How to Prepare for Termite Season in Houston

How you feel about spring probably depends on whether or not you are a termite expert or not. For non-termite and non-green pest control experts, spring means blooming flowers, warm breezes and cool evenings on the back porch before the scorching heat of summer sets in. Houston in the springtime is a beautiful time of year, and if you’re someone who likes to sit outside at a sidewalk cafe and sip a cup of tea or a glass of wine, then there’s no better time than springtime in Houston.

For us in the green pest control business, however, spring is one of our busiest times of the year. While everyone else is enjoying the lovely floors and cool evenings, our termite experts in Houston are busy helping thousands of Houstonians prepare for termites — or worse, fight them off and get them out of their homes.

Springtime is what we green pest control experts call termite season. It’s the time in Houston when termites are most active, and that means serious problems. When left to their own devices, termites can eat through a substantial amount of wood and cause massive damage to homes in Houston. While there are some early signs of termite infestations, it’s not always easy to spot them, especially if you’re not a green pest control expert.

In the springtime, termites usually swarm, which is the first step in building a new colony. Like bees, termites break off from their colonies when they’re ready to mate and build new homes for themselves. Termite colonies can last for years, but eventually, the males and females will break off to establish their own colonies. After they mate, the queen will start laying eggs, which will eventually lead to a new colony. Springtime is usually best for this process because the temperature rises and rain is more likely to fall. Termites thrive in humid, damp areas, so springtime is the perfect time for them to start building new colonies and then feasting when the weather gets nice and humid in the summer.

Houston homeowners will often see swarms of termites flying around trees or bushes in their backyards, but it can be hard to spot where termites ultimately build their colonies — until they’re eating through the wood in your home.

If you’re like us green pest control experts in Houston, then you want to be prepared for termite season. After all, your home is the single biggest investment you’ll ever make. If you protect it and make timely repairs, then there’s a good chance your investment will pay off in spades when you’re ready to sell it. If you let your repair lag and you forget to make timely updates, then there’s a bigger chance your repairs will be bigger and more costly.

The best thing you can do for your home in Houston is prepare for termite season. You may never be able to stop termites from coming into your home completely — after all, they’re small, ingenious creatures who don’t take no for an answer — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything within your power to stop these destructive pests from coming into your home.

As your friendly neighborhood green pest control experts, Natran is here to help. Here’s how to prepare for termite season in Houston — and what you can do right now to protect your biggest investment.

Repair any leaks

In addition to a warm environment, termites love moisture. Like most living creatures, they need water to survive, and they tend to look for places where moisture collects so they always have a water source.

Moisture, like termites, can cause serious damage to your home, and if moisture is collecting in your home, then termites are only one possible problem. Leaks in your home, whether they’re from a faucet or a home in your roof, can cause mold to grow or attract other pests such as cockroaches and ants.

Leaks can cause a multitude of problems on their own without any help from termites. Here’s how to take care of them:

  • Repair all leaks immediately. Check your sinks often and get into the habit of noticing any water spots or wet spots after you use your sink, shower or toilet. Mold needs just 24 hours to start growing if conditions are just right, and termites, ants and cockroaches are all attracted to water. If you spot a leak under your sink, get it repaired immediately. Don’t wait for signs of damage before you act.
  • Routinely inspect your attic and basement. If you don’t use these areas of your home or visit them often, then a leak can form without you ever knowing it — until it’s too late. Start inspecting these parts of your home often. Do a tour through both areas at least once a month to look for signs of a leak, such as puddles of water or damp wood, furniture or drywall. If you can spot a leak quickly, then you can repair it before any real damage sets in.
  • Keep your roof and gutters in good condition. When there’s a hole in your roof, water can get into your attic and soak through your insulation. With all that moisture trapped, mold will almost certainly form, and there’s a chance termites can make their way to your attic. When gutters are stretched or clogged, water falls down to the ground near the foundation of your home and seeps into the ground. With nothing to stop it, the water can make its way into your basement and even flood it. Subterranean termites especially look for water underground, and they’ll be attracted to the water collecting in your basement.

The best thing to do when you spot a leak is repair it right away. The less water damage your home takes, the more likely it is you’ll be able to keep termites away.

Repair holes in your roof

Though subterranean termites bury underground, drywood termites do not. They’re happy to live in any type of wood they can find — even wood in your attic. When you have low-hanging branches over your roof, termites will climb along those branches, reach your roof and make their way inside through a hole. Once inside, they’ll start feeding on the wooden frame of your attic. Safe to say, water leaking isn’t the only reason to keep the roof of your home in good condition.

