The vast majority of homeowners will have to deal with pests sooner or later, but not all pests are the same. If you ask any homeowner which pest they fear most, you’re likely to get the same answer – termites. These relatives of the ant feed on wood, and if they get into your home, they’ll create significant damage to its structure in no time, which is why regular preventive and remedial actions have to be taken without delay.
How to identify a termite
Since they are related to ants, people often can’t distinguish between the two. One termite is not likely to cause chaos, but the problem is that they live in colonies and their strength lies in numbers. Furthermore, in order to take appropriate action, you need to be able to tell exactly which species of termites has infested your home.
They eat cellulose, which means they find food in any plant-based object. There are subterranean termites living underground and they are most likely to infest your garden, compost heaps or wood piles, for example. Other species are more likely to be found inside your home, which is why preventive measure and regular inspections are of great importance.
If you believe there are termites at your home, you need to perform an inspection and choose the right treatment. The damage that they make doesn’t happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean you need to wait when it comes to taking action. The longer you wait, the greater the damage will be and you’ll also have to spend more money on tackling the issue.
Although some people like to deal with this problem themselves, it’s usually the best idea to contact local experts, who know how to help you. What you need to know is that even if you’ve done everything right and managed to get rid of termites, the war is not over. There’s no permanent solution, which is why it’s equally important to prevent and deal with the problem.
You can find a lot of advice online from people and experts on how to treat an infestation yourself, but you have to be aware of the limitations of such an endeavour. First of all, you may have wrongly identified the type of termites and consequently chosen a wrong treatment. Next, you may not have the right tools for dealing with the specific species. Finally, no DIY treatment is as effective as a professional treatment for large-scale infestations. So, chose this method only when dealing with minor infestations or preventing new ones.
Some treatments can only be performed by certified professionals, who have the right equipment and are trained to use dangerous chemicals. Experts often resort to gas fumigation, heat fumigation, or orange oil treatment, but their approach depends on the species of termites and the scale of infestation. For example, the guys behind Home Inspector use liquid sprays, baiting gels, insecticidal dust, bait boxes and non-toxic traps.
Preventing termite infestation
This is where each homeowner can play a significant role. If you’re building a new home, you should choose resinous wood or wood injected with chemicals or treated with borax. Also, all the windows should feature tight-fitting screens and the door and window frames need to be completely sealed. Pruning your trees and shrubs near the construction area is also important in preventing termites from getting into your home.
Other things you need to do include avoiding excess moisture, removing potential food sources, such as wood piles from the ground, keeping mulch at least six inches from your home, caulking around windows and doors, adding screens and sealing the opening around the cables entering your home.
Since most insurance policies don’t cover termite damage, as insurance companies see it as a maintenance issue, rather than an accident, the responsibility lies solely with the homeowner. This means that you need to take this issue seriously.
Having regular inspections (every two years, as experts recommend) is vital and choosing a professional exterminator if your home does get infested will ensure that your damage will be minimised.