How Do Termites Get in My Home?

Termites cause billions of dollars in damage every year to homes throughout the United States. The real question is, how do they even get in? Here’s what you need to know about why termites enter your home, how they get in, and what you can do to prevent them.

Why are termites coming into my home?

Like other living beings, termites need a few things to survive. In all likelihood, your home is providing one or more of the following, and if it’s within easy access, termites will find it. Consequently, your house can become an all-inclusive resort for termites.

Food

Termites and other wood-destroying insects feed on cellulose. Unfortunately, many of the materials found in your home contain cellulose. Termites will snack on anything from flooring and insulation to support beams and furniture.

Water

Termites prefer to work and live in damp conditions. Improperly vented basements and crawlspaces can allow moisture to collect and create the ideal environment for termite colonies.

Shelter

Your home’s controlled temperature and protection from the elements make it a perfect nesting ground for termites. Add in the lack of predators, and your home may as well be a termite sanctuary.

How can termites get into my home?

Even if your home seems like an impenetrable fortress, there are ways for termites to enter that may go undetected. Here are a few ways termites can get into your home.

Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites will follow their underground foraging tunnels to your home. Once they’ve arrived, they’ll enter the home through any cracks, gaps, or openings in your foundation and begin constructing their mud tubes within your home. These pencil-sized raised tunnels are an early sign of infestation.

Wood-to-Ground Contact

Termites commonly enter the home through an area of wood-to-ground contact. This could be via doorframes, deck posts, or porch steps. They may also find their way to your home after making a pit stop in a nearby rotting tree.

Exterior Cracks

Termites are relatively small and can fit through even minor cracks and entry points. Drywood termites can easily enter through vents that aren’t screened, or even through improperly sealed door and window surrounds.

What can I do to keep termites out of my home?

If you’re struggling with a termite problem, your first step should be to contact your local pest control professional. Here are a few things you can do as a homeowner to deter termites from entering your home.

  • Eliminate exterior access points by sealing cracks, vents, and gaps
  • Reduce termite food sources by recycling or disposing of cellulose materials
  • Address moisture problems promptly
  • Monitor for termite activity
  • Enroll in a preventive pest control program

If you’re fighting a losing battle against termites, contact Springer in Des Moines. Our team of pest control professionals can help you identify your problem, eliminate the infestation, and prevent future outbreaks. For homeowners who haven’t yet had to grapple with these unwanted house guests, preventive pest control can be an effective way to keep termites out before they cause any trouble. Set up your free inspection today!

How Much Damage Can Termites Really Do?

They may be small, but termites can cause serious damage to your home. If you suspect you have termites in your home, seek help from a professional pest control company promptly. Ignoring the warning signs of a termite infestation can result in serious damage.

Why are termites harmful to your home?

Termites primarily feed on wood, but they will also consume other materials like particleboard, drywall, or cardboard. Unfortunately, these materials are found in practically every home. Because of this, you shouldn’t dismiss the risk of a termite infestation, even if you are extremely cautious and take precautionary measures. As long as the food source exists, your home is potentially at risk for termite damage.

What kind of damage do termites inflict?

Termite damage comes in the form of ruined plaster, drywall, joints, and even the very structure of your home. According to the National Pest Management Association, termites are responsible for approximately $5 billion dollars in property damage each year. It is important to know the warning signs and take preventive action so as to reduce your home’s risk of termite damage.

How can I identify termite damage?

There are several indicators of termite activity in your home. If you notice even one of the following, it’s wise to contact a pest control professional immediately. The sooner you address termite activity, the lower the chance of damage to your home. Here are signs of termites to be aware of:

  • Bubbling in floorboards
  • Hollow or damaged wood including walls, floorboards, and wooden structures
  • Abandoned termite wings (usually found near windows or doors)
  • Thin mud tunnels found in or outside your home
  • Termite droppings found near their tunneling

What can I do to prevent termite damage?

While there’s no way to make your home completely impervious to termites, you can take measures to reduce your home’s susceptibility to termite infestation and subsequent damage:

  • Reduce sources of moisture throughout your yard and home
  • Repair cracks in siding and foundation
  • Properly maintain your gutter system
  • Routinely inspect the interior and exterior of your home for signs of termites
  • Store firewood in a safe, secure place away from your home
  • Trim shrubs, trees, and brushes to prevent them from touching your house
  • Remove all rotting wood (trees, sheds, etc.) from your property

On top of these preventive actions, be sure to enlist the help of a professional pest control company if you suspect your home is suffering termite damage.

