How to keep termites from invading your home

How to keep termites from invading your home

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They're tiny and hard to find, but termites cause billions of dollars of damage each year in the United States. They're tiny and hard to find, but termites cause billions of dollars of damage each year in the United States.
Subterranean termites are what we have in East Tennessee. They thrive in the soil. Subterranean termites are what we have in East Tennessee. They thrive in the soil.
"Well, this is the time of year that the termites swarm out. What they're doing is they're trying to reproduce," said Mark Nadolski, owner and operator of Russell's Pest Control. "Well, this is the time of year that the termites swarm out. What they're doing is they're trying to reproduce," said Mark Nadolski, owner and operator of Russell's Pest Control.
"People get confused between between a swarming ant and a swarming termite. The way to tell the difference, two easy ways, the ant has a waist as you see right here. The termite is a straight body," explained Nadolski. "People get confused between between a swarming ant and a swarming termite. The way to tell the difference, two easy ways, the ant has a waist as you see right here. The termite is a straight body," explained Nadolski.
By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - They're tiny and hard to find, but termites cause billions of dollars of damage each year in the United States.

Spring is when large numbers of these silent destroyers do their damage. You can take action, but do it quickly.

Termites hide and thrive in your home or yard without any immediate sign of damage. Subterranean termites are what we have in East Tennessee. They thrive in the soil.

Termites like to settle in beside your house where they search for food. Unprotected homes offer a smorgasbord for these tiny creatures that flourish in the spring.

"Well, this is the time of year that the termites swarm out. What they're doing is they're trying to reproduce," said Mark Nadolski, owner and operator of Russell's Pest Control.

He says the months of April and May are typically when large numbers of termites swarm to disperse and start new colonies.

"The body style changes completely, out they swarm, they mate and back into the ground they go again. This is the time of year that occurs," said Nadolski. "We rarely see them unless we are doing some repairs to our homes. We might open a wall up and find them."

Termites can enter your home through cracks in the foundation. If you see a mud trail, that indicates infestation. So keep any wood away from your home.

"We're always going to look for places where there is a lot of moisture. These insects don't like to tunnel through wood that is hard," said Nadolski.

So, termites look for soft wood which is easier for them to process. They'll seek moisture around windows and around crawl places where there are roof leaks. In order to be termite free, you should eliminate moisture problems.

"We would recommend not putting mulch up against the structure. Quite often the termites come with the mulch," said Nadolski.

Nadolski shared some tips for keeping your home termite free:    
  • Remove excess mulch and plant cover from around your house.
  • Keep firewood and any lumber away from your foundation
  • Divert water away from the foundation
  • Seal entry points around utility lines or pipes
It's the subterranean termites we see in East Tennessee. They look a lot like ants.

"People get confused between between a swarming ant and a swarming termite. The way to tell the difference, two easy ways, the ant has a waist as you see right here. The termite is a straight body," explained Nadolski. "The body is long; it's elongated. On the ant, it has a tiny waist. Much like a Coke bottle."

Professionals use bait or liquid chemicals to eliminate termites.

"You're going to have a better, more effective result with a professional than you will trying to do it yourself," he said.

Ridding a home of termites requires special skills. Do-it-yourself products, sold at many big box stores, are okay if a mailbox post, sandbox or other small wooden object is not attached to the house was infested.

A knowledge of building construction is needed to identify critical areas where termites are likely to enter and typical treatment may involve hundreds of gallons of liquid pesticide.

That's why termite treatment is a job for professionals.

Since a home is a family's biggest investment, having a professional handle termites might be more prudent.
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