When the weather starts to warm again in the spring, people begin noticing signs of termites and our phone begins ringing. In some cases, homeowners find signs of termites when they begin sprucing up their homes. In others, termites may swarm inside the home or around the foundation. As soon as you think you might have a termite issue, you need to call a professional and have your home inspected.
What are the signs I have termites?
The most common type of termite found in North Carolina is the subterranean termite. These insects live in colonies underground and eat cellulose products like wood and paper. You may find damage to wood beams in your crawlspace or even to baseboards. We recently had a situation where termites had gotten into books stored on a bookshelf and eaten holes in the books! The other obvious sign of infestation is mud tubes on the interior or exterior walls, especially near the ground, or around doors, including the garage door framing at the expansion gap on the ground. One homeowner walked into her shower one day and discovered mud tubes that had appeared overnight right at the top of the tile surround. You may also see swarms of termites around mating season in the spring and summer or find piles of discarded termite wings around windows.
If the inspector confirms I have termites, what happens next?
Once our trained technicians identify a termite infestation, they will review the extent of the problem and detail the location(s) of the damage, and then create a customized treatment plan for your home. They will review the treatment options with you and answer any questions you may have. You can then choose an option for treatment. If the damage is severe, you may also need to involve a contractor to handle the repairs to your property.
What termite treatment options are available?
For subterranean termites, a liquid termiticide is usually applied around the foundation of your home. For homes built on a slab, the concrete will be drilled and the termiticide pumped under the concrete. Some homeowners may have high moisture areas or they may be concerned with the impact of some types of liquid termiticides on the environment. It is important to note that there is a new liquid termiticide that only affects termites- Altriset® (Syngenta). Altriset specifically paralyzes the jaw muscles of termites, and therefore will not harm beneficial insects like honey bees. Altriset is termed a “reduced risk” insecticide by the Environmental Protection Agency, and therefore has no signal word like other EPA pesticides require.
A second option is a baiting system like the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination system. In this type of system, baiting stations are set around the perimeter of your house and termiticide bait is placed in the stations for the termites to collect and take back to the colony. If an infestation already exists, a liquid termiticide may be applied first and the baiting system installed as a preventive measure. Our recommendations will be based upon your specific situation.
What can I do to ensure I don’t get termites?
When new homes are built, they are treated with a termiticide product that protects the home for around 5 years. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to have a new treatment applied after the original loses effectiveness. Both liquid and baiting options are available. Clegg’s liquid termite protection plan requires an annual termite inspection. This allows us to ensure the treatment is working. Once the initial application has lost effectiveness, a termiticide booster treatment is applied and the annual inspection process continues. Of course, one of the most important things you can do is be vigilant. Make sure there is no excess moisture in and around your home that can attract termites or other wood-boring insects. Keep your eyes open for signs of termites and follow some common sense precautions like storing firewood away from the foundation of your home, keeping bushes and trees trimmed away from the house, and not piling mulch against the foundation. Again, if you see any signs of termites, don’t ignore them!
If you see damage to the wood around your home, you could have termites or other wood-destroying insects that result in similar damage. At the first sign of trouble, you should have a professional inspect the property to see exactly what you are dealing with and recommend how to best treat the problem. To learn more, read our article, What You Need to Know About Termites.
Clegg’s offers free termite inspections. Call us today to schedule an appointment at the first sign you might have a termite infestation.