A termite is a tiny insect known for living in a large colony deep within the earth. Although they may resemble ants, these “silent destroyers” generally differ in that their antennae are straight, and their wings may be roughly equal in length. Many are known for feeding off of wood, particularly causing significant damage to the wood bearing structures. This includes homes like yours.
According to the National Pest Management Association, these household pests are responsible for an estimated $5 billion in property damage each year, which is not covered by standard homeowners insurance. Termite season, which typically starts in early spring, can be identified by the presence of swarms flying around a potential infestation site.
Non-Chemical Versus Chemical Treatments
Once you have determined that you a have an infestation, the next step is to seek out a professional technician to properly treat the infestation. Now, you may have seen information on the Internet about how you can personally address the issue, but be advised that the risks are too great to attempt alone in most cases. A licensed pest management professional would be able to confirm your diagnosis of your household pests as well as safely eradicate the insects without causing further damage to your home.
Depending on the situation, your pest control technician may suggest one of two methods: non-chemical treatments or chemical treatments. Non-chemical treatments, which usually don’t incorporate the use of insecticides, generally include physical barriers of some sorts. Examples of such physical barriers include steel mesh and sand, as well as biological control agents like nematodes and fungi. On the other hand, chemical treatments do incorporate the use of pesticides and, therefore, carry certain risks to human health and the environment. These termiticides, as they are referred to, are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and typically include four options: liquid soil-applied termiticides, termite baits, building materials impregnated with termiticides, and wood treatments. Your technician will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your particular situation.
As with any household pest concern, preventative measures can be taken to ensure that you don’t have a repeat occurrence of an infestation after you have successfully rid them from your home. For starters, if your home is undergoing construction, be sure to use a concrete foundation and ventilation between the soil and wood to prevent any openings where the “silent destroyers” can get in. Thereafter, be sure to maintain proper grading and drainage, reduce openings, fix leaks, eliminate piles of wood in close proximity to the house, unblock any vents, and call a professional technician for periodic inspections.