When you own a home, one issue that you must often deal with is how to keep damaging insects at bay. While wasps, carpenter ants, and other wood-boring insects can cause a great deal of destruction to the wood of your home, few do as much damage as the termite. These pests, which can be found in nearly every state across the country, have the ability to cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home. However, there are four steps you can take to prevent them from taking over your property.
Learn to Identify Termites
There are four species of termites: dampwood, drywood, Formosan, and subterranean. All species have six legs and an elongated body. Some people often mistake termites for flying ants, as they do look similar. However, most species of termites only swarm in the spring, are smaller than flying ants, and their bodies are long and do not have narrow waists. Termites also shed their wings after they swarm and find a place to nest, while flying ants keep theirs for life.
Identify Which Species Are in Your Area
The next step in preventing termite damage is to identify which termites live in your area. Subterranean termites are the most common and stretch from coast to coast, inhabiting every state except Alaska, where the temperatures are too cold for them to survive. Formosan termites are typically found in southern states, including Alabama and Georgia, but stretch as far as Florida. Drywood termites live in dry areas, such as Arizona. Dampwood termites are not usually found in structures but may nest in decaying wood on or near your home.
Since subterranean termites are the most widespread, they typically cause the most damage to homes across the U.S. These insects are named for their tendency to live underground and chew their way into a home’s foundation. As a result, their presence is often difficult to spot.
Look for Signs of Infestation
While only a professional termite company should remove termites from your property, it is a good idea to look for signs of their handiwork if you suspect they are already in your home. If you witnessed an insect swarm, look for discarded wings, as this is a sign that termites have chosen their home as their own. Small piles of sawdust near wood structures or tiny black pellets, which is the waste they produce, are another sign that they have set up shop. Signs of a serious infestation include buckling wood and a noticeable odor similar to mildewing fabric.
Call a Professional
Once you find signs that termites have infested your property, the final step to take is to call a professional exterminator. Not only will these experts confirm an infestation, they can give you several different options for removal and let you know exactly how much damage they have done. While you might think trying to eradicate termites on your own with a commercial spray will do the job, the truth is that termite infestations are extremely robust once they are established and only a professional termite extermination company should deal with them to ensure the colony is completely destroyed.
Termites can cause a great deal of damage to your home before you even realize their presence. However, following these four steps may help you identify them sooner so that you can have them removed safely and permanently.
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