Some of the biggest household pests aren’t large in stature. Mice, ants, bees, and cockroaches can each be annoying and make messes in your kitchen and other areas, but perhaps no critter causes more alarm than termites. These insects have an insatiable appetite for wood, which does not bode well for your house, wood storage sheds, wooden garages, or other structures on your property. Learn how to avoid getting termites in your cottage.
Termites can cause significant damage to these buildings, making it unsafe for you and your family. A termite-infested home requires immediate attention and a phone call to professional exterminators. If you see signs of termites in your house or anywhere else on your property, don’t shrug off these sightings. Termites are a serious situation, but can be prevented with a little forethought when building your garden shed, tiny home or livestock shelter.
How to Detect Them
Termites come in many varieties, with around 50 species residing in the United States alone. They are white in color and can grow up to an inch long. Like ants, they live in colonies, which can be massive in number. Termites eat through plant matter such as woodchips and decayed logs. They prefer damp, dark areas and stay hidden throughout the day. It is not easy to spot termites, but they do leave signs of their presence.
You may detect that you have a termite problem at home by seeing their droppings or discarded wings. You may even hear a knocking sound in the walls of your home, as these insects bang their heads against the wood when they sense danger. Another clue that termites have infested your property is that you may see an indentation in wood, such as in 4×4 lumber, or notice that the surface appears thinner.
How They Attack Wood
Termites do not chew through wood from the outside inward. Instead, these pests start in the middle and eat their way out. Over time, the wood can become weaker and even hollowed out. You might even spot sawdust on the ground, which could indicate that termites are inside. Termites are also attracted to tree stumps, piles of leaves, and woodpiles near your home. A wooden barn is also tempting.
How to Avoid Foundation Damage
A common type of termite is the subterranean termite. These pests are particularly damaging and pose a significant threat to your home. They live underground but will find tiny gaps under the house and get inside through the foundation. Over months or years, termites can cause costly damage to the foundation, compromising the integrity of the structure. To avoid this we recommend upgrading to treated lumber for the floor system, and installing termite shields over your concrete blocks or piers when building up your foundation. They tend to avoid chemically treated lumber, and the termite shields create a barrier that they are not likely to cross.
How to Avoid Structural Damage
One of the biggest concerns of having termites is the threat they can pose to your home’s building materials. Termites may be inside your walls, floors, or ceiling for months or even years before you notice they have invaded your property. Over time, they can eat through wooden supports, the framing of walls, and even flooring. In doing so, these insects can do enough damage to structures to cause walls to fall and for ceilings and floors to collapse. Consider upgrading to any of our cedar siding and roofing options. Cedar naturally repels most bugs and other pests.
Damage in Other Areas
Termites may not directly damage belongings in your home, but their destruction of wood can. As termites cause the wood in your home to sag or weaken, the collapse or breaking of these materials can ruin carpet, furniture, electronics, and other materials. Termites may attack wooden doors, cabinets, tables, picture frames, or anything else made of wood, such as a wooden barn on your property.
You may even see termites in your carpet, a spot where these unwanted guests often give birth to young. Look for signs of this in the corners of the carpet against the walls.
The Financial Impact
A termite infestation may make it unsafe for you to stay in your home. There are also financial implications to consider. Repairing the damage that termites cause can be costly. In the U.S. residents spend up to $5 billion a year to get rid of termites and fix the problems they leave behind. In their wake, you may have to pay to reframe parts of your home, replace the sub-floor, put in new doorways, or reframe windows. These costs can add up quickly.
Bear in mind that your homeowner’s insurance likely does not cover termite damage. If you need to hire a professional to eliminate these pests, or if you have damage to your home, you will be responsible for covering the costs.
The last thing you want to discover in your home or your wooden garage is a termite infestation. Prepare for the possibility by using termite shields, treated lumber flooring options, and/or cedar siding and roofing to dissuade them from feeling invited into your home. These insects can invade your property in enormous colonies and cause severe damage to your home and belongings. The effects leave you in a difficult financial situation, and even render it unsafe or unwise to stay in the house. As you recognize the seriousness of these issues, you will know why you need to call a professional today.