Termites are active in all parts of the country, except for Alaska, and are the scourge of virtually every homeowner. They can cause a huge amount of structural damage to your home, resulting in very costly repairs and restoration. This article offers a guide to understanding termites and to minimizing any chances that they will damage your house.
Termites are small insects which resemble ants and often make their nests inside of or near houses and other buildings. They represent a danger to homeowners because one of their main food sources is wood, although they will also eat paper, cotton fibers, and other materials that contain a substance called cellulose.
The United States is home to a wide range of termite species. The one that causes the most damage is the subterranean termite. This species makes its nest in soil near your home and builds mud tunnels as a way of having a path to the inside of your house. Other types of termites, such as the Formosan termite and the drywood termite, often make their nests inside homes. They are generally found in the southern states, as well as Hawaii.
A key to preventing termite infestations is using proper construction methods when the house is built. This includes using steel frames and pressure-wood when framing the house. Installing termite meshes and other barriers in key spots during the house's construction is also important.
Regardless of the construction methods used to build your home, you can take certain steps to help prevent infestations. Make certain that there is at least a four-inch barrier between the foundation of your home and any materials that would attract termites, such as wood, paper, and mulch. Do not let any of your siding touch the ground and ensure that all plants are at least several feet away from the foundation.
Also, do not let any water or moisture collect near the foundation, as this will attract the insects.
If you suspect termites have entered your home, look for soft spots in the wood or walls as well as any mud tunnels in the interior or on the exterior of your house. If an infestation has occurred, you might be able to see the insects themselves. Most specimens are about one-fourth inch long, white, and resemble ants.
It's not easy to be sure if you have a termite problem in many cases. For best results, contact your local termite exterminator services and let them perform an inspection. They will be able to determine if termites are present in your house and tell you the best way to proceed.