Most homeowners are required by insurance companies to maintain termite protection. However, if you've recently moved in to a home you're renting or have purchased it's hard to tell just how thorough that protection is. By familiarizing yourself with early warning signs, you can take a more active role in protecting your home against wood destroying insects.
It's Not Just Termites
While termites are the most well known wood destroying insects, they're hardly alone in that distinction. Ants, beetles, some species of crickets and even bees are known to chew or devour untreated wood. While there are pesticides available, not all termite contracts apply to damage from other insect species, so make sure you read the fine print on any protection plan you agree to.
Spotting non-termite insects can be tricky, though there are some key signs to watch for. Above ground signs can include mud tunnels, wood dust or warping of wooden structures. Also watch for signs of moisture damage in and around your home, as this can be a precursor to insect activity.
If you rent your home, make a habit of periodically checking around baseboards and along overhangs, especially during warmer months when insects are most active.
Traces of Termites
While other insects can destroy wood, termites actually devour it, which makes them noteworthy by comparison. Keep watch for signs of decay, both inside and outside of your home, as these can either be caused by termite activity or attract them to a food source. Most termite species focus only on decaying organic matter, so any signs of dry-rot or water damage can be a strong indicator.
Make sure you keep as much vegetation away from the base of your house as possible, to make early detection easier for both you and your termite protection company. While most plans include an annual inspection, signs of termite activity can crop up between checks. If you see something that looks like it might be a termite, or a mud tunnel built by subterranean insects, call for an early inspection. Whether or not this will include a fee will depend on your termite contract and your pest control provider.
Few things so small can wreak so much destruction, but termites can quickly turn into an issue that you won't soon forget. If you own your home, familiarize yourself with your termite protection contract, and find out just what is included. Don't rely on your annual inspection as your only means of identifying a problem though.
Have more questions? Contact a company like Hilo Termite and Pest to learn more.