Keeping Up With Termite and Pest Inspection: Here’s What You Need to Know
How to Keep Your Home Protected From Termite Damage
Owning a home is a rewarding experience and a sound financial investment, but it also comes with a lot of extra responsibilities. For starters, a homeowner is responsible for maintaining their home and doing what it takes to protect it from damage, as much and as often as possible. Every new homeowner soon learns that with the benefits of owning a home also come with repairs, general maintenance and upkeep, as well as home improvements.
On that list of to-dos, it is not uncommon for pest control to fall to the bottom, especially when no sign of an infestation is noticeable. But, damaging pests like termites often do their damage behind the scenes. Because of this, having your home inspected and treated for these wood-eating insects is not something you want to put off. Here’s what you need to know about keeping up with termite and pest inspections around your home.
Signs That You Should Have a Termite Inspection Done
If you are purchasing a home that has previously been treated for termites, then you should have it inspected before closing. Termites often return after being eradicated, so this is going to be something you want to know before you close on the house.
If you notice mud tubes in the ground around your home, then this could be a sign that termites are moving in. Termites use these subterranean tunnels to protect themselves from predators while on the move.
If you witnessed a termite swarm in your neighborhood, then this means termites are moving to your area because their food supply has run low. Termite swarms are most commonly seen in the spring and fall, but can happen at any time of year. Similarly, if your neighbor complains about having termites, then there is a strong possibility that you do too, so you will want to have your home inspected and treated.
If you notice wood damage in or around your home, then this is a sign that you might have a significant infestation. Termites eat wood from the inside-out, so once the it becomes noticeable the termites have already done a lot of damage.
How Long Do Termite Treatments Last?
Exterminators have two different options for tackling a termite infestation – liquid treatments and baiting stations. Liquid treatments are applied around the home and provide a few years’ worth of protection. Of course, liquid treatments won’t prevent termites from getting inside, but once the termites cross the treated area, they usually die off before they can do damage.
Baiting stations can protect your home from termites for up to a year. This system works by attracting foraging termites, which then take the toxic bait back to the colony. Once there, it starts killing off the colony as the termites ingest the bait.
How Often Should You Have Your Home Treated?
Regardless of whether your home is being treated for termites or not, it is recommended to have your home inspected for them every few years. If you are using an exterminator who uses baiting stations, you should expect the exterminator to return to your home periodically to check and/or refill the baiting stations.
Where you live and the density of termite infestations in that area will also factor in how often you should have your home inspected. Your exterminator will be able to provide you with area-specific information.
8 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Termites
Having regular inspections done is the most effective way to keep your home safe from termites, but it isn’t the only thing you can do to reduce your risk. Here are eight other things you can do to help minimize your risk of a termite infestation.
- Fix Plumbing Leaks – Termites proliferate in moist environments, especially when the wood itself is wet. Therefore immediately fixing any plumbing leaks is important for making your home less attractive to them.
- Avoid Mulching – Mulch is a wood product and because it is laden with moisture, it is particularly favored by termites. So, don’t use mulch in your beds. Use organic compost instead. Unlike mulch, the compost will feed your plants and flowers all season long.
- Seal Any Entry Points – Termites can enter your home through any tiny gap or crack in the foundation. Make sure you do a thorough inspection of your foundation and seal any potential entry points to help reduce the risk of them getting inside.
- Keep Shrubs Away From Your Home – While shrubs do add a bit of texture to your landscaping, you don’t want to plant any close to your home. Shrubs contain a lot of moisture, making them very attractive to termites.
- Store Wood in an Enclosed Space – Having a big pile of wood in your yard might seem normal, but if you live in a termite-prone area, then you will want to move that wood inside an enclosed space, like a shed. This will help keep the termites from infiltrating your wood pile.
- Keep the Humidity Level Low in Your Home – Your home’s HVAC system removes moisture from the air when you run the air conditioner, so if you live in a humid area, running your AC in the summer will help keep the interior of your home drier and less attractive to termites. Also, if you have a damp basement, you can keep a dehumidifier in the space to remove the moisture from the air down there as well.
- Remove Stagnant Water From Around Your Home – Stagnant water, which can often collect from clogged gutters and drains or poorly graded landscaping, attracts a lot of different types of pests, including termites. Therefore, you will want to get rid of any stagnant water sources as soon as you see them.
- Use Termite-Resistant Wood Where Necessary – If you want to have a raised flower bed but you don’t want to risk termites invading, you can build the project using wood that has been specifically treated to be resistant to termites. Of course, before using the wood, be sure learn more about the chemicals used to treat it to ensure you are comfortable with using these products.
The last thing you want to deal with as a new homeowner is a termite infestation because these little pests can cause a lot of damage. They not only put your home at risk, but they will also have a negative impact on your home’s value. Get your home inspected today and often!