By the time you find out that you have termites, there is a chance that they will have already caused extensive damage to the structure (and substructure) of your home. Here is how to deal with all of the damage those pests can cause.
First: Learn to Recognize the Signs
There are a few signs that termites might have set up shop in your home. Swarming is the most common. This is where you start to see termites in your home. The most common place to find them is by the windows—either lying on the sill from having flown into the window itself trying to get out of the house or on the window’s drapery.
You might also find shelter tubes that the termites have built. They build them in open areas so you shouldn’t have to hunt for them. If you find what looks like water damage, search for signs of dirt. Termites will usually bring with them and drop bits of dirt into the wood they’re invading.
Next: Figure Out What Type of Termite You’re Dealing With
The easiest way to do this is to trap a couple of the termites you’ve found. If you see a termite or two in your home, put a clear glass or other similar transparent container over it so that you can lean in for a closer look without having to worry that it will take flight at you (or away). You can use our earlier article to figure out what you’ve captured.
Call a Professional
Unlike some other pests, termites are not something you can combat or conquer on your own. These pests get into and destroy the structure of your home. It is important to call an exterminator or pest control expert for help in figuring out not just how much damage the termites have done but how to deal with the infestation. The good news is that most pest control experts will give you a free inspection.
Dealing with the Aftermath
It isn’t just possible that termites have done damage to the structural integrity of your house, it’s probable. As soon as you’ve “fixed” the infestation, you’re going to want to get a contractor or structural engineer out to inspect your house for damage. If you’re lucky, the damage will only be on the “superficial” structure of your home. If the damage is in the supporting beams and joists, you’re looking at a much bigger problem.
Make Repairs a Priority
Repairing termite damage is going to be expensive. There’s no way around that. How expensive it is depends upon the damage that was done. One thing is for sure, though, the repairs can’t wait—especially if you ever want to be able to sell your house. Remember, tenting isn’t always 100% permanently effective and all it takes is a few of those pests to survive for a real threat to be posed to the structural stability of your home. Get rid of any wood that might have been affected by the termites you just got rid of and replace it with new ones.
Future Prevention is Also Important
In addition to repairing the damage that has already been done, it is important that you work hard to prevent more damage from occurring in the future. Luckily, there are things that you can do to help discourage termites and keep them from infesting your home. You can find a list of ways to prevent a termite infestation here.
The fact is that termites are everywhere. There is no part of the country that is safe from these pests. The good news is that you don’t have to resign yourself to their presence. Use these tips to help you overcome and recover from a termite infestation.