Does your investment property have termites? Before you spray the walls or try another DIY treatment method, take a look at what landlords need to know about these common pests, the problems they can create, and termite exterminators.
Aren't Termites Just Big Household Ants?
No, termites are not large ants. While they look like an oversized version of the tiny brown or black bugs that also often invade homes, termites do more than forage for food inside of structures.
Like smaller household ants, termites also live in large colonies. These colonies include a king and queen, workers, soldiers, and swarmers. Like other ants, you won't find only one species of termite. These species include subterranean termites, Formosan termites, dampwood termites, drywood termites, and conehead termites. These differ in size, shape, biology, and behavior from common household ant species, such as carpenter, odorous, pharaoh, pavement, or crazy ants.
Do Termites Eat Wood?
Even though termites are often confused with carpenter ants, these two species cause different types of wood damage. Carpenter ants tunnel through the wooden parts of a home and nest inside of walls or other similar structures. While termites will move through wooden walls, they also enjoy eating the wood inside of and around your investment property.
According to the National Pest Management Association's PestWorld website, termites cause nearly five billion dollars in property damage annually. As the termites eat the wooden parts of your property, they can weaken supports and cause serious structural damage. If left untreated, this can cause a home hazard that eventually makes your home or apartment un-rentable.
How Do You Know If A Structure Has Termites?
Termite nests are not in open or visible spaces. They may live outside of your home/apartment or underground. It's also possible that over time the colony grows to a size that requires the termites to create several sub-nesting sites on your property. This can make it difficult to pinpoint where the problem starts.
Instead of looking for a nest, pay attention to the possible signs of damage. You may see a few winged swarmers inside of the property. The small number of flying termites that are not indicative of the overall infestation. Along with flying swarmers, a termite invasion may cause uneven or bubbling paint on walls, blistering/darkening of wood, soft wood in the home, or the presence of mud tubes. Mud tubes are pathways that termites use to get from their nest to their food source.
How Can You Get Rid of Termites?
Given the possibility of serious structural damage, the best way to preserve your investment and clear the rental property of these pests is professional termite extermination. The pest control contractor will inspect the property (inside and outside), identify the problem, and provide you with a remediation or treatment plan. You may also need preventative services in the future to stop a repeat termite invasion before it starts.
Reach out to local termite exterminators to learn more.