When you think about termite infestations, you may not think much about your commercial properties. After all, if it is in a high-traffic public area with a parking lot and not much grass or vegetation around, you might assume that your building is safe from infestation. This is not always the case. Your commercial property is at just as much at risk of termites as your home. As commercial property owners, you need to be aware of potential risks around your investment. Any areas on your property where you have shrubs, trees, flowers, or other vegetation planted that provides direct access to the ground can allow termites to easily come to the surface to seek sources of damp, decaying, and rotting wood, as well as dry wood.
Termites can burrow under pavement, sidewalks, and the foundation of your building to gain access to wood. Since they are so small, they can easily fit through very minute cracks, gaps, and openings in concrete and asphalt. Once they gain access to your building, they will slowly eat away at it until it is too late. By the time you notice an infestation, the termites could have already caused extensive damage to your property.
There are several indications of potential infestations in and around your properties. Typical signs include:
- Mud tubes on the side of buildings or other structures. The mud tubes are sometimes mistaken for wasp nests and can look rather similar. The key difference is they will extend all the way to the ground and can be one long, continuous piece and indicate subterranean termite infestations.
- Discovering small sawdust-like dust particles along the edges of walls. As termites eat wood, they digest it. The sawdust-like dust is waste left by the termites and may also look like a fine powder.
- Finding discarded wings in or around your business in the spring and early summer. Spring and Summer is usually referred to as “swarm season”. This is when mature termites grow wings and fly away from their current colony to establish a new one. Once a termite finds a suitable mate, it discards its wings. The wings are very small, but there can be as many as hundreds of discarded wings, all in a relatively small area if the existing colony is rather large.
- The paint on the exterior or interior walls is “bubbling.” As the wood is eaten, it can cause the paint to bubble and easily peel. Drywall is another favorite food for these pests, so you may also notice peeling paint in areas where drywall covers the walls.
- If there are “soft” spots on the walls. These “soft” spots are caused by the tunnels the termites make through the drywall or wood. If you lightly press on the walls and notice areas where the wood sinks inward when pressed on, chances are, you might have a termite infestation.
- Small burrowed-out holes in books and other paper-based materials. Since paper is made from wood, it can be a source of food for termites. Termites are not discriminating when it comes to food.
The best place to start is with a termite inspection of your business by a qualified pest control company that can handle termite infestations. Inspections help identify potential risks to your business, their sources, and recommendations about what to do next.
Aside from annual or bi-annual inspections, you should have your building and property treated for termites. Termite treatments can create a barrier to stop colonies from developing in and near your business. Treatment plans are developed based upon the presence of termites in the immediate area. If you already have an infestation on your property or your building, then you should address it right away. Once an infestation is properly treated, you should continue with an ongoing and regular termite maintenance care to prevent re-infestations.