You’ve probably heard of termites, but do you know what signs to look for regarding termite activity before you buy a house? Are you aware that there are other insects that can literally destroy the structure of a home, such as carpenter ants? Termites are native to 49 states in the U.S. and cause more than five billion dollars in property damage a year. While there are ways to salvage a home after termite or carpenter ant invasion, it is far less costly to prevent or catch signs of trouble early.
Termites eat dead plants and trees, so they love wood in homes. They can also eat plastic, paper and even drywall. They love warm, dark places, such as crawlspaces and woodpiles.
Check For Moisture
It’s very important to notice the moisture of the ground around a home’s exterior. Is it constantly wet or boggy? If so, this is a sign that termites may be a problem, as they are attracted to moisture.
Check the gutters and downspouts on homes to see that they are present and working. This also assures that water is more likely to divert from the home instead of laying near the foundation, lowering the risk of termites.
Signs Of Termites
When looking for termite activity, look for wood damage (particularly small, 1 mm sized holes in wood, especially behind surfaces like walls and floors). You can also find termite holes in plaster or drywall.
Another key sign is small discarded insect wings near windows or doors. It is a myth that termites only seek residence in a home in the winter – they have high activity in all seasons.
Pencil-sized mud tubules in the ground near a home are another key indicator of termite invasion. While termites are a nuisance, they aren’t the only insect that can invade wood. Carpenter ants also invade wood – they are large ants with wings that don’t eat wood, but invade and hollow out wood to make nests.
Home Inspectors & Exterminators
If you suspect a home you own or are considering purchasing has experienced a problem with destructive insects, it is well worth hiring a home inspector or exterminator to investigate potential issues. It is far easier to prevent infestations or stop them when they are small than to deal with a large problem, which can be costly and time consuming.
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