Termites can be a constant menace for any homeowner who lives close to one of their colonies, but while many homeowners take constant precautions to protect their sheds, decks and other timber structures from the attentions of termites, few inspect their home's foundation for signs of termite infestation.
While concrete foundations may not seem like the most obvious target for invading termites, subterranean termite species often make their homes in the foundations of older buildings. Any termite infestation in the foundation of your home should be dealt with as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
How and why do termites invade the foundations of homes?
Termites and other wood-boring insects attack timber structures so they can consume the organic cellulose contained in the wood's cell structure. Concrete is an inorganic material that cannot be consumed by termites, so termites will never attack the concrete foundation of a building directly.
However, termites can use your home's foundation as a safe hiding place, from which they can easily attack any timber structures in and around your home. If there are any cracks or gaps in the main concrete slab of your home's foundation, nearby termites may make a colony within them, providing them with a safe shelter that can be very challenging to detect and destroy.
If the foundation of your home is relatively new and your home is located on firm, even ground, it is probably relatively free of cracks and fairly impregnable to termite invasions. However, older foundations, or foundations that have been damaged by subsidence or expanding clay soils, can be much more vulnerable to termites, especially if the soil around them has recently been disturbed for excavation or repair work.
How can I tell if termites have invaded my home's foundation?
If you find termites swarming in and around the concrete floor of your basement, this is a pretty obvious sign that termites have made their way through your foundation and into your home. However, signs of termite infestations in foundations aren't always so obvious. You can check for signs of damage to timber structures in your basement, but this won't work if your home lacks a basement.
Check around the perimeter of your home for small tunnels made of dirt. These 'mud tunnels' are a key sign of termite infestation in any home, and are constructed by termites to protect themselves as they move from their colonies to feeding areas. If you see any of these mud tunnels on the wall bases or exposed foundation around the perimeter of your home, termites may well be inside your foundation.
What should I do if termites have invaded my home's foundation?
If you suspect that termites have invaded the foundation of your home, you can try to tackle the problem with conventional pest control solutions. Termite-killing sprays and residual powders can be effective, while termite 'bait' may be effective at killing the termites hidden deep within your home's concrete foundation.
However, in most cases where termites are invading a home's foundation, calling in a professional termite extermination service is the only practical option. These services have the specialised tools and equipment necessary to exterminate termites hidden deep within your home's foundation, and can thoroughly root out any invading colony to prevent your termite problems from recurring.
You can contact your local termite extermination company for more information.