Termite damage costs United States homeowners a staggering $5 billion each year, but it can be difficult to prevent termites if you don’t know the ways you may be attracting them to your home in the first place! Here are some of the ways you could be setting your home up for a termite invasion.
Subterranean Termites on Long Island
On Long Island and throughout New York, the active species of termites we deal with are Subterranean termites. Subterranean termites are social insects, meaning the termites live in colonies and the individual insects have specialized roles, such as reproducers or swarmers, workers, and soldiers. These termites love to feed on the cellulose in wood, leaves, and organic matter, and even though they do prefer damp or rotting wood, they’ll also feed on lumber that’s in good condition, too!
Subterranean termites create colonies in the ground near sources of wood, and the colony’s workers build mud tubes to move from place to place so they can forage for food and infest structures.
What Attracts Termites?
In general, termites like Long Island’s subterranean species create colonies near sources of food, and since termites love feasting on soft, rotting, or otherwise moist, decayed wood, they’re often found as close to it as possible! If your house and yard aren’t properly maintained, you could be creating prime environments for termite colonies to thrive.
1. Firewood and Wood Piles
It’s been a cold and snowy winter on Long Island! Do you have firewood stacked against your house right now for easy access? Beware—doing so can draw termites to your home and give them an easy point of entry.
2. Poor Drainage
Cleaning the gutters is a necessary evil for Long Island homeowners. Termites love moisture, and clogged gutters provide just that.
3. Excess Foliage
As mentioned, termites love to feed on the cellulose in wood, and even dead trees and stumps will attract these insects. Clear all stumps and dead trees from your yard!
4. Mulch Around Your Home
Though it makes for an aesthetically pleasing landscaping solution, mulch is a common source of food for termites. Wood mulch chips also retain moisture, which makes termites love it even more! Minimize any use of wood mulch around your home to help prevent termites, and if you do use it, try to keep it at least 15 or more inches away from your foundation.
Do you have tree limbs or leaves reaching over to your home’s roof or exterior? That can serve as a pathway for termites, and in shadier areas, even lead to excess moisture buildup.
6. Clogged Gutters
Leaf and twig buildup in your gutters not only creates an abundance of moisture, but can also lead to rotting on your roof, and these soft spots can attract termites.
Signs of Termites
There are several indicators for Long Island homeowners that you may be dealing with a termite colony. Even if you don’t see a physical termite, they may be stealthily damaging your property behind the scenes. If you see any of these signs of termites, contact a professional as soon as possible:
Shortly after mating, termite swarmers shed their wings. If you see piles of wings on areas like your porch or windows, you may have a termite infestation.
As mentioned earlier, subterranean termites build mud tubes which help them travel to and from their food sources and colony. If you see mud tunnels in the ground or inside wood on your property, that’s a red flag.
Frass is the term for the small, pellet-shaped, brown droppings termites leave behind, often looking like wood particles or sawdust.
Once termites have been quietly working in the background, you may notice physically damaged wood. A trained pest control company can easily identify whether or not your damaged wood is from termites or if you have another type of structural issue.
What Damage Do Termites Cause?
Termite infestations are not only dangerous to your home’s structural integrity, but termite damage is rarely covered by homeowner’s insurance, which is why homeowners rack up billions of dollars each year in repair costs.
How to Prepare for Termite Season
Swarmer season will be here soon. Here are a few simple tips to prevent termites from damaging your home:
- Limit soil-to-wood contact for all structures located on your property, including houses, sheds, garages, etc.
- Try keeping any wood piles at least 20 feet away from your house in a nice, dry spot at least 5 inches above the ground instead.
- Reduce moisture levels inside your home
- Repair or replace leaking pipes and/or fixtures
- Replace water-damaged wood
- Ensure your gutters are clear and working properly, with water flowing away from your home’s foundation to minimize moisture.
- Regularly trim tree branches back from your house.
Protect Your Home from Termites Year-Round
Termites pose serious risks for Long Island homeowners, and their removal should be handled by professionals with the proper knowledge and tools who can identify and solve your termite problem with minimal risk of further damaging your home.
Suburban Exterminating is a leading Long Island termite exterminator specializing in termite control and prevention. As Authorized Operators of the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System, we offer Long Islanders a highly effective yet eco-friendly solution to termite infestations, as well as conventional termite treatments. To schedule a free termite inspection for your home, call or text (631/516) 864-6900!