No homeowner wants to hear the dreaded words, “You have termites.” That’s because every year, termites cause millions of dollars in structural damage–and homeowners likely spend even more money trying to treat the problem. Most people don’t even realize they have termites until there is a swarm of them present or there is very apparent damage to the home. Thankfully, termites don’t have to cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. There’s actually an incredibly low-cost way to protect against termites: pay for regular inspections.
The most common termite in the United States is the native subterranean termite. Less common termites include drywood termites and Formosan termites. Rarely coming up out of the soil or mud tubes through which they tunnel, termites can be extremely hard to discover unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, until the sale of a home occurs, homeowners rarely have reason to consider additional termite inspections. For this reason, a termite invasion can often go unnoticed by homeowners until there’s a larger problem at hand. Depending on the breed of termite invading a home, it can take anywhere from several days to several years for any evidence a homeowner would notice to appear.
Termite inspections don’t cost much and they are a low-cost alternative when compared to battling a termite infestation. A reputable termite inspector should visit your home annually (or bi-annually if you live in a less termite-affected area) to check for evidence of termite colonies. If caught early enough, termites can be battled for much less money than if you happen to come across the problem yourself. In addition to regular inspections, there are a few things you can do to help prevent termites from coming into your home.
- If you’re building a new home or adding a shed to your yard, be sure to use a concrete foundation and leave ventilation space between the soil and any wood.
- Keep soil around your home’s foundation as dry as possible. If you have gutters, ensure that they drain as far from the home as possible.
- Close openings, such as cracks and holes, as much as possible with cement, grout, or other sealant.
- Don’t pile or store firewood near your home.
- Ensure that trees, shrubs, and plants are not planted too close to the home.
Having termites can be an expensive headache. The good news is that using inexpensive forms of prevention can help keep your home safe from an infestation.