What is a subterranean termite, anyway? Did you know that there are multiple species of termites and that subterranean termites are actually the most common for Tulsa homeowners? Even though there’s plenty of information you might not know about subterranean termites, the most important thing to learn is how to keep your home safe from these destructive pests.
Seeing The Signs
Subterranean termites are the fastest, most-efficient wood-eating pests on the planet. Part of their efficiency is caused by their eating preferences: these pests prefer to feed on moist, rotting wood rather than dry, healthy wood. Once they begin eating a home’s foundation that has suffered moisture damage, it only takes them 12 to 18 months to do over $3,000’ worth of damage.
Eating year-round, subterranean termites are a very destructive and costly force, and they rarely take time off. Many people think that “termite season” is only the warm summer months, which is true. However, “termite season” only refers to their preferred weather for recolonization, so a termite infestation is constantly wearing away at the wood in a house, regardless of the weather.
Since it takes a number of months for these pests to cause significant damage in a home, noticing the signs of an infestation early is crucial to avoid extensive damage. While you may not be able to see worker termites eating away at your house from the ground up, there are a number of signs that you may notice as an infestation settles in:
Mud tubes stemming from the ground along outdoor walls
Groups of winged termites (swarmers) buzzing around trees or lamp posts
Tightening around doors and windows
Clicking noises within the walls
If you notice these signs, it’s time to call the professionals, as only the highest quality treatments can get rid of an existing termite infestation.
Although you can’t get rid of termites once an infestation starts, you might be able to keep them from invading your home in the first place. Remember, subterranean termites do a majority of their damage to wood that has already suffered moisture damage or is already rotting, which is good news for you. That means you can limit their attraction to your property by using the following methods to control potential moisture issues:
Monitoring pipes for leaks: if any of your pipes are leaking, even the smallest amount, this moisture buildup could lead to wood rot and an ensuing termite problem.
Dehumidifiers: if you can limit humidity and condensation in your poorly ventilated areas (like basements and crawl spaces), this can save the wood from moisture damage over time that is so common in these areas of the house.
Controlling rain runoff: without an effective gutter and downspout system, rain will pool up near the side of your house along the ground, exposing the foundation to potential wood rot over time.
Maintaining the lawn: an evenly mowed lawn means even disbursal of moisture. Lawn maintenance will also limit clutter buildup like leaves and sticks that can cause uneven moisture disbursement as well, one of the leading causes of subterranean termite attraction.
Aside from controlling moisture, limiting soil-to-wood contact is very important for avoiding a termite infestation. Since subterranean termites typically bump into your home’s foundation after crawling around below the surface of the soil, creating a buffer between the soil and the wood can help prevent an infestation as well. Using 12 to 18 inches of pine straw, gravel, or rubber mulch can create this buffer effectively.
Unfortunately, you can create this buffer and control your moisture issues, and termites could still find their way in. Guaranteed termite prevention only comes from high-quality termite traps laid by experienced pest control technicians. That’s why the best way to protect your property from subterranean termites is with professional assistance. Call Mid America Pest Control today for termite protection you can count on.