Termites cause more than $5 billion of property damage in the US every year. They can live quietly in your walls or the soil around your home, causing damage without you knowing they’re there. The only defense is going on the offense, checking your home periodically for termites, but what attracts termites and what does the damage look like?
What Attracts Termites to Your Home?
First, termites are attracted to wood, such as firewood or lumber, and wood-based materials, like cardboard and newspapers. To find them, they might crawl into your home through access points, like cracks in your foundation. They’ll also look for decaying wood anywhere on your property.
Second, termites live in dark, moist, warm areas. In your home, this might be a crawl space with too much moisture in it. You can get an inspector to discover why an area is moist and recommend how to lower the moisture level.
Finally, moist soil attracts termites. Moist soil around your home can crack the concrete in your foundation, giving termites a path in. Leaky pipes, broken faucets, and improperly-positioned sprinklers can contribute to the problem. You can use downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks to carry water away.
Signs of Termite Damage
Now that you know what attracts termites, you might ask, “What does termite damage look like?” Here are some signs to look for on your North Carolina property:
- Wood floors with blisters, sagging, sponginess, or markings that look like water damage
- Tunnels in wood that look like mazes
- Mud tubes on outside walls
- Long grooves inside wooden walls and floors, which give the wood a hollow sound when hit
- Tiny holes in plaster or drywall
- Discarded termite wings (all about the same size) near entrance points to your home
- Small mounds of wood pellets that look like coffee grounds or sawdust
- Doors and windows that are suddenly difficult to open and close because they’ve been warped by termite tunnels
- Cracks in wooden beams, ceilings, cornices, walls, and rafters appearing for unknown reasons
If you find one or several of these signs in North Carolina—or actually see termites—you might have termite damage and possibly a colony. Professionals using pesticides and extermination gear are the surest, safest solution.