Of the variety of pests and insects, termites can easily be classified as the “silent home killer”, ranking as one of the most dangerous and damaging insects in our home.
Termite are “silent destroyers” of homes for a simple reason – their damage are usually unnoticeable until a few months or years later.
However, there are tell-tale signs of termites which you can spot and take action immediately.
In this article we look at the signs of termite damages, as well as preventive measures you can take to reduce chances of termite damages. We also take a look at the ways you can kill termites and protect yourself against future damages.
What are termites?
(picture adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc)
Termites are small, pale soft-bodied insect that primarily feed on cellulose, a part of wood, but also damage paper, books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners and filtration systems.
While termite workers only measure approximately 1 cm to a few millimeters in length, their feeding habits are capable of causing costly damage to property.
Signs of termites
We have covered more in-depth on tell-tale signs of termites.
Types of termites
We have covered previously on the most common types of termites. They are as follow:
Subterranean termites; this termite species are about 1/8 to 1” long with long oval and narrow shapes like all other types of species.
They have a cream brown appearance and like Formosan termites, they live underground in colonies or in wet areas above the ground where there’s soil.
They’ll consume wallpapers, plastics, and wood as well as fabric materials from plants.
Dampwood termites prefer damp and rotting wood which they’ll use to get access inside your home. This is especially through wood which meets damp soil on the ground near your house.
They’re larger in size (0.5-0.7”) compared to other termites and have a long narrow and oval shape.
They’re brown in color.
Drywood termites; they will use roof line or exposed wood to get into your house especially in your attic.
Look for holes or frass near dry wood which they’ve created galleries in and most likely are feeding on it and they don’t require moisture to survive.
They’re about 3/8” long and are oval shaped with long narrow bodies. They’re lighter in color compared to dampwood termites
How Do You Get A Termite Infestation?
Subterranean termites, who build their colonies in the soil, are attracted to moisture. Still water in or around home’s foundation creates an attractive environment for these termites.
This opens up a multitude of factors that can cause termites infestation. Leaky pipes, clogged roof gutters and drainage can create attractive, moist environment for the termites.
2. Wood and wooden structure that comes into contact with your home
Termites primarily feed on cellulose, an essential component of wood. Any wood-like materials in contact with your home’s exterior serve as a point of entry for termites.
3. Openings in your home foundation, roofs or walls
Termites will take advantage of any breach in your home’s integrity in search for moisture and food.
Cracks in home foundation concrete offer opportunities for subterranean termites to gather materials for the construction of their mud tubes, the tunnels by which they travel in their foraging.
After examining what may cause termite infestations, we take a look at the preventive measure we can take to eliminate these infestations:
1. Eliminate moisture problems
Given the tropical climate of some countries, this issue may be difficult to solve. However, here are a few things you can do to reduce the changes of termite infestations:
- Fix leaky faucets, water pipes and A/C units.
- Keeping gutters and drainage system unclogged
- Remove excessive plant cover and wood mulch
- Getting ride of still water, especially open drains and on roofs
- Keep all vents clear and open
- Seal entry points around water and utility lines or pipes
2. Removing contact between wood materials and home exterior
Periodically check and remove any any stumps, vines, mulch, trellises or other exterior wood that is in close proximity to your home. If you stay in a landed property, note that your roof may be vulnerable to termite infestation.
Here are a few actions you can take to further trim down the chances of termite infestations:
- Trim back any tree limbs that are resting on your roof or touching wooden structures such as eaves or window framing.
- Get rid of stumps and debris near house
- Check decks and wooden fences for damage
- Wood on your home shouldn’t contact the soil
3. Periodic monitoring, checking for activities
Since termite damages may be hard to detect (or even notice at all), periodic monitoring reduces the chances of termite infestations and allows you to take action before the infestation worsens. Below are a few things you can do for periodic monitoring:
- Do periodic checks on the entry points to your home (windows, doors), as well as look for any loose or defective seals where electrical conduit or plumbing lines enter your home.
- Ensure that simple problems such as leaky pipes and cracks in wall are dealt with quickly to prevent termite build-up.
- Inspect the wood in your home and check for hollowness
- Monitoring stations — ask a pest management professional to recommend prevention techniques around your home, which could include monitoring stations, liquid treatment or direct wood treatment. Monitoring stations are the least intrusive option since they serve as warning signs of activity; however, they do not provide any protection against infestations. Proactive treatment can help protect your home against future infestations.
- You can schedule a periodic maintenance with a professional pest control company to protect your home against these termite infestations.
Termite Inspection & Removal
These are the general ways to prevent subterranean, drywood, Formosa and dampwood termites infestations.
Most of these tests can be easy for homeowners to do themselves. However, pest control professionals have extensive knowledge about termite biology, habits, and building methods. They can perform more complete and efficient examinations. They also have the best tools to find termite nests, determine the extent of the damage, and provide termite control.
Should you face any problems, feel free to contact our list of verified professional pest control company which they would gladly consult you regarding your problems.
DIY termite control methods
We strongly encourage you to seek for professional help if your home is infested with termites. However, there are preventive measures you can take to reduce the chances of termite infestations.
Here are 10 tips to protect your greatest investment from termites:
- Eliminate or reduce moisture in and around the home. Most termites like living in dark and moist environment – reducing these areas in your home reduces the chances of them breeding.
- Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and exterior AC units.
- Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles.
- Replace weather stripping and loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
- Divert water away from the house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and drainage system.
- Have a periodic inspection of your home for signs of mud tubes, uneven or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
- Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, doorframes and skirting boards for any noticeable changes. You can view here for visible signs of termite damage.
- Maintain an 20-30cm gap between soil and any wood portions of your home.
- Scheduling a professional pest inspection annually. Wood-boring insect damage is not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies.
- Keep external wood/wood-material items away as far away home.
Termites cannot be controlled with do-it-yourself measures.
If you suspect a termite infestation, contact a licensed pest professional immediately to determine the extent of the problem and receive a recommendation of an appropriate course of treatment.
Find reliable pest control companies in Singapore
SGHomeNeeds provides a list of reliable pest control companies in Singapore. Pest control companies typically deals with the following infestations:
- insects: ants, bed bugs, termites, wasps, fleas, lizards, cockroaches
- rodents: mice, rats
If you are looking for pest control professionals to match your personalised requirements, you can contact SGHomeNeeds HomeMatch for a more quick and fuss-free experience.
Read more about how to select a good pest control company in Singapore.
Find out more about frequently-asked questions when engaging a pest control professional.
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