Termites are a homeowner's absolute worst nightmare. Every year in the U.S., about 600,000 homes are damaged by termites. Termite damage can cost a single homeowner an average of $3,000 in repairs alone. Compared to that, the average cost of a pest control service only averages between $109 and $284, which is only three to nine percent of the aforementioned repair costs. In areas like Georgia and Tallahassee termite control is a serious issue, but how do you know when it's time to call in an exterminator?
- Tap the wood around your home. Does it sound hollow? That could be evidence of termites. Termites eat cellulose found in wood and typically nest inside walls. Be sure to tap any areas where you notice small holes, and see if any small pellets fall out. These are fecal pellets and almost surely indicate infestation.
- Be on the lookout for swarmers. Swarmers are flying termite or ants that are responsible for creating new colonies. If you don't see any physical swarmers, but you're finding discarded insect wings, that could be evidence of a colony and infestation.
- Check the backyard. If you have any old or rotting tree stumps or you keep firewood in your yard, be sure to get those checked. In general, it's best to keep firewood at least 20 feet away from your home and five feet off of the ground and to remove the stump completely.
- Look for mud tubes on exterior walls. A lot of subterranean termites construct dirt or mud tubes to protect themselves or provide moisture when reaching their food source. Cut open the tube and look for termites. Just remember that even if you don't find them, it doesn't mean there aren't any. They may have simply abandoned that tube.
- Is there any damaged wood or warped paint? If there are cracks, it could be evidence of termite activity. Termites may use cracks to enter homes, or they may have even been caused by the termites themselves. If there is dry mud inside the cracks, it likely means there are already termites present.
If you suspect termite activity in your home, call pest control. A standard bug guard spray will not be enough to rid your home of termites. Pest control services are the best hope for purging your home of termites, and can save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in the long run.