Thursday, April 24, 2014

Parenting Pointers: Termite Control

I recently had a chance to interview Stoy Hedges, entomologist with Terminix

, about termite control.

Q: How big of a risk are termites to homeowners?

A: Each year, termites cause 1 in 20 homeowners nationwide an average of $8,184 in property damage and repairs, according to internal Terminix research. That accounts for more than $5 billion in total property damages annually, according to the National Pest Management Association. Damage is rarely, if ever, covered by homeowner insurance policies.

Wood homes are at risk, but so are homes with brick, stucco, drywall, carpet backing and wallpaper--as those materials contain cellulose, a favorite food source of termites. Dubbed “the silent destroyer,” termites can eat away at a homeowner’s biggest investment 24 hours per day without them knowing it. In many areas, it’s not if you’re going to get termites, it’s when (they only need a crack to enter a home).

Q: What can property owners look out for if they're concerned about the possibility of termites?

A: Sometimes, termite damage is easy to identify by observing swarms, mud tunnels, damaged wood, excrement, or discarded wings. Other times, damage can be hidden, which is why it’s important to have annual inspections performed by knowledgeable and trained professionals.

During a swarm, winged termites leave their existing colony to mate and establish new colonies. Because swarming termites are often mistaken for flying ants, many homeowners don’t recognize these wings as the first sign of a termite infestation. But identifying winged termites can allow the homeowner to take action and alleviate a problem that may have otherwise remained unnoticed (colonies can be active for up to five years before damage is visible).

Termite swarm season typically takes place in the spring and is triggered by warm, moist conditions.  However, termites are active year-round with most damage taking place hidden within the walls, ceilings and substructure of a building.

Q: Prevention is the best way to help discourage termite invasions - how can homeowners work to lower the risk of termite activity?

A:            -      Fix roof and plumbing leaks. The moisture from these allows subterranean termites to survive above  
-          Clean and repair gutters. Gutters that do not drain properly can allow water to accumulate near the foundation.
-          Eliminate wood-to-soil contact. Any wood that simultaneously touches the soil and the home can provide termites with direct access into the structure. This includes storing firewood or other wood debris from being stacked against the side of the home.
-          Schedule an annual inspection with a trained professional. Early detection through regular inspections can save thousands of dollars in damage repair.

Q: Why is it important to use a professional instead of trying a DIY fix?

A: Terminix recently partnered with Harris Interactive in a survey that found 43% of homeowners think termites can be controlled using standard at-home, DIY treatments. Specialized tools and training are essential, however, to effectively treat termites and stop them from causing further damage to a home.

Remedial termite treatments are performed once active termite activity is confirmed.  Preventive treatment may be recommended when a home is believed to be at higher risk for termites with such factors including geographic region, moisture readings, a home’s age, condition and construction.


  1. Truly said! Termites are very dangerous for wood homes. They can eat away the homes 24 hours a day. We should hire best termite and pest control services for regular inspection. Only this way, we can save our homes from termite and pests.

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