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Termites in my house! Do you have termites in your home or office?
Considering how tiny they are, termites can create significant damage to your home in a short period of time. One way or another, they can get into homes and offices in the sneakiest way possible. Termites can invade your entire home just through a small space of 1/32nd of an inch. Now isn’t that alarming?
Termites travel not only within the household. It can come from your neighbours too. They can spread through underground passages and tunnels. So, even if your home is termite-free, you shouldn’t stay cool. Luckily, there are various preventive solutions that can be suitable for you. But before you do that, let’s get to know more about our target.
From their diet to their harmfulness, we have complied 6 pressing questions about termites to clear the air for you:
1. What are Termites?
If we are going to talk about its benefits, termites have a useful role in nature. They help to recycle wood to the soil as humus, to provide nutrients for plants and increase the ability of soil to retain water. But if we are going to consider how termites affect your daily life, it's completely the opposite. It damages not just the foundation of your home but also your furniture and other structures.
Also termed as ‘white ants’, termites are unrelated to ants, except in superficial appearance that characterises insects. There are two types of termites that can infest your place with: drywood and subterranean termites.
Drywood termites live in wood that has very low moisture content and they do not need direct contact with soil. They target movable wooden objects such as your furniture. Subterranean termites, on the other hand, build their nests underground and damaged wood and they accumulate soil or mud within the tunnels of the wood they are eating. They hang out mostly on the walls and its foundations.
2. What Do Termites Feed On?
We know wood keeps them alive, but a common misconception is that termites survive only on wood. Technically, termites primarily feed on cellulose, which is a component of wood. Thus, termites can also damage paper, books, and even insulation material in homes. These tiny critters also feed on detritus, which is waste matter resulting from dead leaves, plants and trees.
There are various ways of protecting your furniture from termites but it’s best to know what triggers their appetite. Subterranean termites are picky eaters. They only chew on the softest part of the wood found. While drywood termites eat across the grains, leaving galleries that don’t follow the grain of the wood. You’ll know if there are subterranean termites when neat, lined patterns with mud or dirt appear on your area. If there are faecal pellets on smooth galleries, most likely there are drywood termites around you.
3. Are Termites Harmful?
Termites are not known for carrying diseases that directly affects human, but they cause destructions to our surroundings that can be harmful for us. Moreover, insect faeces and saliva tend to trigger skin allergies and asthma in sensitive individuals. Thus, preventing termites has its personal health merits.
Furthermore, it decreases the sturdiness of your home. Termites can cause an unstable and dangerous place for a living, like falling damaged beams and collapsed ceilings. These things can be harmful to your health and safety.
If there are damages, there are expenses. Replacement of structural beams sometimes requires ripping out walls or ceilings, leading to extremely high repair costs. Secondly, your house may lose its value, making it an investment nightmare. Yet, these high costs can usually be avoided – but only if early termite treatment is implemented.
4. What are the Tell-tale Signs of Termite Presence?
It’s easy to spot if there are infestations around you. You should just know the difference between the two types of termites. Subterranean termites nest in the ground, while drywood termites nest inside the wood they are infesting. This means that there are varying points of attack on your property.
Subterranean termites make mud tubes to tunnel through the ground and invade your home. These tubes protect them from predators and dehydration. Drywood termites, on the other hand, don’t dig mud tubes, needing zero contact with soil. They infest your home by air and require less moisture.
Additionally, you can tap or knock on wooden areas with a screwdriver head. If the sound indicates a hollowed out or ‘papery’ structure, it is a strong sign of termite presence. This method is favoured because tunnels in wood are usually not visible on the exterior. However, if you manage to spot tunnelling in wood, it is a sure sign of termites.
5. What are the Most Effective Termite Treatments?
Depending on the size of your home, there are different ways of effectively treating termite infestation in your home. It’s best to start with a thorough inspection and detection for any presence of these pests within your household. Treating infestations vary on different types of termite species. Drywood foaming, baiting method and fumigation are among the most common effective solutions to kill not just the visible termites but also its colony.
6. What to Do When I Have Termites in My House?
They may be good for the environment but not for our homes. There are basic steps that you can do to prevent or minimize the infestations of termites within your premises: constant maintenance in your plumbing to make sure that there are no leaks; checking for cracks in your walls and foundation and fill it in when necessary; make sure that the woods in the house have no direct contact with soil; and most importantly, keep the house free from moisture by keeping proper ventilation.
But to avoid any assumptions and negligence that may lead to more risks and damages, it’s best to have a professional conduct termite protection service. Don’t let termites eat away your investments, literally.