Termite infestation damaged interior wall

Termite damaged interior wall

Finding out that you may have a termites infestation can be one of the scariest things that a homeowner can find out in regards to pest related issues.  The damage and cost potential is huge.  Preferably, you can take measures to prevent termite infestation in the first place or at minimum, catch it while it is still relatively new and minimize the negative effects.  Below are answers to the four most common questions of Portland residents regarding termites.

How can you tell if you have a termite infestation?

However, you may be able to spot a tube, an approximately ½” exterior tunnel of soil, wood and debris. These tubes serve to protect the termites from predators when in exposed areas. Sections of wood that are virtually missing or are full of holes and looks like Swiss cheese or a honey-comb are another obvious indicator. Painted surfaces that appear cracked and are mostly hollow inside are often present with an infestation. Finally, there is visually observing either their pellets (waste) expelled in a pile commonly below an extraction hole in a piece of wood or the termites themselves.

When and How Often Should You Treat for Termites?

If taking a preventative approach, every 5 to 7 years should suffice. Whether to treat preventatively is a judgment call. In the Portland area, while we certainly have and treat for termites, they are not one of the most common pests we have. So on one hand, you may choose to direct your preventative maintenance dollars elsewhere. On the other hand however, on average no pest causes more damage and is more costly than termites. The cost of an infestation can easily go into several thousand dollars if it goes unnoticed for just a couple years and most homeowners don’t go into there crawlspaces that often.

If you have had a previous termite infestation that was successfully treated you may be more susceptible to having them come back. In this case, checking the previously infested and treated area every year or two would be wise. A good termite treatment should last at least five years and possibly upwards of ten, but there is no substitute for periodic visual inspection.

To see some termites, here are a couple links to both a termite sketch and a termite photo.

What Type of Damage Can Termites Do?

Unlike carpenter ants that just chew wood as a means of excavating paths and living space, termites actually eat wood and one component that houses and other structures have plenty of is wood. Common wood damage caused by termites are posts, joists, sub-floors, studs, sills, and siding – basically any wood structural component found in a house, particularly those in the lower parts. Often either walls or floor need to be torn apart in order to get complete access to repair the structural components. When you have to replace structural wood, all of the components cover it need to be removed and redone. Since load bearing components can’t simply be removed and replaced without adequate precautions, larger problems might require much planning. Just like with a remodeling project, there will be loss of use of the infected areas.

Where do Termites Live (or Come From?)

As inferred to above, termites are most commonly found in crawlspaces, walls, floors and sometimes even migrate to attics and roofs. For their own protection, they create narrow mud tubes that run from ground level up to their point of entry into the structure. They live inside of wood components themselves.

But often this can be just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. With subterranean termites, one of the types found in the Portland area, the massive colonies live predominately underground. While workers will forage into the structures wood, the biggest part of the colony remains underground. Termites can also live in wooded areas near your house and venture over to your home to establish a colony.

If you are in need of protection from termites, call us today. We are eager to help.