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Termites may not seem like a major pest, but an infestation can cause a tremendous amount of damage in a short period of time. Within a matter of months, a few of these stray pests can create a massive colony that eats an incredible amount of material every day. Here is a closer look at some of the most common signs of a termite infestation and a few steps that you can take to protect your home from termite damage. 

The True Cost of Termite Damage

Like many things in life, you don’t know the true cost, pain, or frustration of a situation until you experience it firsthand. That being said, it is important for every homeowner to realize the costs of a termite infestation. After just a few months, a termite-ravaged home may need tens of thousands of dollars in repair work in order to become structurally and cosmetically sound again. And that doesn’t even factor into the pain and frustration caused by this loss, as well as the loss of peace of mind. Unlike many other types of pests, termites attack the actual structure of a home, and the colony will continue to grow until the infestation is taken care of by a professional. Once the damage has occurred, you may need to replace large segments of your home in order to make it livable once again. 

What Do Termites Eat?

Many people are surprised to hear that termites don’t just eat wood. Despite the stereotype, termites will actually eat most natural materials as long as they are made from an organic compound like cellulose. In addition to floorboards and other wood materials, they will also eat cardboard boxes, books, clothing, carpets, and insulation. If they don’t get enough moisture from those materials, then they will also need a source of water like a leaky faucet or pipe. 

Signs of an Infestation

A termite infestation can go unnoticed for years if you don’t know what to look for. As a general rule, you should keep an eye out for any changes to your walls and floors. You might notice issues such as squeaky floorboards, tiny holes in your walls or a sagging ceiling. Hollow-sounding wood, whether in the floor or walls, is a bad sign in general. Even when it doesn’t look like it, termites could be eating your home from the inside out. However you may be able to hear them make a clicking or scraping sound when they move through walls. 

Fixing Termite Damage

You must call a home inspector and exterminator as soon as you notice or suspect any signs of infestation. Once the colony has been destroyed by the pest control specialist and you have a report from the home inspector, be sure to contact your insurance provider. Homeowners insurance doesn’t usually cover termite damage, but you might receive some compensation if you have an umbrella policy

The most effective way to avoid all of these issues is to schedule preventative pest control services a few times a year. An experienced exterminator can help you come up with a long-term plan that protects you from termites, rodents, ants, bed bugs and other unwanted pests.