What is a termite? A termite is best described as a wood destroying insect. They are sometimes are mistakenly referred to as white ants, but they are far from it. There are three different types of termites which are damp wood, dry wood, and subterranean. Damp wood termites generally tend to live in areas that are heavily forested, where as dry wood termites live in really dry wood and are much more rare in the United States. Subterranean are the most destructive of termites and they require a moist environment and are usually found living in the soil. Termites do an estimated five billion dollars in damage each year, but termites can be controlled.
Termites usually come out in early spring and can sometimes be seen as a swarm of what looks like flying ants. If you think your home may have become victim to a nest of termites here are some tell tale signs of an infestation. Soft wood is a good indication that you may have a termite problem. Another indication of a termite infestation is the presence of mud tubes around the exterior or interior of your house, most likely near the foundation. Dark or blistered wood structures may also be an indication of a termite problem. If you have any of these tell tale signs, you may want to call an exterminator to come check things out.
If you do have a termite problem you should not try to fix it on your own. Most of the time home owners cannot get rid of termites without professional help. Pest control teams have the proper chemicals and equipment to destroy termite infestations as safely as possible. They can also ensure that the problem truly is gone and all the termites are dead.
You can, however, take certain steps to help prevent the infestation of termites in your own home. The most important thing you need to do is remove the good conditions that termites love to find themselves living. The subterranean termites love moisture so try and avoid moisture build up around your home. Make sure all outside faucets are shut off tightly and are not dripping. If you can prevent the dripping then you can prevent the moisture build up that termites love. You can also prevent termites by making sure that your rain run off is properly sealed. If the gutter is uncluttered it will divert the water to the ground below where you should have a cement spot for the water to stay while it evaporates. This will also prevent the moisture that can gather near the foundation of your house.
If you own an older home make sure that any wood near the foundation of your home is replaced. There may have been previous infestations before you moved in and if you have the most updated equipment the less likely termites are to come find it. Another way to prevent termites is to have all tree stubs removed and make sure your bushes and any shrubbery is a good few feet away from your house.
Termites may seem like a big scary thing to deal with, but really they are not. If you can prevent them before they come then great, if not then get someone out as soon as you see some of the warning signs.