Termites are a real threat anywhere and everywhere. But termites are especially a threat here in Oklahoma City between the months of March and June. This is when you need to be on watch and on guard against termites, and when you need to consider the help of an OKC pest control pro.
There are a number of steps you can take on your own to help you avoid a termite infestation. Let’s take a look at them now:
#1 - Remove Wood Around Your House
Since termites eat wood, particularly rotting or moist wood, you can start by removing any rotting or moist wood from close proximity to your home. Move firewood away from your home as well as stakes or wooden decorations. This is an easy fix.
Also, are there form boards in the ground leftover from when your foundation was poured? This is a very common problem. Often form board on the inside of the foundation walls can provide easy access to your home structure. The point here is to remove any non-essential wood, which can provide a bridge from the soil or other infested wood back to your home.
#2 – The Soil Grade Along Your House
Is your soil grade too high along the outside perimeter of your home? A good example is on a brick home. Most new brick homes have weep holes near the bottom of the surface. These weep hole provide for drainage of condensation from between the brick and the sheathing inside a wall.
If your soil grade is high enough that it covers the weep hole, you now have a perfect protected and moist entrance directly to your structure. Also, too high of grade can allow moisture to flow into the base plates of your frame. This excess moisture creates rotten, moist wood that is a conducive condition for termite infestation.
The same goes for siding home and stucco homes. Termites will eat through any cellulose material. If your grade is too high, the termites have an excellent bridge to wood that is highly at risk for rot and moisture.
#3 - Windows Are a Concern
Windows are a major concern. Have you ever noticed that windows in older homes seem to nearly always have moisture damage at the bottom corners? As windows age, they often allow small amounts of water to enter the structure. Over time, the wood rots and larger cracks and holes develop both inside and outside of the window.
Termites can easily find their way into this moist environment. Windows are often a starting point for termites. Windows are also a good location to find kick out holes and fecal pellets which are often a telltale sign of an infestation.
The lesson here is to closely monitor and maintain your windows. You should not allow windows to let water enter the home. Repair them as soon as possible and always be sure to replace any rotten or moist cellulose materials around the windows.
#4 - Rotting Wood Along the Eaves
Rotting wood around your soffit and fascia along the eaves of your home presents a serious risk. When you allow many cracks and openings to form here, you give Alates, or swarmers as they are better known, easy access to your attic.
Attics often provide all of the essentials for termites to set up shop. Heaters and air conditioners can sometimes provide condensation, and very small roof leaks can cause rot on structural pieces. From the attic, termites can easily travel down the interior of walls completely unnoticed. They can follow plumbing stub-outs to find moisture and easy access all the way to the soil below your home. The fix is to ensure there is no rotting or moist wood on your siding, soffit, fascia, and eaves. Ensure there are no broken screens on vents and no cracks or openings to your attic. Also, ensure there are no leaks in your roof.
#5 – Check For Pooled Water
These voracious insects, like most living creatures, need water for their survival, so leaking faucets and water pipes are prime real estate for them. Fixing the water leak is only part of the problem – you also need to make sure the termite colony is eliminated.
#6 – Any Crawl Spaces
Subterranean termites love these parts of your home because they are sheltered from the elements and usually provide an almost unlimited supply of food and water. Keeping your home properly ventilated will help prevent a buildup of moisture in crawl spaces, making them less attractive to termites. You should also cover any exposed soil surfaces within your crawl spaces with plastic sheeting because this helps prevent termites from burrowing in from underneath.
#7 – Plants and Flowers
If you have large potted plants or flowers near your home, these provide an ideal refueling station for termites. The same applies to bushes or shrubs in your garden. Cut them back from the walls of your home. Otherwise, you’re putting out the red carpet for an invasion of hungry termites. Also, remove all dead trees from your property because they provide an ideal food source for these pests.
#8 – Physical Testing To Check
The first sign that you may have a serious termite infestation is to knock on any wooden surface you suspect might be a host. If you hear a hollow sound, there’s a good chance some termites have made that particular piece of wood their home. The only way you can be certain is to drill an exploratory hole, but that’s best left in the hands of a professional pest control company – you could hit electrical wiring or plumbing lines if you don’t know what you’re doing.
#9 – Damaged Wood Around Your House
Odd-looking patches of mud on wooden surfaces are more giveaways for a termite infestation. What’s basically happened is that the termites have hollowed out that piece of wood, damaging the surface in the process. The “mud” you see is their way of patching up holes in their new home and is a sure sign you have an active colony.
#10 – Mud Tubes & Tunnels
Even if you’ve missed all the other signs that you have a termite problem, the presence of mud tubes/tunnels confirms the infestation. You’ll find the mud tubes in your home have provided the path of least resistance for them to get inside – usually near a crack in a wall, rotted wood, or through a crawl space. These mud tubes and tunnels connect the underground termite nests to the sources of food and water for the colony. An easy way to test if termites are still active in your home is to crack open one of the mud tubes. If it gets repaired you still have a problem. If not, the colony has either died off or moved on.
#11 – Swarming Termites
These look like flying ants and will be attracted to light sources in or near your home. Even if you don’t witness a swarm of flying termites, you might find thousands of small insect wings around your home or caught in spiders’ webs. Termites shed their wings when they’re leaving one colony to start another one. Discarded wings are signs you have a serious infestation.
#12 – Termite Droppings
Depending on the type of termite you have eating your home away, you might find termite droppings. You don’t need to be a termite expert to spot these â they look like tiny pellets of animal waste.
#13 - Hire an OKC Pest Control Pro
Lastly, hire a pest control professional to monitor your home. Let them climb through the attic and check for rot under windows. They will have the expertise to check thoroughly. Listen to their recommendations for minor repairs where rot may exist. Most will provide monitoring stations which are a great tool for identifying an infestation. Don’t try to do it alone.