Termites Are A Headache But Can Be Prevented
There are few issues that give homeowners’ nightmares more than that of termite infestation. Just saying the words gives you the shivers, doesn’t it? Termites are a headache, to say the least. But, like most things, they are preventable. One of the many benefits of the LeafGuard® gutter system is that it keeps your home dry, a key part of keeping termites out. Here are some need-to-know tips for knowing if you have them to keep them away.
How big a problem are termites in the midwest? Well, for those of us in Iowa, the US Forest Service has designated this region as a moderate to heavy termite infestation zone. The northern part of the state is less prone to termites, but it is still viewed as a moderate problem.
Regionally, the termites that populate this area are subterranean termites, because they live underground. Termites organize in colonies, some reaching populations of a million inhabitants. Much like human civilizations, termite colonies are made up of different members of society who have different roles. Pictured below are three different types of termites. The worker termite maintains the colony. The swarming termite is in charge of exploring and finding the next colony. And the soldier is the protector. Not pictured are the king and queen, who populate the colonies.
Now that you have a brief understanding of how the termites organize, here are some signs that will tell you if they are a problem in or around your home.
5 WARNING SIGNS
Mud foraging tubes.
Take a flashlight and take a tour of your home in search of these mud tubes. Start in the basement look along the foundation of your walls and wall joists. These pencil-size mud tunnels are a clear sign that you have a problem.
Next, look for any wood that appears damaged or damp. Termites thrive in dark and wet environments, so make sure your home is free of these areas. Look for damage along paneling, molding, drywall, or any structural wood.
Termite droppings or pellets.
Another clear sign that you may have a termite problem is the droppings or “frass” left behind. These wood-colored droppings are produced by termites as they chew their way through the wood.
Another sign that termites could be present is the presence of winged termites or just the wings themselves. Swarming termites (pictured above) are attracted to light and may be seen around windows and lamps. They also discard their wings when they land, so even though you may not see the actual termites, wings are evidence of their presence.
The worker termites are most often found in the area surrounding your house. Take a screwdriver and dig up some of the soil surrounding your home, the white bugs are subterranean workers.
5 PREVENTION TIPS
Specific insecticides known as termiticides can be purchased and used along your foundation to create a chemical barrier. This may require quite a bit of termiticide but will give you the peace of mind that your home will remain termite free.
Use as both a preventer and exterminator, termite baits can be put along the foundation or inside the home to attract termites and poison the entire colony. Patience is the key to termite baits, as they may take months to take effect.
Seal your home
Whether you are concerned about termites or other home invaders from finding their way into your home, it’s always a good idea to seal off any cracks or holes.
Elevate wood products
Take a look around your home and make sure that you do not have any wood products near your home that could attract termites. Elevating your wood products just an inch or two will keep them away.
Keep it dry
Whether it’s your basement or the wood deck, termites love the damp darkness. Water seal your deck and make sure that your basement stays as dry as possible.