If you are a current or future homeowner, you need to be aware of a little species of insect called termites. What are termites you ask? They are tiny insects that feed off the organic plant and tree material, such as the wood that is used to build your house. Termites have been a threat to a home’s well-being and stability for years and they continue to be a problem today. This is why you need to know everything there is to know about termites, and you need to know right now!
How to Spot a Termite
Termites are typically between ¼ and ½ inch long and are pale in colour; termite kings and queens can get longer, up to an inch. Worker termites are smaller in size, and flying termites are slightly bigger and more easily noticed since they spend lots of time flying around during mating season looking for new spots to nest.
Why are Termites such a Problem?
Simply put, termites are a problem because they love to eat away at your home’s wooden frame and foundation. If left alone, termites can cause devastating damage to your home and hit you with some seriously costly repair bills. Termites are detrivores, meaning they feed off of dead plants and trees. They consume an organic fibre called cellulose, which is found in wood and plant matter. The majority of their diet consists of wood, but they do eat other things such as plastic, drywall, and paper. While most termites prefer to eat wood that is already dead, there are some that feed on living trees.
Do I have a Termite Problem?
There are some things to look for to identify a termite infestation. First, look for any cracked or bubbling paint, and listen for wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Keep an eye out for frass (termite droppings) which look like small, ridged, wood-coloured pellets, and look for discarded wings from flying termites. Look for the flying termites themselves, which will often be flying around your home in swarms. Lastly, if you find mud tubes on exterior surfaces of your house, there’s a good chance you could have a termite problem.
How can I Prevent a Termite Infestation?
Here are some measures you can take to prevent termites from moving in:
- Take care of moisture problems by repairing leaky faucets, pipes, and AC units. Also make sure water is diverted away from your foundation and keep your gutters and downspouts clean. Any standing water on your roof should be removed too.
- Remove termite food sources by keeping things like firewood, lumber, and paper away from your foundation and crawlspace. Also get rid of any tree stumps and debris near your home’s exterior. Lastly, make sure to place screens on outside vents and ensure that there is no wood on your home that is in contact with soil.
If you suspect or have already discovered a termite problem in your house, now is the time to act! Stop termites before they can cause expensive damage, and show them who’s boss!