If you need professional pest control services in the greater Des Moines area, contact Springer Professional Home Services. Our team of pest control professionals can help you address your situation, treat the problem, and take preventive measures to reduce your risk of further infestation. Contact us to set up your free inspection!

Why You Need a Termite Inspection for Real Estate Transactions

If you’re preparing to buy a home, termite inspections are something you should understand. Are they necessary? What do they entail? Why should I have one done? We’ve got the scoop!

Are Termite Inspections Required?

It depends on the circumstances of your real estate transaction, but in all likelihood, a termite inspection will be required. Most lenders require a termite inspection before they will approve your mortgage, but even if they don’t, you should still have one done.

When Do You Need a Termite Inspection?

You should most definitely have a termite inspection done any time you purchase a home. It’s also a good idea to have a termite inspection done if you are planning to sell your home so that you have an idea if any work will need to be done before you put your home on the market.

Why Do You Need a Termite Inspection?

A termite inspection is crucial for real estate transactions because only a trained, experienced inspector can definitively identify if there are active termites in a home. Termite damage can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs, so an inspection is the best way to identify them before you are fiscally responsible for them.

How Will the Termite Inspection Affect My Real Estate Transaction?

If a home passes a termite inspection, then the real estate transaction will proceed as usual. If the home fails a termite inspection, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t proceed with the purchase. Most of the time, a realtor can help you negotiate a plan of action with the selling part to ensure that the home is termite-free before you move in. If a home has a severe termite infestation, then you may want to consider a different housing option.

What Questions Should I Ask About the Completed Termite Inspection?

It is most beneficial for you as the potential home-buyer to be in open communication with your termite inspector. This trained professional can answer any questions you might have and provide an unbiased opinion on the condition of the home.

Is There Evidence of Termites?

This is kind of a no-brainer, but you’ll first want to find out from your inspector if there is any evidence of termites in the home. This should all be explained in your Wood Destroying Insect Report, but it’s still helpful to have your inspector explain.

Where Is There Evidence of Termites?

In some cases, the only evidence of termites in the yard or exterior buildings on the property. In these cases, extermination is fairly simple. It’s important to have a good understanding of where the termite activity is so that you can make an educated decision on how to proceed. Termite activity throughout the whole home may be an indicator that it’s best to find a different home—with fewer house guests.

What Are the Next Steps?

Your next steps will depend on the location of the evidence and the amount of activity. You can consult both your termite inspector and realtor for advice on how to proceed with the transaction. Ultimately, you’ll need to determine a contract outlining the actions needed to move the sale forward. This can include extermination, repairs, and anything else that might be necessary to rectify the condition of the home.

A properly conducted termite inspection is vital to the success of your real estate transaction. Trust all of your termite needs to Springer! Our trained pest control technicians can inspect your potential home for termites and complete a Wood Destroying Insect (WDI) Report. They’ll alert you of any issues and help you to take the necessary actions to move forward with your purchase. Schedule your inspection with Springer today!

How to Tell If You Have Termites

They’re responsible for $5 billion in property damage each year, and chances are, they’d love to add your home to their menu. Termites make their homes in 49 of the 50 states and can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to yours. The best way to protect yourself from termites and their monstrous appetites are to implement preventive practices and engage in early detection.

Signs of Termites

While you may be doing your best to prevent termites, an infestation is still possible. Here are a few signs to watch for so you can act quickly if they make their way into your home.

Discarded Wings

If you find wings near windows, doors, or along floorboards, you may have an invasion of termites coming your way. Termites develop wings and use them to fly from their nest to their new home and feeding ground. Termites will twist their wings off intentionally because they no longer need them to travel. Discarded wings are a sign of a termite invasion, and if you find them, it’s best to contact an exterminator.

Termite Pellets

If you find small piles of something that resembles salt or pepper, you may have a termite problem. If termites are living and eating in your home, they will be defecating there, too. These droppings are known as frass and can be found in mounds outside of the termite’s living space in your home. If you notice these piles, you’ll want to call a professional exterminator right away.

Termite Swarms

You may actually see a termite swarm outside or inside your home. These swarms typically occur in the spring, when termites are seeking mates. Reproductive swarms may also result in discarded wings.

The Colony

You may actually stumble across the termite colony in your yard or home. Termite colonies can be found in the soil and also in any wooden structure—live, dead, or even rotting. If you find a termite colony, contact an exterminator. If there are termites on your property, there will soon be termites in your home.

