Preventing termites from destroying your home involves being prepared before it happens and knowing the signs of when it does. As soon as spring weather arrives throughout the United States, termites, carpenter ants and an army of other household pests are swarming around houses, foundations and woodpiles, preparing themselves for their annual munch fest.
Each year pest experts estimate roughly 50 billion termites are gearing up to attack homes, and yours may be in their sights. Such unwanted pests cost homeowners approximately $2 billion per year, so there are big savings to be had by keeping termites and other insects away in the first place.
Termites typically enter your home in areas that are difficult to spot, like inside dark crawlspaces or basements. Other telltale signs of termite infestation include soft wood in the home, mud tubes around the interior or exterior of your home often near the foundation, and darkening or blistering of wood structures.
But by the time you notice the signs of an termite infestation, the damage has most likely already been done. To avoid a surprise attack, have your home inspected for termite damage. An annual, professional wood destroying insect inspection only costs about a hundred bucks, good for the whole year and the best way of preventing termites from invading your home.
Termites are not the only wood destroyers that can wreak havoc in your home. Powder post beetles are found in every state in the continental U.S. and can be as destructive as termites. Powder post beetle larvae usually enter the home through infested wood, before any sign of infestation is noticed. The larvae then mature and bore their way out of the wood, leaving behind a small hole and fine sawdust, hence the name.
Powder post beetles can be found in hardwood floors, furniture and cabinets. Un-infested wood that is already finished (sanded, stained and varnished) will not become infested because adult beetles can't get into the wood to lay their eggs. Once powder post beetles have infested wood, fumigation by a qualified pest professional is really the only way to go. Unfortunately, it does not rule out future infestation.
The best thing you can do to prevent a powder post beetle invasion is to inspect any wood before you purchase it, or ask your contractor to do the same. Moisture is a big factor in infestation, so make sure the wood is properly kiln or air dried. Also make sure the wood is sealed or use treated wood, and don't store wood furniture outside, in a shed or a garage.
The National Pest Management Association is an excellent resource for finding a qualified Pest Management Professional in your area who will be preventing termites, powder post beetles and other wood-destroying insects from destroying your home.