Termites might not be considered a threat to food safety like rodents or cockroaches are but these stealthy pests can cause significant structural damage – $5 billion annually to structures in the United States – to commercial facilities and cost companies thousands of dollars in remedial treatments and repairs.
The pest management industry recognized National Termite Awareness Week this month and the Sprague wants to shine the spotlight on this destructive pest and share tips on what facility managers can do to lessen the chance termites will become a problem in their facility.
Protecting your facility from termites is not the easiest task as termites are an aggressive, relentless pest that feeds around-the-clock but often goes undetected since they enter through the soil beneath a structure.
Subterranean termites – found in all five states Sprague services – are by far the most destructive species of termite and their colonies can have upwards of 2 million members.
Signs that termites may be present in a structure can include:
1.Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the structure.
2.Soft wood in the structure that sounds hollow when tapped.
3.Darkening or blistering of wood structures.
4.Cracked or bubbling paint.
5.Small piles of feces that resemble sawdust near a termite nest.
6.Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the structure or swarmers themselves, which are often mistaken for flying ants.
There are steps facilities managers can take to prevent termites from taking aim at their facility and as the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound or two of cure.”
- Maintain a 12-inch vertical barrier of smooth concrete, sand, or other non-cellulose material between the soil surface and substructure wood crawl spaces.
- Identify and correct conditions that are conducive to attracting termites such as stucco siding or untreated wood that comes into contact with the ground.
- Use synthetic wood and non-cellulose building materials for fences, decks or other structures that come into contact with soil.
- Remove wood piles, untreated fence posts, tree stumps and buried scrap wood near structures.
- Keep wood pallets off the ground to prevent wood to soil contact.
- Keep basement and crawlspace areas well ventilated and dry – excess moisture attracts termites.
- Repair foundation cracks and seal openings on exterior walls and soffits to deny termites’ easy access.
- Keep gutters and downspouts clear of wet leaves so moisture does not build up.
- Keep landscape shrubs trimmed and not touching the structure.