Termites are a big problem. The National Pest Management Association estimates they cause more than $5 billion worth of damage each year, including structural damage so severe it can make a home unsafe. Termites eat wood floors, walls, ceilings, doors, cabinets, trim, and furniture. You often don’t know you have them until it’s too late. And homeowners insurance policies don’t cover the damage they cause.
It’s important to know how to spot the signs of trouble and stop termites from infesting your home!
What are the signs of termite problems?
- Swarms of bugs. Termites swarm spring to fall and look like flying ants. Swarms happen when colonies get too big, which means you have termites close by when you see one.
- Piles of wings. These pests shed their wings when they are done swarming. Piles of insect wings around windows and other places are a sign of termites.
- White ants. Once termites drop their wings, they often look like pale ants with big heads and long fat bodies.
- Munching noises. Termites are loud eaters. If you press your ear to a wall, you might hear them chomping on your home.
- Hollow-sounding wood. Because termites eat wood from the inside out, you can often hear damage before you see it. Knock on wood and listen for a hollow sound.
- Sagging floors, cracked walls. Since these voracious pests eat the wood structure of your house, you might see evidence of the damage in your floors and walls.
- Mud tubes and tunnels. Some termites build mud tunnels near the foundation of houses. Mud tubes are a sign of trouble.
- Maze patterns. Some termites create what look like mazes as they eat their way through wood.
- Damage to decks and fences. If wood structures outside your house have termite damage, you may have termites inside too.
How do you prevent termite damage?
Think about getting a professional to inspect your home and hire a reliable exterminator to treat the termites when you find them. Also follow these practical steps!
- Protect your foundation. Termites usually get into your house through the foundation. Keep concrete and masonry foundations in good repair, and fix cracks termites can use to enter your home. You can install physical and chemical barriers too.
- Don’t store wood near your house. Firewood, lumber, wood debris, cardboard, paper, wood chips, and mulch are all food termites like. Keep them away from your house.
- Keep the soil dry. Termites like moist soil. Maintaining gutters and downspouts, grading lawns so water flows away from your home, and minimizing shrubbery and landscaping close to your exterior walls will help discourage them.
- Watch out for leaks and humidity. Termites like moisture inside your house too. Fix leaks from all sources and reduce the humidity in your home, particularly in crawl spaces.
How much does fixing a termite problem cost?
Homeowners often pay between $200 and $900 for a professional to manage their termite problem according to Home Advisor. If you need a tent to treat your entire home, the cost can run between $1,200 and $2,500.
The cost of repairing the damage caused by termites varies widely. If you have structural problems, you might have to pay the bill to fix your house out your pocket because most insurance policies do not cover termites.