dealt with termites at one time or another. A home that has been treated and repaired should not drop in value. If the repairs are not done, then it will affect the value of your home.
Contact EcoTek today to get a free estimate on the costs of a termite treatment for your home.
Learn how to tell the difference between termites and ants by reading: How Are Termites and Carpenter Ants Different From Each Other?
Termites are one of the most dreaded types of pests to find in your home–and with good reason. They are capable of doing tons of damage to a building without making their presence known until they’ve already decimated the surrounding structure. When you take a closer look at termites it’s easy to see why they’re one of the most successful types of insects on earth. They’re present on every landmass in the world, except for Antarctica, and they’re capable of establishing colonies filled with millions of individuals. Here at EcoTek, we spend most of our time getting rid of these pests but we also feel it’s important to know your enemy which is why we wanted to provide you with some facts about these insects. , as well as, a number of benefits their presence create. Read more The Global Impact of Termites ›