The best way to determine whether or not you have termites is by performing a thorough inspection on the interior and exterior. Mainly conducive conditions such as moisture issues, stucco below grade, and wood to ground contact are what we’re looking for. Moisture meters are used to detect abnormal moisture conditions in a structure. Sometimes there may be exit holes, but if there is activity, the holes will be packed with moist mud or dirt. They travel in mud tubes to keep the moisture content at a level that sustains life, and to keep predators such as ants from taking them over. Subterranean termites usually draw their moisture from the ground as they build their shelter (mud) tubes. To inspect for activity in trim work, you should be looking for any type of ripples around the window ledges, baseboards, and crown molding.
Unfortunately, there is really no fully do-it-yourself (DIY) method to treat for or prevent termites. It takes specialized equipment and the right bait system. In nearly all cases, you must also be certified and authorized to use the bait system. We use the Sentricon® Always Active™ system because it’s the best bait system on the market. It’s even used to protect some national landmarks around the US.
There are a few things you can do to help reduce the chances of termites invading your home if they haven’t already done so:
- Make sure that the caulking around your windows, indoors, and all entry points is kept up with
- Make sure that you have good flashing around your roof and around your chimney, if you have one
- Do not allow any scrap wood, firewood, or deadwood to remain in direct contact with the ground near your home
- Moisture mitigation is paramount
If you have a brick veneer, you must allow it to breathe by not closing the weep holes with mulch, silicone, or caulking. The weep holes are there for a reason: to let your home “weep” out moisture.
If the home is not sealed properly or the caulking is not applied correctly, those spaces can hold moisture. Subterranean termites are attracted to moisture.
Basically, you have to be on top of basic maintenance on your home. Moisture meters are a great tool, but if you see any anomalies or rippling on drywall, if the wall or floor feels cold compared to other areas of the house, it could indicate high levels of moisture. Moisture meters are a great tool that we use. One main thing to take away is to make sure that there’s no sustained moisture above ground level.