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How to Know When a Structure is Lost to Termite Damage

June 28, 2022
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Termites are among the most destructive pests that can enter any household. These insects eat through the wooden structures in a house, putting you and your housemates at risk during heavy weather. After all, they can damage ceilings, exposing your house to rain, snow, and other similar hazards. If not treated, your house may even deteriorate entirely.

So how do you know if a structure in your house is lost to termite damage? It depends on different factors, including the appearance and extent of the termite damage. Some hollowed-out wood frames can be salvaged if there is still enough material to allow fillers to settle in. However, a structure with extensive damage needs to be replaced entirely.

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How to Spot Termite Damage

Termites can destroy entire houses and businesses if you don’t catch them in time. Since houses are made from wood, the termites see the structures as a possible food source or a place where their colonies can thrive. 

Although it’s not a common practice, one of the best ways to catch termite damage before it’s too late is to inspect the wooden framework in the drywall. But of course, it’s best to hire professional exterminators to make it easier to find these insects.

1) Look for Wall Pinholes and Mud Tunnels

Termites destroy wood by making pinholes in them using their teeth. These pinholes may not be visible from afar, since they are quite small. A closer inspection of your walls and ceilings will make it easier to find these pinholes. These act as entry and exit points for some termites, especially if their colony is hidden deep beneath the walls and ceilings.

Mud tunnels are another sign of termite damage. These tubes provide termites with protection from direct sunlight and dry air. These two things can kill them since they thrive in humid and dark areas. You can usually find these mud tunnels quite easily, usually in areas like wooden closets, doors, walls, and ceilings. 

2) Inspect the Paint Job

Termites damage the wooden interiors of your structures, making them hollow from the inside. Because of this infestation, the paint job of the walls and ceilings may also become affected. If you find air bubbles or flaky parts in your paint job, it is a common sign that you have termites in your home. There are some companies that sell specialized termite-proof paint. You can look into these to protect your walls from damage from termites.

3) Check the Floorboards

The floorboards of your house may also show signs of termite damage. These may be less visible to you since floors are less prominent in the house than walls and ceilings. Although it is common for some floorboards to make these sounds, louder creaking can indicate weaker structural integrity from termite damage.

If you use soft wood as the material for your flooring, then it is advisable to check on these floorboards as soon as you can. 

How to Prevent Termite Damage

Termites are resilient, and unless you hire an exterminator to fully remove them from your property, they may keep on popping back up to wreak havoc in your house. If you are lucky enough to have a termite-free house, there are a few methods you can apply to prevent these insects from damaging your home.

1) Keep the Soil Foundation Dry

Termites are easily attracted to wet areas. These insects thrive on moisture and are likely to infest houses where the soil foundation is moist. Water should be directed away from your house and into gutters. In addition, any faucets, water pipes, and other sources of moisture should be closed at all times. Besides attracting termites, these could also erode the structures around your home. 

2) Close Any Unnecessary Openings

Termites enter the house through gaps in the structures. These are most common when the wooden parts of a house come in close contact with the soil. The termites find ways to easily travel through windows, doors, and cracks on the floorboards. During home repair, it’s best to minimize contact between the wood and soil to prevent termites from entering the house.

3) Fix Leaky Pipes

Leaky pipes also attract termites due to the moisture they provide. These pipes should be fixed as soon as possible to prevent excess water from coming into contact with the soil. The moisture acts as an invitation for termites. Additionally, the water may come into contact with wood—providing more food sources for the termites.

4) Keep Vents Clean

Ventilation systems should be cleaned routinely. Dirty vents can act as passageways for termites, especially when they are near wooden structures. Another common termite breeding ground is the bathroom since it is one of the areas with the most amount of moisture. Additionally, vents also catch some of the steam from hot showers, which provides them with the right environment for breeding.

Make routine inspections of your ventilation systems to prevent termites from breeding. You can do this by dusting off the covers and washing them with soap. Vacuum the passageways to get rid of dirt and excess moisture. 

5) Conduct Routine Inspections

Termites may take years before they show visible signs of infestation. At this point, they may have eaten through a sizable portion of your wooden frames. One of the best ways to catch these termites before they do damage is to conduct regular inspections. You can do a termite inspection by yourself by knocking on walls and ceilings to check for hollow spaces. 

Additionally, you can also look out for mud tunnels in rooms where moisture is common. Overall, routine inspections are good methods of getting an idea of whether it’s time to seek help from the professionals, especially if the telltale signs are bothersome already.

What Are the Different Ways to Get Rid of Termites?

Termites can be persistent—simply burning them off might do more harm to your house than the termites themselves. There are different ways you can use to eradicate them from your home, some better working than others.

