5 Things That Attract Termites to Your Home and Property

termite control
Image courtesy of Gavinevans CC by SA 3.0
If you are concerned about termites, you may be wondering what you can do to protect your home from the invasion of termites. Termites serve an important part in the ecosystem. They help to break trees and wood back into soil. Even though termites are necessary, that does not mean that you want them attacking your home or being active on your property. Here are five thing that attract termites to your property.

Old Decaying Trees

Termites like to feed on old, dead wood. If you have decaying trees on your property, even in the back corners, you are inviting termites to come to your property by offering them up a meal. It is important to clear out old decaying trees. You should also address trees that may not be well and in the process of dying because some types of termites will feed on sick trees as well. Be sure to remove any limbs or falling trees.

Mulch

Wood mulch may be a good thing to help keep the moisture around your flower beds. It can also help your yard look nicer, but wood mulch can attract termites to your property. You should never use it in the beds that directly touch your home, but you may also want to consider other materials in your flower beds including a rubber mulch or a cedar mulch. There are a number of different materials you can use.

Wooden Structures Including Your Deck

The outbuildings, deck and fencing around your yard can all attract termites to your yard. The solution is to build these structures out of wood that is specially treated to not attract termites. Treated wood can last up to forty years, but you will need to check on it periodically. If you have structures that are not built of treated wood you will need to replace them.

Moist Wood in Your Crawlspace or Basement

Termites like wood that is wet or moist. If your crawlspace is hot or humid and if you dread going in them because of the way it feels or smells, it is likely that it would naturally attract termites as the floor joists and subfloor are weakened from the moisture. The best way to address this issue is to encapsulate the crawlspace and make sure that it is sealed completely from the elements.

Firewood

Firewood naturally attracts termites. While you may want to have firewood on your property to help you save money on your heating bill, there are steps you can take to protect your home from termites, and your firewood. Be sure to store it away from your home, not against it. You should store it on a concrete slab, and you should keep it covered to prevent termites.

How to Help Your Property Recover from Termites

Image courtesy of ETF89 CC by SA 4.0
Many homeowners feel panic when they first suspect that they may have termites. Then a feeling of dread may settle in once that is confirmed after an inspection. A termite infestation affects your ability to your sell your home, and it can reduce your property value until the repairs are completed. Here are the steps you need to take to help your property completely recover from a termite infestation.

Treat Your Home for Termites

The first step is treat the infestation and get rid of the termites. The sooner you have the termites treated, the less damage that they can do to your property. While many people try to treat for insect infestations themselves, when it comes to termites, it is best to use a professional. They can correctly apply the treatments and make sure that the termites do not return. The treatments usually come with a warranty, which protects you against future termite infestations.

Make the Repairs

While you may want to delay making the repairs because of the cost to do so, it is important to make the repairs right away. The repairs may have made your home structurally unsound. You will need to make these repairs to keep your family safe from the damage. While you may not have significant structural damage to your home, you should still make the repairs. The damaged wood will give easy access to other insects and animals that may try to come into your home. It is important to make those repairs correctly and right away. While you may be tempted to make the repairs yourself, there are proper ways to make those repairs to keep your home safe, and having a professional may be the best option.

Prevent Future Infestations

Take the time to examine your home for signs of weakness. Be sure that the roof is in good repair and that any vents are covered with grates that will keep termites out. Check your crawlspace to see if it can be improved by keeping it dry and sealed off. You can also check your property to see if there is any wood around the property that may attract the termites.

Set Up a Continued Monitoring System

It is important to have a continued monitoring system for termites. This can be done around your property. You should continue to have regular inspections and treatments done in the future to prevent termites from being an issue again.

5 Home Maintenance Projects to Protect Yourself from Termites

termite control
Image courtesy of Thomas BrownCC by 2.0
Termites can cause thousands of dollars to your home in a very short period of time. Termites will steadily eat through the wood of your home all while remaining hidden. It is important to regularly have your home inspected for termites, but there are projects you can do to your home that can help protect it from termites. These steps can help you prevent the termites from coming into your home.

Check Your Ventilation to Make Sure It Is Working

Many termites prefer damp wood and so making sure that your home stays dry and the ventilation system is working properly is important. You should take time each year to make sure that all the ventilation in your attic and other areas of your home is open and unblocked. When you check this system, you should also check to make sure that each of the vents have a grate installed that will keep swarming termites and other insects out of your home.

Fix Your Crawlspace

Your crawlspace may be the perfect place for termites to enter your home. If you dread going into your crawlspace because it is hot and humid and full of mud and puddles, then you definitely need to address this with crawlspace encapsulation. The humidity in the crawlspace can allow the wood to become damp which makes it more attractive to termites. If the ground is not covered with plastic and sealed, it makes it easier for subterranean treatments to be installed. While past practices were to allow your crawlspace to vent to the exterior, most people now recommend encapsulating it and sealing it off so that the HVAC system is safer. It also makes the home in your house cleaner and safer to breath.

