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A typical homeowner's
insurance policy does not cover destruction caused by termites, even though
they cause over 1 billion dollars in damage to homes throughout the United States
each year. Itís important that homeowners understand the threat of termites,
and take the necessary steps to protect their homes.
Why should you worry?
Subterranean termites are
extremely destructive. First they build
tunnels to wooden structures, and then they burrow into those structures to
obtain food. Any wood or
cellulose-containing material constitutes termite food, and given time to do
so, theyíll eat until nothing is left but a shell.
How do you know you have a termite problem?
You canít assume your home is
termite-free just because youíve never seen them Ė they only swarm once or
twice a year, and you might miss it!
Youíre more likely to
discover you have a termite problem by discovering the evidence they leave
behind. If you encounter any of these signs, thereís a good chance termites are
invading your home right now:
Mud tubes built for traveling above ground
Damaged or hollow-sounding wood
Pinholes in drywall or wallpaper
Small piles of sawdust
Piles of small wings
Of course, itís possible
youíll miss every one of these signs as well Ė termites avoid light and air, so
they build their colonies where youíre not likely to stumble upon them. The very best way to be sure you donít have
termites is to contact a licensed pest control professional to conduct a
thorough inspection of your home.
Is it a termite or an ant?
On the off chance you do see
them, remember that itís easy to confuse termites with ants. Fortunately, there are features that distinguish
two sets of wings (one wing is longer than the
two sets of wings (same size)
How can I get rid of them?
With normal household pests,
you can spray insecticides on them, poison their food, or buy a cat to scare
them off. None of these methods work
with termites Ė you need to have a trained professional put down a chemical
soil treatment that works as a barrier, and that barrier has to be renewed
periodically. Fortunately, itís a fairly inexpensive treatment. It is certainly much less expensive than
letting the termites eat your home!