Termites can damage a home in as little as a day. Notice we did not say how much damage? A mature colony of termites can consume the amount of wood it takes to make one board foot of a 2×4 in just 24 hours. That’s a lot of damage. The sort of good news is that it takes upwards of four years for a newly developed termite colony to reach the population level to do that level of damage. We did say, “Sort of,” which means your home could still be in danger.
The Dangerous “thing” about Termites
Termites are not a direct threat to humans. That means they don’t spread disease, but they may drop a house on you – your own. The real danger from a termite infestation is building instability. Termite damage is often unseen. They like to set up home in places where they are seldom disturbed. That means the foundation timbers, wall timbers, and sometimes even the wood that supports your roof. In buildings where the infestation has gone on for a long while, termites may also consume wood furniture.
Signs of Termite Damage
Maybe it is that soft spot in the living room that you notice or the fact that the kitchen door is sometimes hard to close. Those little clues maybe the house settling or it may be structural instability caused by the weakening of supporting timbers. Sadly, if you are noticing this level of damage by merely walking across your living room floor, then the damage is likely pretty bad. It takes about three years of chewing for noticeable damage to occur.
The cost across the US is around $2 Billion per year to address damage caused by termites. However, while that dollar amount is staggering, termites are only one type of insects that destroys wood. Some of the other insects that damage homes include carpenter ants. Thes large ants chew galleries in wood to make a colony. Unlike termites, they do not eat wood. They excavate by chewing and then hollow out supporting timbers in walls and along with foundations.
Maybe It is Not Termites?
Another problem insect is a large group of bark beetles. These beetles can be very tiny or quite large, and they burrow around under the bark of trees. Lumber comes from trees and sometimes that lumber contains bark beetle eggs which then bore through the wood to emerge. A close cousin of the bark beetle is the wood-boring beetle. These are more of an issue than bark beetles. They are more likely to be found in new construction, and their tunneling can cause wood instability. Carpenter Bees are another insect that destroys wood. These large bees drill into untreated wood to make nesting cavities. They can ruin support timbers, decking materials, fences, and roof eaves.
If you have concerns about the safety of your home or think there may be damage to the house’s frame, give us a call. We are happy to answer your questions, provide an estimate, or site inspection. We work with property owners and commercial clients throughout the greater Austin Area.