Termites are the bane of homeowners. They can do extensive damage to structures by eating away at wood and cellulose-based features that may not be visible without careful inspection. These insects may be tan, brown or black and are often mistaken for ants.

How Quickly can Termites Damage Structures?

According to agricultural extension experts at the University of Nebraska, a colony with a population of about 60,000 can erode a linear foot of a 2-by-4 within five months. These pests are constantly foraging. They eat the equivalent of 2 percent to 3 percent of their body weight daily. The main colony may be outside your property, but these pests travel as much as 320 feet to forage. The Formosan and subterranean species cause most of the damage. Some of these bugs are capable of chewing though plaster, asphalt and mortar.

How to Detect a Termite Infestation

These pests excavate through wood, leaving a thin layer that hides the damage. Tapping the surface may cause a collapse, revealing the hollow created by these foragers. A fine dusting of mud may indicate an active infestation. Another telltale sign is the presence of mud tunnels that connect the food source to the nest, although the absence of tunnels should not mean that your property is infestation-free. These pests may be using cracks in the stucco to get to the wood components of your property. The presence of swarms near light sources is a confirmation of infestation. These swarmers are actually adult reproducers leaving to establish their own colonies.

The Costs of Infestation

Homeowners should be vigilant about inspecting for possible damage due to termites. The University of California-Davis says termites cause approximately $5 billion in damage annually.

Apart from the costs of eliminating an infestation and repairing the damage, there is also a very real danger that these pests can compromise the structural integrity of your property without visible warnings. Structural damage can turn your home into a hazardous area, but the rate at which this could happen will depend on several factors, including the type of wood, the specific location in relation to the foundation and load-bearing elements and environmental conditions.

Based on reasonable assumptions combined with observations of how quickly these pests can destroy wood, it would take about 314 years for 100 termites to destroy a 1,000 square-foot section of a home. Unfortunately, these pests typically swarm in the thousands, so evidence of an active infestation could mean extensive damage in a short time, especially considering that the queen can survive from 15 to 25 years with an egg-laying capacity of about four eggs per minute.

Consult the Professionals

Regular and thorough inspection of your home is key to minimizing major structural damage from an infestation. Catching the problem early ensures early elimination of the pests before the population grows and before they do major damage to key elements of your property.

When it comes to protecting your major asset from pest damage, you should always choose reliable and seasoned professionals. Call the experts at YES Pest Pros, Inc. for a consultation at the very first sign of an infestation. We will determine the extent of your problem and recommend elimination, remediation and prevention strategies that are customized to your needs and compliant with health and safety guidelines.