Termites are a menace to home everywhere. Unfortunately, because they go unseen, the full extent of the damage they cause can go hidden for months or even years. By the time you know about the infestation, you could be looking at some very costly repairs.
Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself...
Know What to Look For
Termite damage can take many forms, so the first step toward keeping your home safe is to know what to look for. While the majority of damage will be out of view. Termites prefer wood, but will will happily chew into books, insulation, pool liners, and filtration systems; luckily, while the extent of damage can be hard to determine on the surface, there are some warning signs.
One of the most common external indicators are mud tubes, which the termites use to move back and forth from the colony to the foraging area. These are generally about the diameter of a pencil and can be found on walls, support columns, window sills, floor joists, and virtually any other area of the house that presents an entry point.
Likewise, be on the lookout for buckling paint or tiny holes in the wood, as these can indicate that termites are tunnelling inside. Wood may appear crushed at structural bearing wood, and the damaged wood will emit a dull thud when tapped, indicating that it's hollow.
In addition to the above signs of damage, during the spring as the temperatures rise, watch out for swarms of flying termites, or the wings they leave behind. Termite kings and queens grow wings and perform mating flights once they mature, but if these reproductive termites are found indoors, the infestation is likely severe.
Repair the Damage
Once damage has been identified, it's time to set about repairing it. Luckily, while their subterranean nature makes it difficult to identify an infestation before damage has been done, most homes can be saved in time so long as the homeowner is vigilant and proactive.
Once damaged wood has been found, you are generally left with two options: remove it and replace it with new wood, or attach a piece of new wood to the old one as a means of support. Generally, the support method is cheaper and may be preferred except in cases where the original piece is too badly damaged, outwardly visible, or without room for a support.
Unfortunately, as a homeowner, you probably won't have the equipment or expertise to properly repair all of the damage present, particularly structural damage to integral parts of the home such as the roof, floor, and load-bearing walls. While do-it-yourself methods can go a long way, if you want to fully repair the damage, you'll ultimately need to...
Speak With a Professional
Don't face your termite problem alone. A professional will know how to repair damaged areas more effectively than the average homeowner, and will also be able to apply an effective pesticide barrier that can keep them from ever coming back.
So where do you start? For more information about what hiring a pest control professional to eliminate your termite problem, check out our blog on the What Georgia Homeowners Need to Know About Termites.
If you're a homeowner worried about keeping your property safe from termite invaders, check out our free informative Ebook, The Lifecycle of a Termite Colony, for more information about termites, warnings signs to look for, and ways you can take back your home.