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Termites and Your Home

According to the National Pest Management Foundation, termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage per year in the United States.  However, most homeowners don't realize how much damage termites can cause.  Homeowners don't normally notice them until the damage is done, and lots of it.

Termites can live in a home for years or even decades eating their way from the inside out.  An average termite colony can consumer a two-by-four each year.  No wonder their nicknames are the "silent destroyers"!

Termites can enter your home through cracks in the foundation, window vents, and roof joints.

Older or historic homes are more inclined to be at risk because it's more likely that the foundation has cracked.

But new homes are not necessarily risk-free.  During construction, if termite pre-treatments aren't done correctly, termite swarms can take hold in as little as five years.

Here are some preventative measures to keep termites out of your home:

  • Keep moisture out. Use downspouts and gutters to divert water away from the foundation
  • Store mulch, firewood, and wood chips away from the home
  • Ensure shrubs, vines, and other plants aren't planted too close to the home and aren't covering vents
  • Ventilate crawl spaces to reduce humidity
  • Eliminate gaps and cracks in areas such as attic vents, window joints, and roof eaves
  • Remove old tree stumps and roots near the home
  • Don't let ivy and other vines grow over house no matter what kind of construction you have. It will start to destroy the mortar if your house is brick or get under the vinyl siding and worst of all, it is a conduit for termites who feed on the dead vines and gain access to the framing of your house.

Even in areas with a lower probability of infestation, the right combination of food, moisture, and warmth can spell trouble for your home investment.

This information is courtesy of Melissa Dittmann Tracey and Realtor Magazine.

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