Can Termites Affect the Value of Your Home?

Written by Linda Carter Posted On Friday, 10 July 2020 06:10

Termites are one of the most destructive insects in the world. They live in colonies either below or above the ground. Different types of termites prefer different types of nests, but one thing they all have in common is an appetite for wood.

The vast majority of termite species live in the wild. However, some are notorious for terrorizing homeowners. The main culprits are subterranean, Formosan, and dry wood termites. These termites consume everything wooden, including the foundation, floors, and even your furniture.

If left uncontrolled, termites can drive the value of your home to the ground. Data from the National Pest Management Association indicates that termites cause damage worth $5 billion yearly. This article looks at the potential damage these insects can do to your home and how to keep them at bay.

How to spot termites

The success of controlling termites hinges on how soon you detect an infestation. Make regular checks around your house to prevent costly termite damage. Here are some signs that you might have these unwanted guests.

Mud tubes

Subterranean termites construct tubes to connect to their food source. The purpose of these mud tubes is to protect them from predators and to retain moisture. You’ll most likely spot these tubes close to the foundation of your home.

Hollow wood

Drywood termites like to consume wood from the inside. This leaves a hollowed-out wood, or sometimes, just the paint. You can discover this by gently tapping the wall or timber. If it sounds hollow or feels papery, then you probably have a termite problem.

Clicking sounds

A termite colony is a well-oiled machine. Just like bees, each termite performs a specific role. Soldier termites are responsible for defending the territory. When they sense danger, they bang their heads against the wood. This creates a clicking sound that warns the rest. Listen for any sounds coming from your wall.

Discarded wings

When a termite colony matures, swarms fly out and leave the nest to mate. They eventually create their colonies. Their wings are usually shed soon after flying out. So if you see any wings on basement windows, then it’s time to call in some help.

Frass

The term “frass” refers to termite droppings. As dry wood termites eat the wood, they leave their excrement behind. However, termites like to keep their workspace clean, so they create a hole in the wood to remove the droppings. This creates mounds of wood pellets resembling sawdust or coffee dust. Be on the lookout for these mounds around the house.

How to get rid of termites

Once you discover that you have a termite problem, it's time to go to war. The sooner you start the extermination, the less damage your house will sustain. You can decide to take on the challenge yourself or call in an expert. However, chemical termite treatments are dangerous and should only be carried out by professionals like Moxie Pest Control. Here are some standard termite control methods.

Liquid barrier

This method is useful for killing termites and deterring any future infestations. The barrier is usually made of a liquid chemical that kills insects on contact. To apply it, dilute the solution and transfer the mixture to a sprayer. You can then dig a shallow trench around the foundation and spray the liquid barrier.

Poison Bait

Poison bait is an alternative for those who aren’t comfortable spraying chemicals around their home. This bait is designed to be consumed by foraging insects that then get infected and spread it to their colonies. Killing stakes are easily installed around the perimeter of your house. The stakes should be inspected and replaced regularly.

Direct spray

Both liquid barriers and poison baits can only be used outdoors. They’re useless when you come across an infested crevice indoors. For such situations, you have to spray a chemical directly onto the termites. These types of pesticides come in cans with a nozzle for precision. You point the nozzles towards the area in question and spray.

Boric acid

Boric acid is the perfect compromise for those looking for a pest control method that’s effective, but not as toxic. It works by affecting termites’ digestive systems. It's commonly available in powder form. The powder is dissolved in warm water and sprayed on infested surfaces.

Natural termite control

Apart from using chemicals, termites can be controlled using natural agents. One way of getting rid of termites is by using nematodes. These are microscopic roundworms that feed on insects like termites.

Alternatively, you can also use diatoms. These are fossil remains of microorganisms made of silica. They slice off the protective exoskeleton, leaving the termites exposed to dehydration. Both nematodes and diatoms are a great way to control termites in your garden during the summer.

Parting shot

Hopefully, this article helps you fight termites and keep them at bay. The cost of termite treatment is nothing compared to the potential structural and aesthetic damage they can cause. Termite infestation does not only reduce the value of your home, but it also makes it unsafe for your family.

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