Termites are tiny bugs that can do enormous damage to your home and property if left to their own devices. Because termites tend to attack wood from the inside out, it can be hard to tell whether you have them. That means they are likely to cause extensive damage before you even know they are there. However, some detective work can help you discover if your home is being invaded by terrible termites. Here are a few things to look for and what to do when you discover the creepy critters.
Termite Warning Signs
Termites live in large nests, and they often leave clues of their presence around your property. Take a walk around your yard and home's foundation while keeping your eyes open for these signs.
- Check spider webs for termites that are likely to get caught up in them and saved for an upcoming meal.
- Look around the base of your house for small tubes that resemble tiny brown straws. Termites build these tubes to travel from their food source, the wood in your home, to their nests.
- Look for spaces or cracks in concrete structures that have been oddly filled in with dirt. Termites will often seal their nests to keep moisture inside.
- Knock on wood in your home to determine if it is hollow. If some wood in your home sounds more hollow than other wood, termites could be the reason why.
- Check your window wells for discarded termite wings and termite poop, called frass. It looks like black dust.
- Look for a large cloud of termites swarming in spring. This is when young termites fly out from the nest in search of food. Track the source of the swarm, and you will find the termites' nest.
There are several ways to fight termites if you believe they are attacking your home or property. You can begin by taking these steps on your own.
Take Infested Furniture Outside
Termites cannot live in direct sunlight. If you believe you have termites in your furniture take it outside and let it soak in the sun.
You can eliminate a small group of termites by spraying them with vinegar. Be sure to completely moisten the entire areas where you have seen the termites, or spray down the nest. Some people like to try this method first because it does not involve chemicals.
Set Bait Traps
You can buy commercial termite bait traps, or you can try making your own. To create bait traps, spray pieces of wood with water and then add boric acid. The boric acid will become attached to the termites' legs, and they will carry it back to the nest where it will eventually kill the entire colony.
Invest in Nematodes
Take your termite fight to the next level by purchasing some tiny worms called nematodes. You can find these little creatures at garden supply stores. Spray them onto areas where termites gather, especially on and around the nest. The nematodes burrow into and kill the termite larvae, and the colony dies out.
Website Organic Gardening suggests that nematodes can be useful in the garden by killing other pesky insects and by helping to decompose materials in a compost bin.
Call the Professionals
The most effective way to handle a termite problem is to call in the people who deal with termites every day. A professional exterminator, like one Paramount Exterminating Co, will be able to test your home for termites and then use the right chemicals in the right places to solve the problem.
Termites are nasty, destructive bugs, but there are steps you can take to prevent and control them once you have discovered them in and around your property.