Are Termites Enjoying Your Roof?

Winged TermitesTermite is a term that makes every homeowner shudder.

Images of little bugs eating and destroying the wood in your home are conjured up, chills run up and down your spine and fear and dread surface.

The idea of termites attacking your home is frightening.

Their prime targets are the studs in your walls and the trusses in your roof.


Fight termites by understanding them

There are 3 types of termites that attack American homes:

  • Subterranean – These termites cause about 95% of all the damage found in the United States, and they attack homes as far north as the Canadian border.
  • Drywood Termites – They attack structures in a narrow band from Florida to California.
  • Dampwood Termites – These are the plague of the Pacific NW.

Typically termites begin swarming at various times of year, depending on the species and the area of the county. Dampwood termites are commonly found in cool, humid areas and search out water soaked wood to nest in.

Termites live in colonies, which is why they can do so much damage. They are flying insects with bodies that resemble ants and longTermite Damage thin wings. At a certain stage before mating they shed their wings. So when termites are present, you may find piles of wings.

3 Ways to detect termites in your home:

  • Presence of swarmers – These are the winged termites that show up in the spring, drop their wings and begin mating to start new colonies.
  • Mud tubes – If you see mud tubes from the ground to your home, this could be a sign that termites are traveling from their underground dwelling into your home.
  • Wood Destruction – Because termites destroy wood from the inside out, early detection is difficult. Sometimes the wood veneer cracks and the tunnels inside become visible to the naked eye, and infestation finally becomes apparent.

Tips for reducing termite risk:

  • Keep the wooden parts of your home at least 6″ above the soil.
  • Minimize wood mulch around the foundation of the home.
  • Remove dead trees or stumps from near the home.
  • Do not store firewood next to the home.
  • Do not build flower planters against the home.

If you think you might have termites, don’t wait, call a professional to come and assess the situation.

**originally published 3/15/10

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