If termites invade a house, the harm they do may be considerable. One colony can destroy up to a thousand pounds of wood in a year, depending on species and the number of bugs. There are lots of issues to worry about: wasteful property damage, unaesthetic look of ruptured structures, possible break of wooden beams and other supporting constructions. Termites do not just eat wood: they destroy it from the inside, which is potentially dangerous for a house and its dwellers.
How to identify the pests? This article will show you the signs of termite damage.
Subterranean Termite Damage Pictures
This species is known to be especially aggressive in Africa where they create huge mounds. In North America, their presence is hard to identify before infestation is fully-fledged. When they invade dwelling, inhabitants may observe:
- Swollen wood, ceiling and floor.
- Mazes within walls and other surfaces (also causes swelling and visible breaks).
- Mud tunnels near home foundation.
All that can be accompanies by the smell of mold typical of termites’ nests. In general, damage caused by this species reminds of termite damage from water.
Drywood Termite Damage
These bugs live in wooden structures inside house and can be found in beams, floorboards, furniture and inside walls. Harm done by them becomes evident when they rupture considerable part of a piece, making maze tunnels and causing cracking:
Even if you can’t see insects, it doesn’t mean they are absent. To perform ample research, try the following things:
- Tap wooden structures (for instance, using a screwdriver). If you hear hollow sound, it means that the object was damaged inside – apparently, bugs have eaten tunnels. Go professional, and buy a stethoscope: press to walls, and, probably, you will be able to hear carpenter ants rustle as they move inside structures.
- What if your house is made of concrete? Then cracks may be clear evidence of termite damage. Although bugs cannot eat through bricks, they are capable of making cracks to get into a place. The more they use this hidden enter, the wider crack becomes.
- In many cases, presence of pests is revealed during summertime, because flying species mate and shed wings when nuptial flight is over. If you see small piles of wings having equal size, they must belong to termites.
Fixing Termite Damage
Then you are to check walls, wooden beams, floor boards, furniture and other places that were infested by insects: if wood has completely rotten, or hollowed out considerably, it must be replaced. It is especially simple, if deck-like structures are affected. You may either repair them on your own, or call a contractor. More complicated structures should be better treated by professionals.
What about repairing termite damage that is not too serious? If there are a few holes and cracks you may eliminate them with the help of a filler or hardener. When making a solution try not to make bubbles, and apply a spatula to put the mixture in. Note: filler works well for deep long holes, while hardener is better to be used for huge gaps.
If your furniture was damages, it is more likely has to be replaces: insects destroy thin and small wooden parts rapidly. Laminated floor boards and particle boards are also eaten away quickly.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?
Unfortunately, this kind of damage is not covered by vast majority of insurance companies. Some of them especially exclude this point from contract, because it is widely known that termites may spoil a lot of property during a relatively short period of time. Thus, it is in your interest to perform pest inspection before buying a house, and organize regular examinations from time to time.
How to Prevent Termite Damage?
To avoid turning your house into home for pests, stick to the following measures:
- Remove stumps and decaying wood from areas adjacent to your house. If you have firewood, store it as far as possible from your dwelling. When taking it home, check for holes and other signs of termite damage.
- When building constructions, use treated wood, because chemicals contained in it can deter insects.
- Organize regular inspections of your house. Most common entry points for pests are house frame, support beams, etc. Look for cracks in them, and use repellents to keep bugs at the bay.
- Try not to spread mulch near your house. It contributes to water gathering in soil and created beneficial conditions for insects. Besides, shrubs located too close to walls also help bugs to hide.
- Use metal shields when constructing a house. They prevent insect invasion by dividing foundation and walls.
Knowing these termite damage signs you will be able to identify their presence simply. Don’t forget to check your house from time to time, and pests won’t spoil your life and your dwelling.
I greatly appreciate you mentioning firewood care as part of your termite damage prevention tips. This is because we’ve been planning to have a family holiday vacation at my brother’s place since he has a very elaborate fireplace we can sit by, but this made me remember that he’s been having some pest trouble lately. Once I get into contact with him again, I’ll make sure we get a pest control service to eliminate any potential termites that might be at his house first before storing the firewood we’ll use properly in a safe place.
Your advisory about hollow wood and how to check for it when inspecting termite damage was really helpful. This reminds me of the time I visited my uncle’s house and found some of the floors to be oddly noisier than other parts of the house, so his house could be at risk of an infestation. I’ll get a pest control service to stop by that house and help him with some extermination right away.