There are few things more disheartening to a Houston homeowner than finding out their house is infested with termites. These destructive pests can cause serious damage to your home if left unchecked, so it’s important to be able to identify a termite problem and take steps to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
Swarming insects, damaged wood, and mud tubes are all tell-tale signs that your home may have a termite infestation. While termites may seem small and harmless when it’s just one or two—it’s never one or two, more like one or two thousand.
If you don’t get the problem under control early on—your home can also be due for serious damage. One of the best things you can do is prevent the problem before it happens. Houston pest control companies such as Champions offer preventative maintenance plans. You do have to be vigilant in prevention as well as eradication once you see a problem—so it’s a worthwhile investment.
The first step in being ahead of the game with termites in Houston is to be on the lookout for the clues they leave including:
- Mud tubes on the exterior of your home: Termites build mud tubes as they travel from the ground to your home in search of food. These tubes are about the width of a pencil and are usually found on the sides of your home or in crawlspaces.
- Swarms of winged insects: If you see swarms of small, winged insects around your home, they are likely termites. These insects are actually reproductive termites called “swarmers” and their presence indicates that there is an existing termite problem that needs to be addressed.
- Damaged wood: One of the most obvious signs that you have a termite problem is damage to the wood in your home. Termites eat away at wood, so if you see any suspicious-looking holes or damage, it’s best to have it inspected by a Houston pest control company to confirm whether or not you have a problem.
What are Termites?
Most homeowners in Houston are familiar with the wood-destroying abilities of termites, but many people are surprised to learn that there are more than 2,000 different species of termites worldwide.
In the United States, there are approximately 50 different species alone. While all termites share certain characteristics, such as their love of wood and their ability to wreak havoc on homes, there are also some key differences between different types of termites.
Termites are small insects that live in colonies underground. These colonies can number in the thousands and even millions. Termites feed on cellulose-based materials, such as wood. This makes them particularly troublesome for homeowners because they can cause serious damage to structures made out of wood, like your house.
There are two main types of termites: subterranean and drywood. Subterranean termites build their nests underground and then travel up into homes through small tunnels to find food. Drywood termites build their nests inside the wood they’re feeding on. Since their nests are also their food source, they don’t need any contact with the ground to survive.
You may not be aware that you have a termite problem until significant damage has already been done. This is why it’s important to be on the lookout for some early warning signs:
Signs of a Termite Infestation
As mentioned before, there are a few key signs that indicate you may have a termite problem in your home. If you see any of the following, it’s time to call a Houston pest control pro for an inspection:
- Mud tubes: These are small tubes made of mud that termites create to travel from their nests to their food source. You’ll often find them on exterior walls or near moisture sources like leaky pipes or gutters.
- Wood damage: Termites eat wood from the inside out, so damaged wood will appear hollowed out or blistered on the surface. Pay special attention to wooden beams or support structures in your home, as these are especially vulnerable.
- Wings: Swarms of winged termites, known as “alates,” leave their nests in search of mates and new homes. If you find piles of wings around your home, it’s a good indication that there’s a nest nearby.
Houston Pest Control And Other Preventative Solutions
Prevention is the ultimate recommendation for dealing with termites in Houston. Pest control companies offer preventative service plans that stop termites before they can even settle in. That being said, there are some smart habits you can practice to make your home less attractive to termites.
- Routinely inspect your home for signs of termites or damage. Check both the interior and exterior of your home, including crawl spaces and attics. Look for things like cracks in walls or floors, sagging ceilings or floors, piles of debris or sawdust, hollow-sounding wood, and small bugs. If you see any of these signs, it’s time to call a Houston pest control pro like Champions.
- Keep your home clean and clutter-free. Termites are attracted to homes that are dirty and full of clutter because they offer lots of places for the insects to hide. By keeping your home clean and free of junk, you make it less attractive to termites.
- Be careful with firewood. If you have firewood on your property, make sure it is stored at least 20 feet away from your house. And never store it inside your home – this is a tough invitation for termites to ignore!
- Make sure your gutters are clean and in good shape. Clogged or damaged gutters can cause water to pool around your foundation, making your home more attractive to termites. Keep an eye on your gutters and have them cleaned out regularly (at least once a year) to prevent problems.
Treatment for an Existing Termite Issue
If you already have a termite problem, there are a few different treatment options available from a Houston pest control provider. The most common method of treatment is using a liquid insecticide, which is applied directly to the affected area. This will kill the termites that are present and also repel new ones from coming in. Another option is a bit more drastic but sometimes necessary—and the most thorough, and that is fumigation. This involves pumping poisonous gas into your home that is tented. This keeps all the poisonous gas in the home and kills all termites inside. While it’s a more expensive option, it really is the most effective.
Champions Houston Pest Control Is The Best Solution
While there are many over-the-counter solutions available to treat termite problems, they are usually ineffective. Additionally, they can pose a legitimate health risk to your family.
However, when you call Champions Pest Control you get the experience, knowledge, and professional equipment these problems take.
Contact us to schedule your home visit to get rid of termites and save your home from more damage.