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Termites: Make Sure Your Home Is Protected

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Termites can destroy a home from the inside out, but there are ways homeowners can protect themselves, with early awareness and prevention being chief among them. With the exception of Alaska, termites of one variety or another are found in every state in the continental U.S., leaving most homes susceptible to infestation.  Unfortunately most people don’t discover the problem until significant damage has been done.  In fact, each year the U.S. spends more than $2 billion on termite control, according to research by the University of Florida.  Because it has become so costly to combat these pests, significant research has been conducted to identify effective methods of prevention and extermination.  Most prevention steps are relatively simple, and focus on stopping the initial infestation before expensive and dangerous control measures like extermination are required.

A Termite: Close Up

Your home could feed millions of these if you aren’t careful.

The single most important step to termite control is eliminating any source of water leakage or moisture in or around the home.  This is particularly true if the water is near a termite food source, such as firewood, tree stumps, or even stacks of old newspapers.  While it may seem odd to remove water first, different termites prefer different types of food, but they are all attracted to sources of moisture.  By eliminating that one element, every species of termite will be less likely to consider your home or the surrounding areas for a meal.

If your home is in a risk area, any exposed wood areas should be checked at least once per year for damage, as well as any decks, sheds, or wooden lawn furniture.  In the event this is something you are uncomfortable doing or not capable of, most pest control companies are willing to send a technician free of charge to check for signs of infestation.  One of the most clear warning signs that any homeowner should not ignore is the presence of winged termites around the house or trapped in windows – especially in the early and late spring months.  This indicates the strong possibility of a new or existing infestation, requiring immediate preventative measures.

Even with regular inspection, homeowners should still be vigilant.  The species known as Formosan termites live underground in colonies that number in the millions.  They are the most destructive type of termite, and range up to 300 feet or more in search of food.  Because they build vast networks of underground tunnels, these termites can eat their way into a house from the bottom up without ever being noticed.

Often, years will pass before the damage is significant enough to cause collapse or other visible signs to a homeowner.  This is why vigilance is key to preventing termite infestation. In the event warning signs are spotted, there are home extermination kits that can be purchased and used without the need of a professional, but the risk remains that these methods will not fully eliminate the threat.  This can necessitate more costly extermination steps at a later date, and may result in more extensive termite damage to your home.

For this reason the services of a professional are generally recommended. While termites can pose a serious problem, early prevention and early detection can protect your home.  Being aware of the risks and warning signs in advance will help eliminate the need for costly home repairs and extermination.

Image Credits: Feature Image: ‘130702 (termites!)‘ Article Image: ‘Reticulitermes Flavipes (Termite Face)‘ Found On: flickrcc.net

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About Henry Buell

A world traveled analyst, Henry has lived through political upheaval, revolutions, and war. He writes from a different perspective, with a passion for life, tempered by experience. More information can be found on Henry Buell's website.
  • Arun Kumar

    Nice Blog…

    You can also see this in
    http://termitetreatment1.blogspot.in/

  • Kiran Chandra
  • http://www.henrybuell.com/ Henry Buell

    Hello Kiran. Judging from the site you linked, I’d wager you already know the associated costs. That said, a few thousand dollars in termite treatment pales in comparison to what my family went through.

    We spent a week in a hotel (four children and two adults in two rooms), in addition to moving all pets, food, and clothes out of our home while it was poisoned to kill the termites. Following that the entire house had to be cleaned to remove any possibility of poison residue, as children tend to put everything in their mouth.

    Then the repairs on our 200 year old Victorian home began. Since the walls were plaster and lathe, the process of lifting the house to replace foundation timbers cracked the walls – in some cases requiring complete replacement, and as the damage was throughout the home, we ended up spending weeks on some rooms just to fix the damage.

    I’d say our total out of pocket costs were close to $15,000, after accounting for insurance deductibles and such. This was of course after using a number of disposable ‘home’ kits – which tend to kill the ones you see, but leave the ones eating the foundation of your home. So, my advice remains – always call in a professional, and if you can’t afford it, make payment arrangements with them.