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When it comes to your home there are a few things that can cause massive damage and make you shell out for costly repairs, chief among these is the termite and their destructive tendencies. These small little bugs are barely worth noticing in terms of size, but in terms of damage they have the ability to level an entire house. With fast breeding speeds, an ability to go unseen for long periods of time, and an appetite for all things wooden, they are one of the most destructive problems that any home owner can face.
The biggest problem with termites is their ability to cause large scale structural damage, this is particularly true in homes made of wood or with wooden support beams. Since more homes made in this fashion are quite a bit older, this means that classical and historical properties are often at great risk from these small bugs as well. Even if you don't live in a house made of wood, you may be at risk for an infestation to occur. This is because termites will eat supports, wooden pieces in walls, cabinets, fixtures, and anything that they can get their little mouths around.
The first signs of a termite infection actually look a lot like minor water damage, only the damage from termites at this point is anything but minor. You may see wood that looks buckled or strained, ceilings with spots that look like minor water damage, and even swells of bumps in wooden floors. You may also notice strange maze like scratched in floors or furniture as well. At this point the termite infestation is full blown and they have likely caused structural damage and made it necessary for costly repairs to be performed.
Termites don't really make a sound, while television makes it seem like they do, termites are not loud buzzing insects that can be heard. Instead these are small silent bugs, much like fleas or nits, that can go unnoticed for months or even years. Even the smell that they give off seems like something that would come from mold or mildew rather than a bug. This makes them incredibly hard to notice until it is too late to do anything about the damage they have already caused. By the time you can see a termite they have done at least several months worth of damage.
Some types of termites do not actually live in the home, but make their burrows on the outside of homes. This is why looking for their tunnels on the outside of your home is important to do on a regular basis. Their tunnels can look similar to ant tunnels but there will be no ants in them and they look like they are made with mud rather than dry sandy earth. Seeing one of these tunnels is a sure sign that it is time to call the exterminator and go over your options to protect your home from these pests.
As you can now see, preventing termites from ever entering the house is going to be the best chance you have of ensuring that your home and furniture go undamaged. Because of their inability to be detected and the speed at which they spread, an infestation of termites is going to be difficult to control, but a home that is regularly checked for termites and treated appropriately should have no problem getting a beginning infestation under control. The importance of keeping these little creatures out of your home cannot be stressed enough.
The best way to keep termites from entering the home is treating the soil around the foundation and the foundation itself with a chemical barrier against the pests. This barrier will need to be re-applied on a somewhat regular basis but will ensure that any termites coming into contact with the home will die almost instantly. These barrier methods are available from most pest control companies and their periods of effectiveness vary so it is important to talk with the company to set up a prevention schedule. Any good pest control company will know how to deal with termite damage and how to prevent the bugs responsible from spreading around the rest of your home.
There are also steps you can take when building a home or remodeling your home. Putting down a concrete slab with a termite deterring mesh before laying down your foundation can help prevent the tiny bugs from entering your home. This method is not a way around using chemical methods but an extra level of protection that can be adding during the building process or when remodeling a home. This is also the reason that cracks in the foundation, siding, or any slabs should be repaired right away rather than waiting for a time that seems more convenient.
You can also take steps to keep termites from coming near your home as well. Make sure that you keep all wood, mulch, or wood products away from the sides of your house. If you are going to use firewood make sure that it has been treated and that you keep it away from your home, the few extra steps to bring in more wood is worth the effort if it keeps termites away from the home. Do no install untreated or protected wood on your home as it may provide a way for the pests to find their way into the home.
If termites are already in your home (and they probably are), they must be treated for. The best way to kill all termites for sure is to fumigate your home. Some people might think orange oil is the green way to go. Many people don't realize that orange oil is actually derived from crude oil. So, it's not as green as someone might think. And, the chemical in fumigation gas is actually put on newborn babies eyes. When you tent a house and fumigate it, it kills all termites. Drywood termites live in the structural part of the house. Subteranean termites eat your house, but live in the soil. So, after a fumigation, you need to treat the soil also if you have subteranean termites to kill (and keep killing) the colonies of termites living in the ground.
Overall preventing them from entering your home is the best way to prevent termite damage. One they have made their way into your home it can be almost impossible to catch them before they cause major damage. The bill for damage to your foundation, supports, walls, floors, and fixtures can run into the hundreds of thousands, possibly bankrupting you and ruining the value of your home. With good prevention and careful attention to your details around the home you can prevent these small creatures from taking over your life and ruining your beautiful home.