Some home damage — flooding, plumbing issues, a broken heating system — is easy to spot. Other damage, like mold or poor insulation, can be more difficult to detect. Unfortunately, getting to the source of hard-to-identify home damage can take years and cost thousands if you don’t recognize key warning signs. This is especially true for a significant, but often overlooked, source of property damage: termite infestations.
Termites cost homeowners upward of $5 billion annually, invading more than 5 million homes each year. Thankfully, by learning to recognize the signs of “conducive conditions” — conditions that termites prefer when invading homes to look for food — you can address the problem before it grows.
Is the foundation of your home built with wood? Is there direct contact of soil, mulch and dirt with the wooden siding of your house? Any part of the home where wood and earth meet can act as an entry point for termites, creating easy access into your house. From there, termites can eat their way into your walls, floors, baseboards and attic, causing tens of thousands in structural damage.
“I’m not at risk for termites. My home is built on a slab of poured concrete.” Sound familiar? If your home is built on a cement foundation, you might still have termites. Over time, moisture develops cracks in concrete foundations, which termites can use as additional entry points into your home. Termites can crawl through cracks the width of a credit card — no crack is too small for determined colonies, which are constantly foraging for food 24/7, 365 days of the year.
Not only does moisture cause a host of other problems in homes, such as mold, warped walls and long-lasting structural damage, but also it acts as a haven for termites. Termites will flock to pockets of moisture in walls and will forage in and around other wet places, such as in bathrooms, in and around gutters, and by pools of stagnant water caused by poor home drainage.
Are you building a new fence, shed, deck or addition to your home? If so, termite prevention should be on your to-do list. Any area of the home that is renovated provides a fresh source of food for nearby termite colonies, which can travel up to 100 yards away — the length of a football field — in search for food!
Worse, home renovations often disturb soil, creating pockets of soft, moist earth around any newly constructed wood, which, as we’ve learned, are a one-way ticket for termite home entry.
Yes, the old maple tree in front of your living room window is equal parts beautiful and historic. But did you know it might be a sign of termites? Tree roots can grow 20 feet or more from the base of the trunk, often penetrating the foundation beneath your home and providing termites with a way inside. The closer the tree, the more likely there may be a root path into your home.
Above all, this is the greatest conducive condition for termites: a lack of preventative treatment to keep colonies at bay. The truth is that, while some homes are more prone to infestation than others, termites live in every state except for Alaska — meaning almost every single home in America is at risk. Chances are high that if termites discover your home, they will find a way inside unless your home is properly protected.
You now know that termites can invade your home and cause permanent damage. Fortunately, protecting your property on the front end can save you hundreds, if not thousands, before costly and potentially irreversible damage is done. Armed with this knowledge, now is the time to protect yourself from termites by calling in an expert.
Your local Certified Sentricon Specialist® can perform a home inspection that will show you all the conducive conditions you know and the ones you don’t. Contact a termite technician today and put together a plan to keep termites away from your most important investment — your home — for good.