Spring finally got to the Lower Hudson Valley, although with the snow that came with it, it didn't feel too "springy." Unfortunately, another springtime visitor is the termite, which comes out to mate in swarms when temperatures rise. Termite infestations can present a serious problem when found during an inspection. Buyers can and often do back out of deals when the word "termite" shows up on the inspection report. So it's a good idea for homeowners to take some actions to help prevent these destructive bugs.
Basically, home owners can take away their food and water.
Making your home a less attractive target is probably the easiest way to avoid termite problems. Termites need easily available food and water to live, and if you don't have it but the house next door does, guess where the little buggers are going to end up.
Look around the outside of your house to spot water sources. Common ones are leaks, from outside faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units. Also contributing moisture sources are blocked gutters and downspouts, standing water on roofs, and plant and mulch cover. Keep all your vents clear and open, and seal entry points around water or utility lines.
Removing food sources
Termites are detritivores, or detritus feeders. When humans aren't around, they live on buried dead plants and trees, and do quite a nice job of getting rid of fallen trees and debris in the forest. Unfortunately, they eat any kind of cellulose substances, and when humans ARE around, this includes not only home foundations, but furniture, shelves, and even books.
Keep piles of firewood a safe distance from your house. This also applies to piles of lumber or even paper near your foundation or crawlspace. Clean up stumps and any kind of dead plant growth near your house. Put screens on outdoor vents and be sure the wooden parts of your house do not come in contact with soil. Finally, check decks and wooden fences for damage on a regular basis.
Drywood termites live within the wood they consume and oftentimes infest walls and furniture. Spring is an especially good time to spot them because of their swarming activity. When a colony has matured, winged, swarming termites can be seen around windows and doors. Winged termites are highly attracted to sources of light and are most active in springtime. After mating, these termites locate a new breeding site and create another colony, spreading infestations throughout multiple locations.
What to look for now
In spring, swarms of winged insects in yoru home or from the soil around the house are a first sign. Ongoing signs are cracked or bubbling paint or "frass," (termite droppings), wood that sounds hollow when tapped, and mud tubes on exterior walls, beans or in crawl-spaces. You may even see the discarded wings of the swarming termites. If you do, call aprofessional exterminator to inspect and eliminate any nests.
Keep an eye out for termite swarms and the other warning signs this spring and you may be able to spot and treat an existing termite problem before it does too much damage.
Peace of Mind Home Inspection Services