Most homeowners in Canada will never need to worry about termites. Carpenter ants are more likely to be a problem other than in a very few Canadian locations. Termites are not usually a problem in the Greater Victoria region. However, these wood destroying insects can cause serious damage to the structural components of a home, so it is important to be aware of measures to prevent infestation, recognize the signs of termite infestation, and know how to deal with the problem if it arises.
HOW CAN I PREVENT INFESTATION?
Some things that can be done during the construction phase to reduce the likelihood of termite infestation:
- Remove any existing colonies from the property;
- Remove any stumps, buried wood and construction waste from the
- Use termite resistant or pressure-treated wood where possible;
- Do not store cardboard or scrap wood in crawl spaces.
In existing buildings, preventing termite damage involves denying their access to wood, moisture and shelter:
- Do not pile wood near the home, but some distance away. This includes not only scrap wood but firewood as well;
- Plant shrubs so they do not come in contact with the home;
- Repair any cracks, holes or openings that could allow access to the house – termites can enter through an opening of only a little over 1 mm;
- Repair any water leaks, remove stagnant water on the property and keep crawl spaces dry;
- Remove tree branches that overhang the home, and remove shrubs that are closer than half a meter to the structure.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY HOME HAS TERMITES?
If you see an insect that you think might be a termite, take a close look at the body shape, the legs, the wings and the antennae. There are distinctive characteristics which make it simple to distinguish between termites and carpenter ants:
- Body Shape – broad waist and soft body (ants have a narrow waist);
- Color – winged termites are black or dark brown. Worker termites are usually white without wings;
- Size – winged termites are up to 1 cm from head to tip of wing;
- Legs – six short and stubby legs;
- Wings – 4 wings all the same length;
- Antennae – straight (ants have an elbow antenna).
Even if you are unable to examine the insect closely, you may be able to find evidence of termite infestation. Look for:
- a temporary swarm of winged insects on the property;
- mud tubes about the diameter of a pencil on exterior walls or beams;
- discarded wings;
- termite droppings, which often look like sawdust
- a hollow sound when wood is tapped
WHAT DO I DO IF I FIND TERMITES IN MY HOME?
Dealing with a termite infestation is not a do-it-yourself project for a homeowner. A colony may contain over a million termites, and they can be very difficult to completely eradicate. Contact a Pest Control firm to confirm and solve the problem. Find a reputable firm using the Better Business Bureau or some similar organization, ask about experience and request references.