Termites are active across Texas, but according to the U.S. Forest Service, East Texas is considered a high to moderate Termite Infestation Probability (TIP) Zone, an area of high risk for termite infestation and destruction. With swarming typically beginning in the spring, BBB is reminding property owners to take proactive measures to prevent costly home repairs which could include damage to non-structural components as well as damage to a structural timbers and posts of a home or building.
“A single termite doesn’t look dangerous or menacing”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas, “A whole colony, however, can inflict serious structural damage on a home in a fairly short period of time.”
Termites are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew undetected through wood, flooring and even wallpaper. They can build nests inside walls and can cause damage for years before it becomes noticeable. As the ground warms, termite populations emerge in search of mates and new structures to invade. If an infestation goes untreated, a home can suffer significant damage.
Each year, termites cause about $5 billion in property damage, according to the National Pest Management Association, a BBB National Partner.
Better Business Bureau offers these tips from NPMA for preventing termites from wreaking havoc on your home. Here are four ways to avoid a termite infestation:
Repair and replace when necessary. Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units on the outside of the home. Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles. Replace weather stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
Keep it clear. Make sure the foundation is exposed around the entire home.Store firewood at least twenty feet away from the house and elevate it at least five inches off the ground. Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation and keep levels several inches below the siding and wooden parts of the structure. Keep dead trees, stumps, and roots away from the home. Divert rain water, sprinklers, and irrigation water away from the foundation.
Inspect, inspect, inspect. Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, doorframes and skirting boards for any noticeable changes.
Protect your investment. Not sure if you have termites? Consider a termite inspection from a qualified pest management company. Although NPMA recommends a termite inspection every 1-3 years, only half of homeowners they surveyed indicated they never had their homes inspected.
Keep in mind, techniques and materials used to control an infestation will vary based on the type of termite, the type of home, and the extent of infestation, so it’s a good idea to find a qualified professional to help with prevention.
For more information on termites and other household pests, visit Pestworld.org.
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