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Tips on How to Protect Your Home from Termites

Do you think you might have a termite infestation? 

Termites are a species of wood-boring insects:  this means that they attack the wood in your property, which weakens the structure of your home. Even properties built primarily of brick or stone can still suffer from termite damage because structural supports - as well as other building components - are constructed of wood and other cellulose-based materials; the substances on which termites like to feed. Termites have symbiotic flagellates or bacteria in their hind guts that enable them to break down plant cellulose to a digestible form.

Termite damage - What to look for: 

A termite infestation can be hard to spot as termites live underground and eat away at wood from the inside. Termite damage can result in millions of Rands, as they can steadily eat away at the structure of your home for years without any obvious signs to alert you to the damage they are causing.  When you consider that untreated termite damage can cause your house to become structurally unstable, it’s no wonder that termite damage is so costly, and that termite control is so important.

The first step in protecting your property from these relentless pests is to know what to look for. Many people confuse termites with ants, with termites sometimes being called ‘white ants’ or ‘flying ants’. Ants, like wasps, have a constriction half way down their body, whereas in termites the body is uniformly broad.  The prominent mounds in the South African countryside are caused by termites, not ants, and termite workers can be both male and female. Learn more about termite species.

Be on the lookout for the following signs of an infestation: termite swarms, mud tubes and piles of discarded wings. After the termites swarm, which is typically during warm spring days, they can shed their wings and leave piles of them behind. Anywhere around your home where it is in contact with the soil can be a potential termite entrance.

Termite control tips to exercise at home:

Termites need two things to survive: wood and moisture, so minimising access to these is a good start in protecting your home. Whilst it is always best to get a professional pest control company in to survey for termites, our experts advise that there are a few practical termite control tips that homeowners can employ to protect their homes.  Wood that directly touches soil gives termites easy access to your property. Regular inspection of the below may help to spot early signs of termites.

  • Fence posts, trellises or landscaping ties
  • Firewood stacked up against the house
  • Mulch that touches the house
  • Structural supports
  • Wood debris (often from building) buried in the soil

A seemingly small leak can create perfect moisture conditions for termites. Whenever possible, try to fix the following, which may discourage termite activity around your property:

  • Leaky taps
  • Leaky gutters and downspouts that leave water near the foundation
  • Ground sloping toward the foundation
  • Insufficient ventilation in basements and crawl spaces

At Rentokil, our experts often hear the following from homeowners “I don’t see any signs of termites, so do I need to worry about a preventive plan?” Our response to this is that the warning signs can be subtle and often go unnoticed until structural damage has already occurred.

See more termite control tips you can implement to prevent termites in your home.

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