Termites are serious pests that can have a major impact on the quality of life of tenants, and represent a costly risk to landlords and property managers. The control of termites is a job that is best left to be handled by professionals, but there are some steps you can take to prevent infestations altogether and there are also some useful bits of knowledge that will help you identify infestations early.
Knowing how to identify termite infestations is critical. If a tenant suspects that termites are present on the property, do not waste any time in confirming an infestation and subsequently having it removed. Termites are often confused with ants, which can be a costly mistake in itself, especially since both tend to swarm during spring weather and wet conditions. Termites have straight antennae, thick waists, and wings of equal size, where ants have crooked antennae, slim waists, and wings of several sizes. The presence of termites indoors is almost always a sign that an infestation has happened, and warrants immediate action. Termites are drawn to the light, so doors and windows are places to check. The presence of termites at foundation walls, porches, and patios is a cause for serious concern. Termites leave behind mud tubes about a half-inch in diameter, commonly on foundation walls. Termite infections can remain hidden for years, as they will often leave no visible damage, so periodic inspection may be prudent in areas where infestations are common.
There are several practices for preventing termite infestations. Termites are attracted to moist environments. To keep humidity down, it is a good idea to repair all leaking water sources both in and out of doors, such as sprinklers, faucets, water lines, etc. Leaky roofs and gutters should also be attended to as soon as possible. Ventilate crawl spaces and attics to reduce their humidity, as well as any other cavernous but uninhabited rooms and structures. Eliminate clutter and structural conditions that are attractive to termites. Trim all plant life away from the foundations of buildings, and make sure that no mulch or leaves are left to accumulate at the foundations. If possible, give the soil a grade so that all water drains away from the buildings. Wood sidings, stucco, and foam board should start at least half a foot from the ground, and the foundations should be regularly inspected for cracks and holes that need to be filled. If any of the plant life on the grounds becomes infested, remove them, including tree stumps and trees. The general rules all aim to minimize moisture, remove wood to soil contact, and minimize clutter at the foundations.
If you have or suspect a termite infestation, there is no method for safely treating it on your own. You must have the infestation removed by professionals, both for the health and safety of your tenants and the value of the property. Choosing the appropriate termite control company can be difficult. Make sure they are properly licensed, and check their references and reviews as compared to two or three other companies. Getting inspections and estimations from multiple companies will give you a good idea of the extent of the infestation and the current market for services. Termites damage wood slowly, so you have weeks or a month to deal with it, so take your time, but do not ignore the problem; it will become serious.
Termite infestations are serious business. They can be avoided with proper planning and management practices, but sometimes fate throws curveballs that can’t be prevented. Knowing how to identify possible infestations and contract the appropriate professionals will prevent complete financial disasters