Termite Inspection Orange County Termite Terry Pest Control

Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, South Orange County, Long Beach Area

Potential “Hotspots” For Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year, and they are the most destructive pests of wood in the United States. Most people never find out that they have a termite problem until its too late. That is because a majority of subterranean termite activity is located inside of walls, and in areas that are hidden from view.
In this article, we’d like to share some tips on where you can look around your home for potential hotspots of subterranean termites.

Wood Fences
If you have a wooden fence and want to check to see if you have subterranean termites in your area, this is one of those hotspots where you’ll often find them.
Subterranean termites live in the ground, and they build mud tunnels up to your fence. These mud tunnels are usually between ¼ and ½ inches wide. If you use your pocket knife and open up an active tunnel, you’ll see small white termite workers traveling inside of them. On an older fence, you may see damaged wood. If you use your pocket knife and open up wood that is damaged by subterranean termites, you’ll see that the inside of these damaged areas is coated with the mud that they use to build their tunnels.
Unfortunately, many of these wood fences are sitting right on the ground, and this makes it especially easy for the subterranean termites to start chomping and eating away at your fence. This earth-to-wood condition also makes it nearly impossible to control these termites.
Ideally, the bottoms of the wood slats should be mounted several inches above the ground, and the posts should be placed on concrete pads that are several inches higher than the prevailing grade. If you are really set on building a wooden fence, we recommend using pressure treated lumber and cedar slats. Certain paints or wood preservatives will also help to extend the life of your fence.
If your fence is infested with subterranean termites, you should consider having your fence rebuilt to correct these earth-to-wood contacts. On the other hand, if the fence is getting too old, you may just want to let it live out its useful life and replace it later.
Termite treatments are not usually recommended on wood fences that are touching the soil because they probably won’t be very effective. You must have the wood up and off the ground, in order to achieve good results.

Garages are often a hotspot of subterranean termite activity. That is because most garages have what we call “supported” or “floating” slabs. In other words, when the garage foundation is being constructed, the builder first installs a foundation wall around the outside perimeter of the garage. Later, after the foundation’s cement has cured, he will pour a slab in between the foundation walls. These types of garage foundations are strong and will easily support the weight of cars. The problem they present is that they leave what we call a “cold joint” (crack), in between the slab and the foundation walls. This “cold joint” will also provide easy access for subterranean termites.
When inspecting your garage, you should move everything away from the inside walls. Start at one corner, and then go all the way around the inside perimeter of the garage. You need to check for any termite mud tunnels that may be coming up through these cracks. In some cases, you may also discover that these termites have attacked boxes and/or wooden shelves that have been sitting near these cracks.
If you see these mud tunnels being built up the side of your garage walls, or if you see where they have attacked boxes or other wooden items, then you know that you will need to have a treatment performed on your home.
Garage foundations are usually treated by drilling a series of holes through the slab, and injecting a termiticide into the soil that is located below. It is also good practice to perform a treatment around the exterior walls of the garage, as well.

Excessive Moisture
Subterranean termites require a lot of moisture in order to survive. Check the inside and outside of your home for plumbing leaks, roof leaks, or any other source of excessive moisture. If you discover a moisture problem, you should carefully inspect these hotspots for any signs of subterranean termites.
If no signs of termites are visible, then you should correct the excessive moisture condition to help prevent future problems. Any signs of termites you see will indicate that a treatment will be necessary. Treatments are usually performed by injecting a termiticide into the soil areas, located below the foundation.

Earth-To-Wood Contacts
Any wooden part of your home that is in contact with the ground should be considered a hotspot for subterranean termites.
One of the more common areas to find earth-to-wood contacts is on homes that have wood siding and trim. Quite often, you’ll find that these wood members are in direct contact with the soil. This condition can often be corrected by simply lowering the soil levels, and arranging the soil in such a way that any water (from rain or excessive irrigation) will flow away from the foundation. In some cases, you may find it necessary to have a contractor correct the problem.
Other hotspots to look for are fence posts that are attached to the home’s exterior, porch posts, patio posts, and attached wooden decks. None of these wooden members should be in contact with the soil.
When earth-to-wood contacts are found, these areas should be carefully inspected for signs of subterranean termites. If no signs of termites are visible, correct the conditions and you’ll be good to go. Any signs of termite activity will indicate that treatments will be needed.

Room Additions Or Other Construction Add-Ons
Anytime you see that a room has been added onto a house, these areas should be considered to be a hotspot for termite problems. Other things to look for are patio slabs, planter boxes, or stucco walls that have been attached to the main structure.
These areas should be carefully inspected for signs of termites. The reason why these additions can be such a problem is that the termites will often work their way up through joints in the concrete, and attack your home. If termites are found, they should be thoroughly and aggressively treated.
Have a termite problem and need an inspection? Call our office at (949) 631-7348 and we we’ll be happy to schedule an inspection at your convenience.