While there may be a lot of big events coming up this spring, one thing you can’t miss out on is Termite Awareness Week. You probably don’t think it’s the most exciting week of the year, but it’s something you can’t ignore. If you aren’t aware of what termites can do to your house or why they invade your property, you might be exposing your home (and budget) to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.
What To Look For
When the weather begins warming up, termites start warming up as well. Termite awareness week is the first full week before spring, perfect timing to start getting prepared. Unfortunately, as you read this, you might already have a termite problem. Termite season simply refers to warmer months of the year that provide the best mating conditions for termite swarmers (the winged termites in charge of recolonization).
Contrary to popular belief, even though they only mate and recolonize during the spring or summer, worker termites are actually working all year long. Eating the wooden structures of your home’s foundation at a 24/7 pace, worker termites don’t sleep, which allows them to do more than $3,000 in damage over the course of 18 months.
While the warmer months put you at a higher risk of incurring a new termite infestation, your wallet could be at risk if you don’t know how to spot an ongoing termite infestation. Swarmers outside your home near lampposts and light fixtures might be the first sign of a problem, but how would you know if you had an infestation in the colder months?
Unfortunately, it’s very rare to see termites in your Houston home, as they typically remain within the walls or under the soil. But you might be able to notice a few signs of an infestation as time passes, including:
- Mud tubes along outside walls: since most termites gain entry to your home by tunneling underneath the surface of the soil, you’ll probably notice these mud tubes near the bottoms of the walls.
- Clicking noises in the walls: soldier termites remain hidden within your walls as they work, but you may be able to hear them if you listen closely.
- Tightness around doors and windows: when your windows and doors give you trouble opening and closing, this could be an indication of damage to the frames caused by termites. This tightness can occur even if the termites don’t directly damage the frames themselves.
If you fail to recognize these signs, allowing termites to work unimpeded for months on end, it could cost you severely. However, if you do notice the signs and you try to get rid of termites yourself, it could still cost you (since home remedies rarely take care of an entire infestation). Termite eradication is always a job for a professional pest technician.
Proper Prevention Strategies
If you let Termite Awareness Week pass you by without finding out how to keep termites off of your property for good, then you’re opening yourself up to unnecessary risk. As the weather warms, you’ll want to make your home less attractive to swarmers by limiting the number of outdoor lights you have on, as this is one of the main attractants.
However, since swarmers don’t fly well, they usually don’t swarm far from their original nesting area. When termites create a nest, they’ll do so in moist soil since their chances of finding their favorite food (moist, rotting wood) nearby is much higher. That’s why controlling moisture issues in the yard and in the house are essential to avoiding a termite infestation. The best ways to limit moisture buildup include:
- Regular lawn maintenance
- Ventilating basements and crawlspaces
- Monitoring pipes for leaks
- Expelling rain runoff with gutters and downspouts
- Using dehumidifiers in the house
Along with managing moisture issues, you should also limit accessibility by storing firewood away from your house, reducing clutter in the yard, and placing a non-wooden barrier around the bottom of your house (using pine straw, gravel, or rubber mulch).
While these methods can be effective, you can’t consider yourself fully protected from termites without professional protection. If you’re worried about a potential infestation, or you think your home might attract swarmers this termite season, it’s time to call the pros. Call Romney Pest Control to schedule your termite inspection today.