Termite Control in the Home
Wood-destroying insects and other organisms can cause serious problems in the wooden structural components of a house, and may go undetected for a long period of time.
Appraisers are to observe all areas of the house and other structures/areas within the legal boundaries of the property that have potential for infestation by termites and other wood-destroying organisms, including the bottoms of exterior doors and frames, wood siding in contact with the ground, and crawlspaces. Mud tunnels running from the ground up the side of the house may indicate termite infestation. Observe the eaves and gable vents and wood window sills for indication of the entrance of swarming termites, and note excessive dampness or large areas where the vegetation is dead. Evidence of active termite infestation must be noted.
Subterranean termites are the most damaging insects of wood. Their presence is hard to notice, and damage usually is found before the termites are seen. Prevent infestations because if they occur, they will almost always need professional pest-control service.
Signs of Infestation
Generally, the first sign of infestation is the presence of swarming termites on the window or near indoor light. If they are found inside the house, it almost always means that they have infested. Other signs that may be found are termite wings on window sills or in cobwebs, and shelter tubes, which are tunnels constructed by the termites from soil or wood and debris. Usually, wood damage is not found at first, but when it is found, it definitely reveals a termite infestation. Anywhere wood touches soil is a possible entry into a home for termites.
Prevention Many termite problems can be prevented. The most important thing to do is to deny termites access to food (wood), moisture and shelter. Follow these suggestions:
- have at least a 2-inch clearance between the house and planter boxes, or soil-filled porches;
- eliminate all wood-to-soil contact, such as trellises, fence posts, stair casings and door facings (they can be put on masonry blocks or on treated wood);
- separate shrubbery from the house to help make it easier to inspect the foundation line;
- use wolmanized wood (pressure-treated wood) so that rain will not rot it;
- seal openings through the foundation;
- remove wood scraps and stumps from around the foundation;
- have at least 12 to 18 inches of clearance between floor beams and the soil underneath.
If you see the following signs in your house, you might have termites:
- sawdust-like droppings
- dirt or mud-like tubes or trails on the structure
- damaged wood members (like window sills)
- swarming winged insects within the structure, especially in the spring or fall
Read more in the EPA Citizens Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety