Termites are wood destroying insects that live underground, and from a home owners point of view, are out there just waiting for an opportunity to (quite literally) “eat you out of house and home”. As a home owner it is your job to stop them from doing this which can be quite simple to do.
There are different types of termites. The most common termites in Ohio are the subterranean termites that make their home in the ground, near a source of moisture, warmth, and cellulose or wood. They like to eat cellulose.
Cellulose is any plant based material such as wood, newspapers, or wallpaper. In other words just about all the products used to build your house. The termite tubes that are often visible where there is an infestation are the pathways for the termites to get from there nest to the food source. The termites have to live in a dark climate controlled environment to survive and the tubes are a part of this system. termites will die if exposed to daylight. They like a moist environment.
Termites are less likely to be found in dry areas, damp areas are a more attractive habitat.
To reduce the likelihood of infestation or re infestation, check for leaking or dripping pipes in the building. Remove mulch and leaves that could hold moisture against the outside side of the structure. Keep all gutters and downspouts in working order, with rain water draining away from the building, preferably more than 10 feet.
Homes that have had termite infestations should not cause a potential home buyer to walk away, this is assuming that the house has been treated and the paper work is up to date, and the damage is not of a structural nature.
Termite infestations can be treated and termites infestations can be eradicated easily and quickly. The most common method of treatment is to saturate the perimeter of the structure with a pesticide that forms a chemical barrier around the foundation. Any termites coming in contact with the chemical are killed.
The life of the chemical treatments vary, for details contact the treating company. In many cases the damage they have caused is minimal and does not require repair. In cases where there is visible damage to structural members, the affected areas should be repaired or reinforced.
A termite infestation is not the sign of a badly maintained house, it is just a fact of life in this area of the country. A house that has never had a termite infestation should be viewed as a house that could get a termite infestation in the future and annual inspections are advisable.