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Termites the "silent destroyer"

Termites are tiny insects that create huge problems for homeowners and are very common in the mid-western states, especially Kansas. Termites are often referred to as “silent destroyers”, destroying wood structures rapidly, damaging the integrity of your home. Termites are so common in Kansas, that state laws require a termite inspection, completed by a licensed professional, before a home can be sold.

According to Termite Infestation Probability Zones, Kansas is in Zone #2, moderate to heavy, which means the potential for termites infesting your home is considered significant. It’s not a matter of “if” termites will invade your home, but rather a matter of “when”. Termites can even begin destroying newly constructed homes within a year of construction and homeowner’s insurance does not cover termite damage or termite elimination. Every year termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage and homeowners to spend over $2 billion dollars treating them.

What Do Termites Eat?

It’s important to understand what attracts termites to your home, what termites eat, and what to do when you discover termites in your home.

Termites live in colonies, consuming dead and decaying plants and leaves but their preferred food source is wood. To most humans, termites are associated with destruction but they are a necessary component in nature’s ecosystem. Termites are essential decomposers, breaking down dead wood in forests and helping to balance the earth’s ecosystem. However, when termites infest our homes and other wood structures, they quickly become problematic.

Are Termites Eating My Home?

Termites are not easy to detect and they rarely emerge from the soil, mud tubes, or food sources through which they are tunneling and traveling. Most people do not realize they have a termite infestation until they come across damage or see a swarm (sometimes termite swarms are mistaken for ant swarms).

The following are just a few signs that your home may be infested:

Wood that sounds hollow: Termites may have eaten away at the inside of wood if it sounds hollow when you tap on floors, walls, or baseboards.

Mud tubes: Mud tubes will often hang from the ceiling or walls and are small, narrow tubes of mud that are pathways for termite travel.

Winged insects that look like ants: Termite swarmers are often mistaken for ants; however, termite wings are roughly equal in length and have straight antennae.

Horizontal or vertical lines in wood: You may have termites if you notice horizontal or vertical lines of missing wood material on door frames or baseboards. This damage is often referred to as “shelving”.

Weakness or other damage in structures: Termites may be at work if you notice collapsing floors, cracked paint, sagging porches, or crumbling posts.

I Think I May Have Termites! What Do I Do?

All of the above signs of termites could indicate another issue such as water damage or an alternative pest. Only a licensed, professional pest control specialist can determine whether the problem is a termite infestation. If you think your home or other structure may have termites, the best thing to do is call a professional to schedule an inspection. The longer you wait, the more damage the termites can create.

Here are some steps to take:

  1. Contact a licensed and qualified pest control professional who specializes in termite inspections and remedial treatments. They will inspect your home and determine if termites are the problem. A pest control specialist can then recommend the best treatment option for your situation. Bug Shockers Pest Control technicians are highly familiar with subterranean termites and other wood-destroying pests and can help in identifying an infestation and treatment plan.

  2. Eliminate wood debris and decaying plant material: Remove piles of wood that may be stacked up alongside your home and clear away any plant and leaf material from around the foundation of your home. Firewood should be stacked a minimum of 20 feet away from your home to reduce the risk of termites migrating indoors.

  3. Decrease moisture in and around your home: Termites survive on and love moisture! To reduce the chances of attracting termites, fix any plumbing leaks and ensure that your crawlspace is well-ventilated

Seeing signs of termite? Contact Bug Shockers Pest Control today for an inspection.

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