All About Termites

by David Bartels on November 21, 2014

Your home is more than a place to live.  It is the center of your family, your lifestyle, your world.  It is also a powerful investment, consistently creating wealth at a rate greater than any other investment vehicle.  It makes sense that you’d want to protect this key part of your world with insurance for fire, theft and cataclysmic damage.  Meanwhile, you may be experiencing serious damage to your home at this very moment, damage that is not covered by your homeowner’s policy:  termites!

Yes, we have termites in California; and while there are dozens of species, there are two types that attack structures in our area:  subterranean termites and drywood termites.

Subterranean termites are rarely seen until the damage is done.  This is because they live in the ground and, once gaining access to your wooden structure, they work deep within the wood they infest.  Like all termites, this one lives on cellulose, which is contained in all plant matter.  The wood used in your home is a cellulose bonanza to a termite!  As the termite devours the cellulose in the studs, rafters, beams and flooring of your house, the strength of the wood degrades and the structure becomes unsound.

The best way to protect yourself from the subterranean termite is to eliminate all instances where the wood in your house comes in contact with the ground.  For example, wooden pillars supporting a deck should be on concrete pads elevating the wood above the level of the ground.  Slabs and concrete footers should be in good shape because a crack can provide all the access a termite needs to the wood above.  Avoid stacking and storing wood of any kind directly on the ground.  Also, be careful with trees and plants close to the house.  A termite may gain access to the wooden eaves around your roof by  way of a tree that touches.

Drywood termites usually arrive by swarming, most often in Summer months.  Favorite point of entry are wooden door and window enclosures, and any wood is vulnerable whether in contact with the ground or not.  The drywood termite works much slower than the Ground Termite and leaves behind tell-tale piles of wood shavings.  It does eat the wood, but also burrows into to it to make a place to live.  The shavings are the result of this burrowing.

A wise bit of insurance to add to your cadre of policies is a Termite Contract.  For a monthly fee, a termite specialist will inspect your home and spot treat as needed throughout the year.  While spot treatment is certainly a benefit, the regular inspection by a professional can be instrumental in stopping an infestation before damage becomes severe.  At Help-U-Sell Conejo Valley we have several Termite companies we recommend and would be pleased to help you make that connection.

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