Termites and other similar wood-consuming insects are remarkably adept at destroying the internal framework of a wooden structure. Subterranean and drywood termites pose the highest threat to the wooden portions of a home. If an infestation of subterranean termites does occur, usually only the services of a professional pest-control service will be able to effectively eliminate their presence. Prevention is always better than cure. The basis of prevention is to deny these pests the three things they require to survive: food, water and shelter. Food is the wood they consume, water is obtained from the moisture in the wood, and shelter refers to the spaces in the wood that they use to rest and reproduce. Home owners can take simple precautions to reduce the likelihood of a termite infestation in their homes.
• All openings to the foundation must be properly sealed
• Tree stumps and scrap wood must be removed from the vicinity of the foundation
• Ensure ease of inspection of the foundation line by removing plants etc. that cause visual impediments
• Use pressure-treated wood when possible that resists moisture and does not rot in rain
• Create a clearance zone of two inches between the house structure itself and porches and plant boxes that contain soil
• Create a clearance zone of between twelve an eighteen inches between floor boards and the soil below
• Isolate wooden fence posts, stair casings, door casings and trellises from contact with soil. This may be achieved by creating a buffer zone or using treated wood
The layperson may identify several tell-tale signs of termite infestation. It is good to be aware of these indicators so action may be taken at the earliest possible opportunity.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• Damaged wooden structures e.g. banisters, window sills
• Trails that look like dried dirt
• Droppings that look like fine sawdust
• Swarming winged insects.
Besides checking wooden elements like doors, flooring, baseboards and windows for damage, it is important to identify non-wooden areas which show signs of excessive moisture like water stains and mold on walls and ceilings; leaking water from these locations may lead to wood rot which then draws termites.
Be aware of how the hidden plumbing and utility pipes run through the house. Pay particular attention to the points at which the plumbing enters the flooring and foundation. The attic should also be investigated for shelter tubes and water leakage.
Any point at which utility services pipes and tubes from the soil enter the home is a potential danger area. The foundation of the house and other buildings on the property like the garage should be thoroughly checked.
Areas where wood is in contact with the soil, like the foundation of the house, fences, trellises and stairs are fertile ground for termite infestation. Termites may also gain access to the house structure by using plants and other structures as a bridge and this may be prevented by ensuring that shrubbery is not in direct contact with the house. Perform a visual inspection of all surrounding patios and sidewalks for traces of termite activity.
Professional Appraisal & Inspection
There is no substitute for a professional inspection and pest control services. Qualified inspectors are equipped not only with their training but also have the added advantage of intuition through experience that allows them to quickly identify problems and offer the most effective solutions.Termite infestation is best combated through the use of professional pest control services. Professionals have access to and experience in using the most effective equipment and chemicals which are essential to a long-term solution.
This refers to methods that combat infestation in the entire house instead of localized areas. Its advantage is that even hidden problem areas that may have been overlooked are treated, and for certain infestations, it is the only option. Typically, the home must be emptied of all people, pets, plants and foods. The home is then tented and sealed off. Poisonous gas is pumped into the tent which penetrates wood members throughout the structure, killing any and all termites hiding within.