Termites are annoying, wood-destroying insects whose presence dates back to the dinosaurs. The NPMA estimates that termites, those 24/7 eating machines, cause $5 billion in property damage each year, damage that happens pretty quickly!
There are three major kinds of termites in the United States, dampwood, drywood and subterranean. Dampwood termites are generally found in heavily forested areas and prefer wet wood. Drywood termites are more rare in the US, preferring extremely dry wood. Subterranean termites require moist environments, live mainly in the soil and are the most destructive species – the kind that damage homes with wet basements.
Termites are generally visible in the early spring and are often confused with flying ants. You’ll know if they have visited your home if you see the telltale signs of soft wood in the home, mud tubes near the foundation of your home or dark or blistering wood structures.
What can a homeowner do to prevent termites?
There are several steps a homeowner can take to help prevent termite infestations including reducing moisture in the walls, floor, and air of your home. Water should be diverted away from the home through the proper grading of the soil and functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Humidity in crawl spaces can cause problems as well so proper ventilation is important. Additionally, homeowners should trim all the vegetation around the home to prevent them from blocking vents. Termite treatment is rarely effective without a pest control professional so prevention is very important.
If you have a damp basement or crawl space with wood in it, you may be inviting these creatures in for dinner. Solving the problem of a wet basement or one with collecting water is another important step toward protecting the investment in your home. A basement waterproofing company can identify the problem(s) causing moisture in your basement and provide the solution to repair the problem and possibly make your home less attractive to termites.