While homeowners often think of hail, fire, and flood as the most imminent threats to the security of their homes, pest damage has the ability to be the most problematic of all of these concerns. Unlike other natural disasters that may be seasonal or relegated to a specific region, pests can affect homes everywhere. Once introduced, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate pests on your own, often requiring treatments from certified professionals to solve your problem. As a result, if you are doing your due diligence to keep pests from ever becoming a problem in your household, consider the following 6 areas of the home where termites and pests are most commonly found.
There are several different types of termites: drywood, dampwood, and subterranean. Subterranean termites are particularly insidious because they will create little mud tunnels in the soil that they use to transport themselves between the interior and exterior of the home. Once introduced, it can be very difficult to get rid of these termites without having professionals treat the home’s foundation and surrounding areas of the soil.
Therefore, it is critical to prevent subterranean termites from ever entering your home by making your basement as pest-proof as possible. Some of the best ways to keep termites out of your basement include:
- Choose a water-resistant basement flooring – hard, inorganic options such as luxury vinyl or porcelain tile are usually the best choice
- Waterproof foundation walls – as pests are attracted to moisture, take every measure possible to keep all moisture outside your basement
- Finish your basement – turning your basement into a storage area where piles of forgotten rubbish get damp can be a breeding ground for pests. The exposed wooden beams of an unfinished basement also pose a risk
- Regularly clean your basement to remove any food particles that may attract pests
Wood floors and carpets are particularly susceptible to pests. Check your wood floors for any splits or raised areas that may indicate the wood has been damaged. Check carpet for any damp, spongy areas. If you are able to trace these red-flag areas to traces of mud on the baseboards or walls of your home, it is a likely indication that pests identified the weak spot and entered your home.
3. Transitional Areas
Any transitional areas of the home’s structure, such as where the ceiling meets the walls or the walls meet the window framing, are high-risk entry points for pests. Be on the lookout for suspicious bubbles in the paint and for mud tubes that drop down from the ceiling, as these are likely indications that termites have found their way inside. To help prevent this infiltration, regularly clean these transitional areas of the home’s structure and take steps for sealing the walls by painting with moisture-resistant paint inside corner areas.
4. Leaky Pipes
As pests love moisture, leaky pipes are one of their favorite havens within a home. While it can sometimes be difficult to identify whether or not you have leaky pipes, the following are some of the most common symptoms:
- Higher than usual water bills
- Reduced water pressure
- Mold and mildew
- Strange noises while water is running
- Peeling paint or wallpaper
5. Exterior Wood
It is no secret that termites love wood. Therefore, people with wood siding need to be extremely cautious that these materials stay in top condition. Wood siding needs to be regularly painted or treated to ensure that it does not absorb water to attract pests. If this is too much of a hassle, it would behoove the homeowner to upgrade their siding to an inorganic product, such as fiber cement or steel siding. These types of materials will be naturally resistant to pests and all other types of natural forces.
In addition to wood siding, homeowners need to be cognizant of exterior piles of firewood, felled timber, and moist leaves. If these areas become a termite breeding ground, then it is only natural that they will migrate to the home’s interior.
6. Bathroom and Kitchen
Finally, the bathroom and kitchen can be danger zones for pests. The bathroom is at risk due to the prevalence of water. If it is not kept in good condition, water from the shower can seep into the walls and flooring. In addition, homeowners should be careful not to let damp towels or laundry sit in the bathroom for long periods.
The kitchen is a pest risk due to food. Make sure that dirty dishes aren’t left sitting for long periods of time and that the toe-kicks beneath the sink and cabinets are regularly cleaned of errant crumbs. In addition, make sure that open bags of flour, cereal, and other starchy food products aren’t left open on the floor of the pantry.
Know Where to Find Termites and Other Pests
Once introduced, removing pests from the home can be a difficult problem to solve. Therefore, the best remedy is usually active prevention and thwarting an infestation before it starts. To this effect, the basement, floors, transitional areas, leaky pipes, exterior wood, and bathroom/kitchen are 6 of the most common areas to look for a termite and pest breach.
Brian Jeffries is the content director for the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.