Most people will be surprised to learn that their property is more likely to be damaged by termites than by a fire. Termites can cause costly and widespread damage if not caught early. And, in many cases, homeowner’s insurance will not cover the damage. That’s why it’s important to recognize the signs that may indicate you have a termite problem.
The Cost of Termite Damage
Termites consume wood and cellulose-based materials (e.g., books, swimming pool liners, insulation) around the clock and never stop eating. They are capable of attacking almost every type of property. Reports have indicated that termites cause $5 billion worth of damage annually in the United States. That’s a lot of wood that needs to be repaired or replaced. Property owners may not realize that their homeowner’s insurance does not cover damage caused by termites. While trying to sell a home, a property inspection may reveal termites that could lower the value of the home and put a damper on the selling. Early detection is the only way to help combat the issue before it gets out of control.
Termites are tiny insects that resemble ants. Swarmers, flying termites with wings, are commonly seen during the spring when they emerge to search for places to build new colonies. They sometimes emerge from inside of homes and leave behind wings at doors and windowsills because they are attracted to light. Many termites, however, go undetected. Except for swarmers, termites aren’t very visible because they seek out soft wood and tunnel through the center where they can’t be caught by predators. Some signs that termites have become a problem include the presences of termite swarmers, termite wings, termite frass, and termite mud tubes.
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It’s usually easier to detect termites by the damage they cause to property. Any structure or components that are wooden or cellulose-based are susceptible to infestations. Even homes and business that are primarily built of stone and bricks can sustain termite damage in wooden support structures and components. Early detection is vital because structural damage can decrease property value and leave unsafe conditions. Termites are commonly found damaging the following structures:
- Floor and wood trim
- Walls and ceilings
- Decks and fences
- Roofs and tiles
Termites are eating machines capable of devouring any structure made out of wood. A property owner may have had termites for a long time without even knowing it. The damage sustained can be very costly. Detecting the presence of termites early on is the best way to avoid ongoing issues.