Check and Repair Your Roof

Loose shingles can give termites easy access to your attic where they can set up shop without ever realizing that there is a problem. Take time each year to check out your roof and to be sure that the shingles are in good condition. If you find one or two that are loose you can repair them or you may want to hire someone to do it for you. While you are up there, be sure to check around the vents to make sure that they are sealed.

Check Pipes for Leaks Periodically

Leaky pipes allow moisture to weaken the wood in your home. The damp wood is the food that termites prefer to feed on. You should periodically check the pipes in your home to make sure that you do not have any leaks. If you do find a leak or if your home has a flood, you will need to make sure that the wood dries out completely as quickly as possible. You can set up fans throughout the room to aid with it. You should check the wood once it is dry to make sure it is still strong and that it does not need to be replaced.

Close Holes into Your Home

Take time to check around your foundation, and any areas where a pipe or wiring enters your home to be sure that they are sealed off completely. Termites can enter through any small opening and explore your home looking for a meal, making sure these areas are sealed will protect your home from termites and other insects. It can also help with the energy efficiency of your home.

5 Commonly Asked Questions About Termites

termite controlTermites are a large problem throughout the world. While they perform a necessary part in breaking down the dead wood that may be underground or around a forest and turning it into soil, they can also do significant damage to your home in a relatively short period of time. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions.

Can Termites Hurt People?

Termites will feed on wood. They avoid light and will spend their time underground. Termites focus the most on their colonies and their roles within it. The solider termites that are designed to protect the colony may bite you if you are hassling them in some way, but it is not a very common occurrence. For the most part, termites will leave you alone as they just want to remain undetected as they feed on your home.

Can I Treat Termites on My Own?

While you may be able to find methods of treatment throughout the internet that suggest using vinegar soaked cardboard or other methods, it really is best to turn to the professionals for treatments. This is because of the extensive damage that termites can cause to your home and make it unsafe for you and your family. However, you can focus on preventing termites in your yard and around your home by clearing out dead wood on your property and keeping the trees and bushes from touching your home. You can also avoid using mulch around your property.

Do Termites Fly?

Termites will fly when they swarm. This happens when some of the termites leave to establish a new colony. Generally, termites will swarm in the spring. If you see flying termites around your property or in your home, you likely have an established colony on your property. If you see piles of discarded wings, you likely have a newly established colony. Either way you should schedule a termite inspection to make sure that you do not have an issue in the future.

Do I Really Need a Termite Inspection?

You should schedule an annual termite inspection or set up a termite monitoring system around your property. This allows you to catch termite activity before it become s too serious. The inspector will look at common areas where termites first start to attract your home, like your attic, crawlspace or basement. The inspectors are trained to look below the surface and to catch any activity so that you can begin treatment. You can watch for signs of termites like mud tubes, damaged wood around your property or in your home or discarded wings as well.

How Much Damage Do Termites Really Do to Your Home?

One termite colony can eat through your entire home in just two years. While this may seem like a slow process, it is important to realize that the damages that make your home unsafe like weakened floor joists, can actually happen much more quickly. Another thing to consider is that many people find that they have more than one colony on their property. Termites can damage the floor joists, floor boards, supporting beams and any area that is wood. Dampwood termites will eat the protective casings around electrical wires and can create a serious fire hazard. This damage can affect your property value until it is addressed and repaired.

How Are Termites and Carpenter Ants Different From Each Other?

Termites and carpenter ants are two different insects that can cause damage to your home. These wood boring insects can affect the property value of your home and can cause significant damage to your home. The treatment method is different for each of them and it is important to correctly identify them.

Characteristics of Termites

termitesTermites tend to make their nests outside and come into your home looking for wood to eat. You may be able to spot a termite mound near your home or see mud tubes along your foundation leading up to your home. Termites are black with segmented bodies, but they have thicker waists and look nearly uniform in size. The workers and guards look a bit different from each other. Termites come in a variety of colors from beige to black. When the termites swarm they have wings. These wings are about twice the length of the termite and are uniform in length. The antennae are straight.

Characteristics of Carpenter Ants

carpenter antsCarpenter ants do not eat wood, instead they make their nests inside of the wood. This does mean that they may chew up the wood to make their nests. They may also take advantage of any damage left behind by a previous termite colony. Carpenter ants look like a household ant except they are quite a bit larger. They are entirely black which makes them different from fire ants. The carpenter ants will have two sets of wings with the back wings being a bit shorter than the front wings. The antennae are bent. Either pest can be a problem in your home and cause significant damage. In fact, one termite colony can chew through a pound of wood a day. This adds up quickly. If you suspect any of these issues, you should contact a professionals at EcoTek for a free inspection and free estimate for how much it will cost to exterminate ants in or around your home. Learn 8 Facts About Ants