If you’re a Californian, chances are you’ve had to deal with termites at some point. These pesky pests can cause a lot of damage to your home if left unchecked, so it’s important to be as proactive as possible in preventing them.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help keep termites at bay. In this blog post, we’ll share some of our top tips for preventing termites in California.
Termites can be a huge threat to California homeowners, costing thousands of dollars in damage every year. Homeowners need to know the facts about termites to keep their property safe.
Termites are small insects that live in colonies underground, eating wood and other cellulose materials. There are three types of destructive termites in California: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. Each type eats different things and requires different treatments.
- Subterranean termites eat living and dead plants with high cellulose content. This includes wooden structures like fences, decks, furniture, flooring, and beams. They can climb up into homes through cracks in foundations or 18 inches aboveground.
- Drywood termites only eat dead wood from aboveground areas and inside walls. Log cabins are especially attractive to these bugs.
- Dampwood termites like wet or moist environments like damp basements and bathrooms with bad ventilation. They’ll also hang around wet wood piles near dwellings.
Homeowners must know the signs of each type of termite and how to stop them. Regular inspections can help detect them early enough to save money in repairs!
Termites in California
Termites are a regular nuisance in California. They can cause major damage to your home though. Recognizing the indicators of a termite infestation and having an action plan can help you stay on top of the problem.
In this article, we’ll discuss the varieties of termites found in California. Plus, we’ll look at their signs and the best ways to protect your house.
Types of Termites
California is home to various species of termites. It’s essential to accurately identify the type before starting treatment. Common types include drywood, subterranean, and dampwood.
- Drywood Termites live in small colonies inside wood, which is called “dry-wood moisture” damage. They feed on buildings and furniture and can cause major structural damage if not treated. Colonies have workers, soldiers, and alates (reproductive members).
- Subterranean Termites live underground in large colonies and are the most damaging in California. They build tunnels both outside and inside buildings. They eat cellulose from books, furniture, and paper products. Inspect homes with a professional to prevent infestation.
- Dampwood Termites inhabit moist wood that has been damaged by water or plumbing pipes. They live near water sources such as bathrooms or windowsills and are referred to as “wet-rot” damage. Homeowners should be prepared for this by maintaining the house and inspecting regularly.
Signs of a Termite Infestation
Termites can cause immense structural trauma to a pad if left unnoticed and untended. Thusly, spotting potential evidence of a termite infestation is vital for safeguarding your home. Be sure to examine your abode regularly, but some signs you could see of a termite infestation are:
- Discarded termites wings close to doorways or windowpanes; wings signify the presence of swarming male and female reproductive termites
- Swarmers arising from infected timber, windows or door frames and other structures
- Testimony of mud tubes on external walls, bases and other points of entrance into the building
- Tiny holes in differing types of wood on the premises
- Bending paint or wallpaper plus visible destruction to walls or ceilings caused by termite attacks.
In California, many types of termites can cause destruction to structures and wood. The harm they can do varies depending on their species and where they live.
- Drywood termites reside in coastal climates with low humidity, such as attics and high wooden surfaces.
- Subterranean termites prefer wet weather and stay underground or in wet wood and tree stumps.
Termites build tunnels between wood sources, which weakens the structure. Drywood Termites eat dry, seasoned wood, harming it from the inside. Subterranean Termites build mud tubes from their colonies to the food source, which can cause rot, decay or serious structural damage if not fixed quickly.
- rotting lumber frames;
- sagging floors;
- buckling walls;
- damage around fascia boards;
- attack to wooden structures, like decks, fences and gazebos;
- destruction of wooden furnishings;
- holes in plants, etc.
Prevention and Control
In California, termites can cause big problems for homes. It is vital to take action to prevent and control them. Just recognizing their presence is not enough – we need to take comprehensive steps to stop them from invading.
Here are the best practices for preventing and controlling termite infestations
Regular and reliable termite inspections are essential to spot wood-attacking insects in your house or office. It’s an art and science, testing, recognizing and confirming infestation evidence. Professional inspectors do an outside survey of the building and, if asked, a free inside inspection. They search for signs of current or past attack, for instance:
- Live termites or drywood bore holes
- Damaged roofing or mounds
- Damaged wood beams
- Mud tubes
- Fallen plaster boards
- Sagging floors
- Hollow baseboards
- Wings near entry/exit points (windows)
- Moisture buildup in walls, crawlspaces, foundations, attics etc.
- Damaged wallpapers
The inspector will also check for other issues that may make a structure vulnerable to termite attack, such as water accumulation near the foundation walls or pipes from air conditioners trapping humidity in unreachable spots. They might use electronic moisture detectors to identify humid areas that attract termites or bore scopes with digital cameras to inspect tight access points behind wood columns or drywall chimneys. If any signs appear, the inspector will propose further treatments (e.g., fumigation).
In California, homes and commercial buildings should have yearly inspections for termite activity and preventive measures, such as:
- Mulching two inches away from the foundation walls with organic materials like dead leaves instead of aged bark
- Curbing soil around the foundation walls with galvanized copper strips
- Flashing all entry points
- Closing attic vents yearly
- Replacing rotten wood around the foundation walls if necessary
- Getting rid of shaded spots along walls where wood could accumulate
Preventing and controlling termites in California needs some treatments. One way is to treat the soil. This involves liquid or foam termiticides, which are applied to the wood or structure, or the soil around it. This is mainly for prevention.
Baiting systems are also a way to control termites. Station baits around the yard and potential risk areas, like decks and doorways. This is when an active infestation has been identified. Worker termites take the bait back to their nest, to share with other members of the colony.
Chemicals may be sprayed on infected areas. These have no residual effect and only work if they come into contact with an active infestation. Heat treatments are used in rooms or structures with an active infestation.
To manage the termite population, preventative measures are key.
- Identify at-risk structures,
- inspect for damage and activity,
- monitor year round,
- apply treatments before an active population develops.
Following these measures correctly and diligently can help maintain control over the pests.
Owning a home in California comes with added responsibilities. One of them is potential termite problems. To protect your home and investment, it’s important to know the types of termites in California and how to control them. The most common type is the drywood termite. It likes warm, dry climates, and prefers to infest homes from inside out. With proper maintenance steps and prevention techniques, risk of infestation can be reduced.
- Seal any gaps or cracks in windows and doors.
- Check for wood surfaces around windows and doors.
- Remove excess vegetation near foundations.
- Look for signs of decay like soft spots around walls or trees.
- Keep trees trimmed away from roofs.
- Have an exterminator check attics and crawl spaces regularly, even if no signs are present.
Secure your home from termite damage by starting with a trusted pest control service and inspection. Inspections should be done regularly. If termites are found, think about treatments quickly.
- Lower moisture levels and avoid wood-to-ground contact to stop termites from causing trouble.
- Know what attracts termites and what to do to keep them away.
With the right preparation, your home will be safe from structural damage from these pesky pests.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of termite is most common in California?
Subterranean termites are the most common species of termite in California. They live in large colonies and build mud tubes to travel between their nests and the wooden structures they feed on.
How do I know if I have a termite problem in my home?
If you notice mud tubes on your walls or floors, hollow-sounding wood, tiny wings or discarded wings near windows or doors, or if you see any live termites, you may have a termite infestation.
How can I protect my home from termites?
You can protect your home from termite damage by keeping wood and debris away from the foundation, sealing cracks or openings in the foundation, and having regular inspections from a licensed pest control professional.