Often referred to as “silent destroyers,” termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage every year . Unfortunately, most standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover these costs, because the damages could have been prevented with regular home maintenance. This leads to a huge question. If termites are able to do so much damage without drawing attention to themselves, how are you supposed to stop them?
To help you, we’ve created a list of signs that termites are invading your home. We’ve also provided a list of tips to help you ward them off.
Signs of Termites
Some of the most easily missed signs of termites include:
- The presence of sawdust-like piles around cracks in the woodwork or around windowsills
- Noticing what appears to be a collection of dirt in the corners of your home or around the base of the walls
- The appearance of termite droppings (similar to small pellets) around your home’s foundation or in the corners of your basement
- Increased insect swarms around your foundation, particularly during mating season in the fall and spring
- The presence of small piles of discarded wings, which termites drop after mating
- Walls that sound hollow
- Wood that appears to have ripples or is weak to the touch and easily broken
- Hearing a quiet clicking sound coming from your walls
- Doors and windows that are increasingly tight fitting and hard to open. This results from the moisture produced by the termite when he eats and tunnels through the wood
- Paint that has bubbled or cracked
- Swollen floors
How to Ward off Termites
To discourage termites from invading your home, you’ll need to have a pest control plan in place. In addition to enlisting the regular services of a pest control professional, you may also want to do the following:
- Invest in plants that repel termites, such as vetiver grass and catnip. Both have been shown to deter termites from using your home as a food source .
- Take care of any leaks, which often serve as a homing beacon for termites.
- Ensure good air flow through your home to prevent the buildup of moisture that attracts termites and encourages them to build a colony.
- Clean out your gutters because when they become clogged, termites are drawn to this water source, which is directly attached to your foundation.
- Get rid of any mulch surrounding your home. It attracts termites and maintains moisture that they do not want to leave.
- Treat your home’s wood using a product that has been shown to repel termites and other insects.
- Maintain your lawn to prevent wandering roots, unkempt stumps, neglected mulch, and areas that poorly drain. Not only are these all things that termites flock to, but they also create ideal conditions for breeding.
- Expose them to direct sunlight. If you notice the appearance of termites, expose them. When they are exposed to UV rays for extended periods, they will die off.
- Invest in orange oil. Orange oil contains D-limonene, a chemical compound that kills termites. If you have identified a specific area where termites are living in your home, drill holes into the wood around it and spray the orange oil inside.
- Don’t allow termites to take over your home. Always be on the lookout for them, while also taking measures to discourage their presence and eradicating any that may already be there.