1) Non-Chemical Treatments

Some people use non-chemical treatments, such as physical and steel barriers, to prevent termites from entering a home. These only work for cases where termites have been spotted in the surrounding soil but not the house itself.

Physical Barriers

Physical barriers can be used to prevent termites from penetrating wooden surfaces. These are placed across different areas of a home, especially those with multiple cracks. These may come in the form of sand barriers or basaltic sheets. There are also physical membranes composed of polymer sheets, which come with a coating of termiticide. 

Barriers can be scattered across the yard to surround the house. They may also be modified or painted to fit the aesthetic of the surrounding house. 

For maximum effect, you can opt to use paint that has termite-repellent ingredients. You can ask around your nearby hardware store if they have termite-proof paint in stock. These usually have eco-friendly ingredients, so they can be safe for use around children and pets.

Steel Mesh

A steel mesh is a form of physical barrier that is applied on top of a house’s slab foundation. These are commonly found in areas surrounding a large pipe. They are made from stainless steel with no openings, preventing the termites from finding ways to enter the house. Steel meshes are especially useful for barns and farmhouses. 

2) Chemical Treatments

Chemical treatments are a common method for getting rid of termites. They can be bought in bulk in hardware stores. Most people use them in combination with physical barriers for maximum effect. Some variants come in spray bottles that you can use to apply the pesticide by yourself. Make sure to wear gloves to avoid skin irritation, as chemicals like boric acid can trigger allergic reactions in some people. 

However, the more premium-grade chemicals are best suited for professional use. If you have a home-wide infestation curable only by chemical treatments, it helps to hire an exterminator so you can spread the chemical via a spray tank. Make sure to wear protective gear like goggles, face masks, and gloves when handling certain chemicals. 


Pesticides specifically designed for termites, also known as “termiticides,” act as repellents for termite colonies. When applied to wooden surfaces, they can help prevent termites from penetrating through the barrier and eating through structures. Some of the common ones include chlorpyrifos and lindane. 

These chemicals are mixed with water at a fixed ratio to make them safe and effective. Follow the directions in the packaging to ensure you don’t dilute the solution. Too much water can make the chemical less deadly for termites. 

Termite Baits

Termite baits are a different approach to pesticides since they function like small traps placed within the most common infestation sites around a home. The bait contains cellulose, a chemical component of wood that attracts termites. The cellulose is mixed together with an insecticide that targets termites. 

Unlike other termiticides, the chemicals used in baits are slow-acting, preventing the termites from easily identifying which areas to avoid. Instant-kill chemicals are less effective as bait since other termites don’t lure their colony members to the food source. Baits are best used as a preventive measure since they may not work to wipe out large colonies of termites. 

Wood Treatment

You can also apply chemicals directly onto the wood to prevent termite infestation. One of the most common wood treatments is borate, an insect repellent that comes in sprayable form. You can apply the borate onto the wood before painting or laying wallpaper on top of it. Allow the borate to dry before using the wood as normally intended. 

If you’re still in the process of putting together parts of your house, you can choose to use a form of pre-treated wood. These types of wood naturally repel termites, making the use of insecticides unnecessary. These include cedar and redwood, which work best for structures that need to be put at least on the ground level. Teak is another kind of wood that works well against termites, although it is less versatile than other species.

3) Professional Extermination Services

Fully eradicating a large infestation of termites will take more than self-treatment methods. If your house’s structures are experiencing more damage than you can fix by yourself, then it might be time to consult a professional team of exterminators. These people have the right equipment to reach even the most hidden corners of your house. They have access to masonry drills, spray tanks, and other materials that can destroy large colonies of termites.

If you suspect that you have termites around the house but cannot find any mud tunnels or obvious signs, you can ask professionals to conduct a preliminary check. Although you can easily fix a small case of termites, such as a mailbox or a small post, a house-wide infestation will need larger resources for permanent eradication. 

Some providers also offer wood restructuring after treating your house. However, it may take some time to come up with an appropriate treatment plan that also fixes the damaged walls and ceilings in your house. You may also have to cover some of the chemicals necessary to remove the pests from your house. 

Positive Pest Management: Your Trusted Partner In Keeping Your Spaces Pest-Free

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When it comes to a provider that can best resolve your termite problems, it’s best to choose one that can deliver fast and safe results. Termites can be a recurring problem if you don’t address the root cause. At Positive Pest Management, our team can find the source of your termite infestation and give you back your peace of mind.

Our professionals are among the most experienced exterminators in the entire New York City area. We also provide extermination services for household pests other than termites that may linger in your rooms. If you have any questions about our packages, you may contact us to book a schedule for your termite consultation

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