As a homeowner, there is nothing more important than learning what pests destroy your home and what preventative measures you can take. I've compiled the three worst home wreckers in order of importance and thrown in some tips on how to keep them from eating away at your equity.
There are many types of termites, but the worst are subterranean termites. If you are aware that these insects come in swarms, build mud tubes on your walls, and are lured in by moist wood and soil, you can prevent them from targeting your home and possibly recognize an infestation before they do thousands of dollars in damage. Make sure gutters work to channel water away from your exterior walls. Make sure you don't have any standing water. Standing water rots wood, and rotted wood is attractive to termites. It is also good to not have mulch and bushes within 2 feet of your basement walls. If you see a swarm or find wings left on the ground after a swarm, contact a pest controller immediately.
Carpenter ants also come in swarms. They burrow into soft or rotting wood and chew galleries deep into the structure of your home. Getting rid of standing water is how you can prevent this insect as well. It is also good to not have any wet wood in your yard: wet sticks, wet construction materials or wet firewood. If you discover a trail of carpenter ants on your kitchen floor, have a certified professional inspect your home and fix your pest problem.
This insect looks like a bumblebee, but if you look closely, you'll notice that it has a black abdomen. The male carpenter bee has a noticeable white head and no stinger. So, if you see him coming at you, you can rest easy knowing that he is all noise and no bite. The females, on the other hand, can sting, but they don't tend to unless threatened. Female carpenter bees bore into wood and make a gallery for laying their eggs. If you don't deal with this insect, they will return year after year and use the same tunnels and make them worse. If you have oil based paint or polyurethane on the wood of your house, fence, and other wood structures, you can resist this wood chewing insect. If you find them coming in and out of a hole, don't immediately plug it. That female can bore her way out through another spot. Get a professional to use the right mixture of pesticides to kill the queen and then plug those holes.
You may have noticed a trend as you were reading through. It is never a good idea to use do-it-yourself methods and products to protect your home from wood-chewing insects. Pesticides can be harmful to you and your family. And, insects can elude you when you attempt to treat them, which only makes your problem worse. Save yourself the frustration and get a certified professional who understands how these bugs behave to deal with your infestation.