Evidence of Infestation

Mud Tubes

If you notice pencil-sized mud tubes along your floor or walls, it’s likely that you have active termites in your home. Termites build these tunnels to maintain their desired temperature and humidity levels. You’ll find them wherever they have been actively working.

Damaged or Hollow Wood

If the wood in your home is damaged or sounds hollow, it’s likely that there are active termites in your home. Wood and wood products are the primary dietary choice for termites. They feast on and make their homes in the wood on your property. If left unchecked, the damage can become extensive.

Cracked or Distorted Paint

Cracked or distorted paint on your walls, floorboards, or other wooden objects may be an indication of active termites. Termites will destroy anything in the way of their meal—the wood and cellulose products in your home.

Discolored or Drooping Drywall

If you find discolored or drooping drywall in your home, it’s likely that you are dealing with active termites. As mentioned before, while wood is the primary sustenance for termites, they also feed on other cellulose-based products; your drywall and its paperboard make a great snack.

If you are concerned that your home is at risk for termites or if you need a termite inspection in the Des Moines area, contact Springer. Set up your free inspection today!

5 Ways to Protect Your Home from Termites

The biggest threat to your home may be attacking you right under your nose—or floors. Termites affect more than half a million homes in the U.S. each year. Unfortunately, these silent destroyers can go undetected for quite some time, often until the damage has harmed not only your home but also your wallet. If you’re not careful, you may be chipping into the $5 billion spent each year on termite-related expenses.

Concerned that your home may be at risk? There are several precautions you can take to lower your chances of a termite infestation. Check out these five ways to protect your home from termites.

1. Keep your yard and surrounding areas clear of wood.

Wood serves as both a habitat and food for termites. It’s best to remove all decaying wood, including dead trees and stumps, wood piles, and wooden structures (sheds, barns, etc.) sooner rather than later. The longer wood sits, the longer it has to rot and become a termite nesting ground.

If you do keep a scrap or firewood pile, maintain it in an area as far from your home as possible. Schedule regular burnings, and be sure to inspect the pile frequently during the summer, which is when termites begin mating. It’s also helpful to monitor wooden fences and decks to catch signs of termite damage as soon as possible. If termites have made their nest in your yard, they’ll be coming for your home next!

2. Reduce unnecessary moisture production.

Termites thrive in moist, damp areas. Whenever possible, use a dehumidifier to keep water levels down in unfinished areas of your home. Reduce moisture levels by maintaining and repairing leaky faucets, water pipes, and air conditioning units. Don’t allow water to puddle in crawl space or basement areas. Make sure to clean out gutters and downspouts to allow rainfall to flow away from your home, keeping the surrounding soil as dry as possible.

3. Maintain your landscaping.

Remove wooden mulch, damp soil, and overgrown greenery from around your home. These conditions, much like a rotting tree stump, provide food and shelter for termites and can become the perfect pit stop on the way into your home. Keeping shrubbery and trees closest to your home trimmed and manicured can also aid in bringing these pests out of the shadows. Be sure to clear plants and bushes away from vents in your home’s exterior as these entryways are where termites have the easiest access into the structure of your house.

4. Seal all of the exterior cracks on the structure of your home.

Use multi-purpose caulk, wood sealant, or paint to coat and protect your shingles, deck, and foundation. Termites can get into the drywall of your home through minuscule cracks, so be sure to address any areas that may become problematic. Repair wooden structures like decks, arbors, and trellises that are in direct contact with your home; damaged wood is the perfect entryway for hungry termites.

5. Schedule annual inspections with a Des Moines-area pest control professional.

Utilizing the help of a professional pest control agency will help you to protect your home and prevent termite infestation. Pest control professionals will be able to inspect problem spots and detect potential infestation areas. Unsure of whether your home is at risk? There are various ways pest control professionals can help keep your home free of termites, from inspection to control and removal of termites.

How to Detect a Termite Infestation

Potential warning signs of a termite infestation include the appearance of pale, sometimes winged, soft-bodied insects ranging from ¼ to ½” in size; the development of pencil-wide mud tubes on your foundation, walls, or joists; or damaged, hollowed-out wood.

Your house isn’t just the building you live in; it’s where you’ve built your life. Protect it. If you are concerned that your home may be under attack from termites or other pests, contact Springer Professional Home Services. Our team has been providing quality home care to the Des Moines area for decades. Our trained professionals will work with you from start to finish on your project, whether you need a routine inspection or a full-fledged removal. Call us today!