Mid-March is the start of termite swarm season. Through the beginning of May, termites will be leaving their colonies to reproduce and start new ones. They can stay hidden in the wooden areas of your home for years.
The crew at Terminix is encouraging homeowners to get a professional inspection at least once a year. Repairing the damage termites cause is a lot more expensive than preventing the damage. The most obvious sign of a swarm is a winged termite, but there are other indications of infestation.
Raymond Newton, Terminix branch manager, said, "Termite tubes go from the ground to the structure which are generally a mud tube. It's about the size of a pencil that comes up the slab or in your home. [If you have termites] you can also see dirt falling from the insides of your walls."
Termites can eat just about anything made of wood, including furniture, wallpaper, and books. A mature colony of termites can eat more than a pound of wood a day.
Keith Walton, lead termite tech, said, "I've been under a few houses where the whole seal around the outside of the house - the structural part of it - beams [were] broken in half due to the lack of strength, and the house could come down."
Termite swarms can be treated and damage is preventable. They enter homes through small openings around the foundation, so moving dirt and mulch away from your home can keep termites out.
You should also fix plumbing leaks because termites need moisture to survive above ground. Finally, keep a screen on your windows, doors, and other openings to protect your home.
There are a few things you can look for during termite season to watch out for the troublesome insects: discarded termite wings - usually found near doors and in window sills could mean trouble. Check for infested wood; it'll sound hollow when you tap it. And look for mud tubes -pathways the size of drinking straws that termites use to travel above ground.