How to Detect Termites Early
Serving Louisiana & Mississippi
Could Your Home be at Risk for Termites?
Chomp, chomp, chomp. You would never be able to hear it, but at this very moment, thousands of termites could be eating away through your home – unseen and unknown until it’s too late. Termites are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. As a result of their stealth nature, termites cause $5 billion in property damage each year. Damage, which is typically not covered by homeowners’ insurance.
As the ground warms in spring, termites, much like every insect in nature, begin stirring and coming out of their overwintering spots in search of food. In the case of termites, they are looking for new structures to settle their million member colonies. Before a colony finds an appropriate structure, their search team will investigate available options.
Early Signs of Termite Damage
Most property owners already know that termites are something that they should fear, but until they start to see signs of damage the prospect of termites is often “out of sight and out of mind”. But if left unchecked, these insects can wreak havoc on a home or business by eating through the wood and causing thousands of dollars in damage.
The average homeowner does not need to be a termite control expert to spot problems. Simply by raising your awareness of the early signs of termite trouble, you can potentially spot termite damage as early as possible, before it becomes a significant and costly problem.
The following are 4 helpful tips that will help you so that you can spot damage from these villainous insects early:
Tip #1 – Knock on the Walls and Wood
Take a screwdriver and gently start tapping on your walls with the handle. Listen for hollow sounds in the wood. When termites are eating, they are going to create tunnels through the wood and in the walls. These tunnels, when tapped, are going to have a different sound from the solid wood, and it should be relatively easy for you to head.
You should make sure that you check through all of the different areas of your property from the bottom all the way up to the roof. In addition, if you have a garage or any types of outbuildings, you are going to want to check those as well.
Tip #2 – Look for Crumbling Wood
Another one of the signs that termites are starting to invade your home is crumbling wood. They dig through the wood and eat it, and that means they are going to leave quite a mess behind. Look for what appears to be sawdust near the base of the wood and on the floor. In addition, start looking for some gaps between the wood from where the insects might be eating.
Tip #3 – Watch for Mud Tubes
Mud tubes are another good indicator of what you want to look for when trying to identify a termite problem early. The insects use these tubes like roads, traveling from the main colony to your property. You should be able to see the holes and the tubes that lead away from your property and back to their colony.
Tip #4 – Look at the Trees on Your Property
In addition to looking at your home, you are also going to want to look at the plants and trees on your property. Termites are going to eat more than just your home. They eat wood and that can include trees. If you notice some of the trees in the area are dying, it could be because it has a termite infestation. They will sometimes eat through the trees before they start in on your house. If you notice a problem with the flora on your property, it could be a sign that termites are active.
If you notice any of the above signs, then you are going to want to make sure that you contact the professionals at Fischer Environmental as soon as possible for service anywhere along the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast from Gulfport / Biloxi to metro New Orleans, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes. Don’t let the termite problem get out of control.
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How to Identify Termites in Louisiana & Mississippi
Swarmers are winged young queen and king termites that show up inside homes in early spring and are typically the first sign of a termite problem. Because they can be mistaken for flying ants, many homeowners may dismiss them as such and leave a potential termite infestation untreated. Discarded wings near windowsills and doors signify that swarmers have already found their way in.
Termites are present in 70 percent of countries across the world and their population outnumbers human beings on a ratio of ten to one. The most common termite species found in the United States are subterranean termites, Formosan termites, dampwood termites, drywood termites.
- Subterranean termites live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas aboveground that can contain up to 2 million members. They build distinctive “mud tubes” to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air. Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species of termite as they eat 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This ravenous eating can severely compromise the structural stability of a home as they chew their way through important support beams.
- Formosan termites are found in Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and California. This species, originally from China, is the most voracious, aggressive and devious of termite species. Formosans are organized into massive underground colonies, building intricate mud nests inside the walls of a structure. Because of the size of their colonies and their aggressive nature, Formosan termites are difficult to control once they infest a structure.
- Dampwood termites are found along Pacific coastal and adjacent states, the desert or semi-arid southwest, and in southern Florida. Unlike subterranean termites, dampwood colonies do not forage in the soil and they require higher humidity and regular contact with water. Because of their specific water requirements, these termites are most often found in trees and structures that have direct water to wood contact, such as a leaky roof or wooden siding.
- Drywood termites are primarily found along the coastal areas from South Carolina westward to Texas and along the west coast of California. Unlike some other termite species, drywood termites infest dry wood such as attic framings and do not require contact with the soil. Because drywood termites form new colonies by gaining access to wood through small holes, seal all cracks and crevices in a structure.
Preventing Termite Damage
Regardless of the species, termites are destructive and can cost you lots of money in unexpected home repairs if left to their own devices. Here are a few tips to prevent termites from wreaking havoc on your home:
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units which are on the outside of the home.
- Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles.
- Replace weather stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches off the ground.
- Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
- Direct water away from your house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks.
- Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.
- Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, door frames and skirting boards for any noticeable changes.
How to Detect Termites Early In Louisiana & Mississippi
Serving all of SE Louisiana and Mississippi