A single termite doesn’t look dangerous or menacing, but a whole colony can inflict serious structural damage on a home in a fairly short period of time. Each year, termites cause about $5 billion in property damage, according to the National Pest Management Association, a BBB National Partner.
Termites are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew undetected through wood, flooring and even wallpaper. As the ground warms, termite populations emerge in search of mates and new structures to invade.
Better Business Bureau offers these tips from NPMA for preventing termites from wreaking havoc on your home. Here are four ways to avoid a termite infestation:
Repair and replace when necessary. Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units on the outside of the home. Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles. Replace weather stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
Keep it clear. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground. Direct water away from your house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.
Inspect, inspect, inspect. Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, doorframes and skirting boards for any noticeable changes.
Protect your investment. Not sure if you have termites? Consider a termite inspection from a qualified pest management company. NPMA recommends a termite inspection every 1-3 years, but half of homeowners they surveyed have never had their homes inspected.
For more information on termites and other household pests, visit Pestworld.org.