As small as termites are in size, they can cause a colossal amount of damage to homes.
According to the United States EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), damage to property caused by termites in the US amounts to $5 billion every year. Many experts cite this amount to be grossly under-reported, and damage repair per homeowner can exceed $2,500.
With such a high amount of damage and equally high costs of repair that homeowners could face due to termite infestations, preventive measures against termites prove to be a cost-effective way to go.
Types of termites
There are three types of termites in the US – Subterranean, Formosan and Drywood termites. Out of these, Formosan termites are the most destructive species, subterranean the most commonly found, and Drywood termites, the least known.
Though found all over the United States, termites species differ from location to location, with denser termite infestations in coastal and humid regions. Warm and humid temperatures in the southern and Gulf states like Florida and Texas are favorable for the Formosan termite species which are mostly found in this area. The southeastern states are dominated by the subterranean species, whereas dry wood termites can be seen in parts of the country like California.
Termites thrive in moisture-rich conditions. The higher the susceptibility of the wood to retain moisture, the higher is the possibility of a termite attack. Mostly, homes with more woodwork, wooden porches, decks, and wooden structural beams are easily affected.
Termite swarmers flying around the lights in the evening are indicators of a termite infestation. Termite swarmers spread the colony to other spaces in the house. These are different from the flying ant swarmers that are usually seen around lights. Termite swarmers have a straight antenna, same sized wings and have a uniform body without a segmented waist.
Another way to identify termite infestations are mud tubes that can be found in inconspicuous spaces. Mud tubes are, in fact, the easiest and most commonly known sign of identifying termite infestations.
Frass are termite droppings that are left behind as the termites’ damage wood and build tubes.
Another obvious indication of a termite infestation is damaged wood. Wood damaged by termites, appears to be soft and breaks on contact.
It is easier to employ preventive measures against termites than to cure an infestation. There are certain measures that homeowners should take to keep termites away.
- The wooden framework in a house should not touch the soil.
- Wooden piles should never be kept stacked against the walls of the house.
- Wood that is to be used for furniture should not be stacked on the ground.
- Any water leakage should be immediately repaired.
- Water accumulation and condensation from HVAC should be channeled far from wooden structures.