By, Surabhi Ashok
Picture a colony of termites. I am almost a hundred percent sure that most of you immediately thought of collapsing houses, caving floors, and essentially a lot of damage. This imagery is not just a coincidence. Termites are known to be very troublesome once they are on a piece of property, either because of the high costs that come with the process of their extermination or just the destruction of valuable and personal memories.
But how can such small pests incur so much damage?
Well, these pests are insects who consume and break down cellulose, the main cell wall of a plant, and turn it into soil. Subterranean termites are especially dangerous to houses as they feed on the frames of buildings, in which the wood becomes soft and moist and leads to infrastructure failures. Other common types of termites are drywood and damp-wood. Causing almost $5 billion in property damage annually, termite infestations are not something to be laughed at.
So how can you catch this problem before it has snowballed into a debt that you cannot repay? Some signs that you can look for are hollowed-out wood sounds, rotting wood, powdered shavings, small tunnels of dirt and liquid excretions coming out of the ground called mud tubes, and a buckling floor. If you notice any of these things, call pest control at once. In New Jersey, they use bait systems and exterior liquid barriers for extermination. In addition, check in with DIY, a termite treatment, to schedule inspections of your home if you have any suspicion of infestation.
You can also take steps to prevent termite infestation in the first place. Because damp-wood termites are attracted to moist areas of the house, try to ensure that these wet areas are removed quickly. Repair leaky faucets, and seal any cracks in the walls. Keep dry wood 15 to 20 feet away from your house, and trim surrounding trees and bushes consistently. While all these precautions and inspections may seem cumbersome, it is better to spend time and money on this rather than spending it on restoration after the problem has already occurred. Most home insurance policies don’t even cover termite damage!
1 in 5 homes in New Jersey sustain losses as a result of termite infestation. You don’t want your house to become a part of that statistic.