Of course, it isn’t always easy to spot problems with your roof unless you plan to climb your ladder and make repairs. What you can do instead, however, is get in the habit of patrolling your attic at least once a month. If you spot a potential hole, have an expert come out and repair it right away.

Keep an eye out for cracked shingles, moss or other signs of distress on your roof. The quicker you spot a problem, the faster you can repair it.

Clear away rotting or abandoned wood

True, moisture is almost certain to attract termites in Houston, but there’s something else that termites love just as much, and that’s wood. It’s what they eat, and it’s where they live, so if you have piles of firewood sitting in your yard, an old stump from a tree in your yard or fallen branches from a windy rainstorm, you may be feeding termites on accident.

You don’t have to cut down every tree in your yard or never have a fire in your fireplace. You just need to keep the wood away from your home. After a storm, pick up the branches that fall. If you have a stump from a tree you cut down, have a professional come out and remove it. If you do plan to keep wood for a fire, keep it far away from the entrances to your home, and don’t let it sit for long in your home before burning it. 

Of course, don’t forget about paper and cardboard sitting outside. They may not be wood anymore, but paper and cardboard can still be food for termites. Recycle these unwanted items, and don’t leave them around where termites can find them.

Seal doors and windows

You don’t want to make it too easy for pests to get in. Like ants and other pests, some termites don’t have a problem walking through your front door or squeezing through a crack in the window. If you have cracks along your windows or a gap under your front door, some of these pests will invite themselves right in.

You do have some options. With windows, you can caulk the cracks you see along the sides of your windows and seal them up. With both windows and doors, you can also install weather stripping to stop even the smallest termite from getting in.

Weather stripping not only keeps pests out, but it also keeps warm and cool air inside. You don’t want to waste the cool air you’re pumping into your home on a hot summer day, and if you do, your energy bill will certainly show it. Weather stripping will also stop water from getting inside your home. A particularly strong rainstorm can let a lot of water into your home, so seal up your windows and doors to stop water — and termites — from getting inside.

Capture and identify strange bugs

Like most people, you probably couldn’t tell if you were looking at an ant or a termite just by first glance. Many termites actually look a lot like ants, even though ants are actually a predator of termites. 

If you happen to spot an insect in your home and you’re not sure exactly what it is, the best thing to do is capture it and send it to an expert for identification. When you know exactly what you’re dealing with, you can better stop a pest from infiltrating your home.

Have your home inspected by a termite expert in Houston

What’s most frustrating for many Houston homeowners is that sometimes, there aren’t any signs of a termite infestation at all. Subterranean termites especially can be hard to spot because they live underground. Their tunnels can burrow deep underground, and unless you happen to spot a swarm, then you probably won’t notice them — sometimes at all.

Unlike drywood termites, subterranean termites build their colonies deep underground, not in the wood itself. Although they still feed off wood, they don’t live in it, which can make it hard to spot tunnels within the wood. They also use their frass — a fancy phrase for termite droppings — to build their tunnels. Drywood termites push their frass out, and it looks like a dark powder or dark streak on the floor. 

Lucky for you, our experts at Natran Green Pest Control in Houston have the tools and technology to detect a termite infestation where it would otherwise be nearly impossible. When you schedule a termite inspection with one of our experts, you’ll get a complete rundown of your home from top to bottom. Our experts have seen thousands of home in Houston, and with so much experience, they know where to look for an infestation. They know how to spot small, seemingly insignificant signs that can point to an infestation and which questions to ask about your home. Armed with this knowledge, our experts will use heat, sound and motion detectors to locate termites in the walls, floors and ceilings of your home.

Best of all, our termite inspections in Houston are free. All you need to do is call Natran and set up an inspection. One of our experts will come out to your home, perform a complete inspection and let you know of any findings. You can also ask our experts for advice on how to better prepare for termite season and keep those awful pests out of your home. Our experts have seen all types of house throughout Houston struggle with termite infestations, and they’re a wealth of knowledge when it comes to keep those pests out for good.

Termite season will be here before you know it. When the season hits, it’s best to have a termite expert in Houston inspect your home for any infestations or weak points that could use some attention. 

Don’t wait until termites have already destroyed part of your home. Schedule a consultation today.

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