Termites have earned the reputation of the “silent home killer,” as many home and building owners have no clue of their presence until after significant damage is done. In fact, termites cause billions of dollars in building damage each year. For these reasons, a termite infestation can be devastating for homeowners. If you don’t have any termite prevention techniques in place, we strongly advise that you check for termites and begin your prevention program as soon as possible. Preventing termites is much simpler than eliminating an existing infestation.
It’s best to have your home evaluated by a pest control professional when looking for termites. As these pests can be tricky to spot, a pest control professional has a trained eye for spotting key signs of a termite infestation. However, homeowners may have some luck checking on their own. There are some key warning signs to look for when checking for termites.
Check for termite signs such as:
- Weak wood that makes a hollow sound when tapped or knocked on
- A gritty brown-gray film seen on top of damaged wood
- Mud tubes, or thin tubes that run along exterior and interior foundation and walls
- Piles of tiny feces pellets that collect in areas where termites nest or eat
- Discarded wings that collect around doors and windows and resemble fish scales
Termites vs. Ants
Many individuals can confuse winged termites with winged ants. Both of these pests have two sets of wings. However, a termite’s two sets of wings are the same size, while a winged ant’s front wings are larger than the back wings. Additionally, a winged termite has straight antennae, while a winged ant has elbowed, or bent, antennae.
If a pest control professional has evaluated your home and given you the clear on a termite infestation, your next step is a termite prevention program. There are a number of effective termite prevention techniques, which is why it’s a good idea to have a professional suggest the best route specific to your home’s construction, location, and risks.
Some of the most effective techniques include, but are not limited to:
- Chemical barriers, which are typically composed of a barrier around the home that is formed by chemically-treated soil to kill invading termites
- Physical barriers, which may come in the form of stainless steel mesh or other materials between the home and the surrounding soil
- Baiting systems, which provide poisonous food that kill termites slowly, thus allowing time for termites to lead others to the food source before death