This article about termite damage is one of the biggest pest issues in the United States, costing a billion dollars each year. It is estimated that 95% of termite damage in the country is caused by subterranean termites.
These scavengers will feed on any wood that is in contact with soil, including a home’s foundation or piers, exterior siding, roofing, porches and railings. They can also attack wood inside the home, such as a wall or ceiling joists.
They are attracted to cellulose, which is the organic material that makes up most of the fibers in wood, so they will feed on any source of cellulose. They also have an excellent sense of smell and can detect a small amount of moisture in the air.
When termites eat wood they cause a lot of damage. For example, a colony of 60,000 worker termites can consume one foot of 2 x 4 wood in just five months.
Another way termites can damage a home is by tunneling through the wooden structure and invading the subfloor. This is when a professional termite inspection is recommended.
How Much Termite Damage Is Too Much
Once termites have gotten inside your home, it is usually very difficult to repair the damage by yourself. A termite expert can identify the extent of the damage and develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes monitoring and periodic treatments.
Besides identifying and eliminating the termite colonies, termite experts can apply a foam treatment that is designed to protect against future infestations by acting as an antimicrobial barrier for the termites. This product is typically based on fipronil, but there are also other effective alternatives such as boric acid or diatomaceous earth.