According to estimates by the National Pest Management Association, the annual cost of termite damage exceeds more than five billion dollars each year. The voracious appetite of these pests, along with their preference for consuming important building support features, such as beams, sill plates, and floor joists, helps to increase the amount of damage these insects are capable of doing.
The secretive nature of termites allows them to form a large infestation capable of doing massive damage before the home or property owner discovers their presence. If you have just found evidence of a termite infestation in your home or other building, here are three actions you should take to stop their destructive progress and prevent them from attacking again in the future.
Discourage them with drier conditions
One of the criteria that termites use to select their potential nesting sites is sufficient moisture and humidity for their survival. Home and property owners whose buildings are plagued with moisture issues from leaks or drainage problems will be likely targets for termite infestation. Taking steps to cure these problems, as well as increasing ventilation in these areas is an appropriate first step when waging a war against termites.
Starve them by removing attractive food sources
Along with taking actions to dry up dampness and improve ventilation in crawlspaces and around building foundations, property owners will also need to reduce the available food supplies that can attract termite colonies and encourage them to increase in size.
Common food sources for termites that property owners should work to remove or reduce include:
- firewood, kindling, or lumber stored near the structure
- layers of dead leaves and rotting wood chips near the building's perimeter
- accumulations of old newspapers, magazines, cardboard, or other products with high cellulose content
Clearing away these items and making sure that the soil around the structure's perimeter is as dry as possible will help to starve out existing termites and discourage further activity.
If wooden portions of the structure have been damaged or are decaying, they should also be removed and replaced with undamaged wood as part of removing available food sources for termites.
Bait them with effective termite control treatments
When a home or other building is infested with termites, property owners will need to do more than limit the food and moisture sources. Instead, it will be necessary to annihilate the existing termites using approved chemical treatments applied by a trained, licensed pest control expert.
In addition to the initial course of treatment, property owners will also need to consider using long-lasting bait stations and perimeter treatment options that will help to guard against future termite infestations.