Table of Contents
- 1 Termites in Your Home
- 2 Is There Such a Thing as Termite Resistant Spray Foam?
- 3 What You Can Do to Prevent Termites from Invading
- 4 Conclusion
It’s always important to do everything you can in order to prevent termites from making a colony in your home. The simple truth is that termites are rather messy, destructive creatures that can cause severe damage to your property. They can be so harmful that they can wreak utter havoc on the structural integrity of your home. They can get everywhere, as long as there is wood. They’ll even burrow through spray foam! Really makes you wonder if there’s such a thing as termite resistant spray foam, right?
It’s true – termites will basically charge through whatever they need to (as long as they can) in order to get to their food. Normally, they would take the path of least resistance, but if the only way for them to get to the moist, decaying wood in your home is through your insulation foam…well, have we got bad news for you.
Today, we are going to be talking about termites. The goal is to understand their nature, what they are attracted to, and the best way to prevent them in your home. We’ll also be talking about spray foam, and whether there is such a thing as termite resistant spray foam that you can use as insulation in your home.
Termites in Your Home
There are so many reasons why you do not want to termites to be on your property. The biggest one, of course, is the fact that termites can cause severe damage to the wood in your home. They can destroy decorative wooden items that might have been expensive. They can munch right through your pricey wood parquet flooring. They can even make your walls and your ceilings their home and their food. The worst part is that these insects might just choose a specific structurally load bearing part of your home to make theirs – this is a home owner’s worst nightmare.
If you don’t catch a termite infestation in the early stages, you might face severe problems in the future. Not just because you have to get rid of the termites and it might just cost a lot. No, it’s also because if the termites have already caused a lot of damage, you will then have to accept the cost of any necessary repairs. Some termite infestations can get so bad that entire homes can get condemned. Other infestations, however, can cause damage so bad that the costs of repair can climb up to the 10s of thousands. Because you definitely do not want these destructive pests in your home, it is only natural to be looking for termite resistant spray foam and any other related products that might help keep them away.
Identifying Termites in Your Home
Termites can be rather difficult to notice and identify – this is honestly sad, but true. Termites are sneaky and can usually remain undetected for long periods of time. It can take a while for you to even realize that you have termites because you won’t see any signs until the infestation has gotten so severe. Some people might even luckily see some termites and mistake them for other things. Nevertheless, the ability to identify termites is important – so if you notice any of the below signs, take heed and call for a termite inspection immediately.
It is entirely possible that you might see what appears to be white ants in your home. If you see these things, do not dismiss them – there is no such thing as a white ant, at least as far as in all of the discovered species of ants in the world today. If you see white ants, those aren’t ants, but termites! Because of this, you should immediately call an exterminator company to inspect your home so that they can find out the extent of the infestation and treat it before it gets any worse.
Quiet Noises In The Walls and Wood
Soldier termites or worker termites make some quiet noises as they feed on wood or tunnel through it. The noises might be so quiet, however, that it could be difficult to even notice them unless you are in total silence. Therefore, we suggest that you occasionally press your ear to the walls or floors to check if you hear any quiet scratching or scritchy noises that may signal the existence of termites in your property. We suggest that you do this even more often during the times that termites are known to swarm, just to be safe!
Hollow Sounding Wood
A solid sign of termites or carpenter ants in your home is the existence of wood that sounds hollow or papery when you knock on it. Termites actually tunnel through and eat wood so severely that they may leave a mere shell of the lumber behind. In some cases, termites could possibly eat through the wood so destructively that only the paint is left behind.
Make it a habit to knock on some important and load bearing areas of your home every now and then just to check for this hollow sound or papery feeling. Furthermore, make sure to feel your walls and floors here and there just to be sure. If you suspect termites or carpenter ants, call an exterminator for a cheap inspection just to be sure. This habit is particularly important to establish because some people discover termite infestations by stepping through their floors or accidentally punching holes through their walls because the termites have already done such extensive damage.
Another really solid sign of termites in your home is the existence of “termite tubes”. These tubes appear like soil or clay or even mud that have been formed into tunnels on your walls or around the foundation of your home. They are incredibly easy to detect, something that is rathe fortunate. If you see termite tubes it is certainly time to call the exterminators!
Flying Termites and Discarded Wings
It is possible to distinguish flying termites from flying ants by looking at their wings. Flying termites, also called alates or even swarmers, are actually the first sign of incoming trouble. Alates are essentially the males as well as the females of the termite colony that have broken off to seek a new home. They are the first establishers of the new colony, which is why you should take action the moment that you see them.
Flying termites can be distinguished by looking at their wings. They have 2 sets of wings, both sets being equal in size. Ants, on the other hand, have a larger set of front wings.
Please remember that if you see discarded wings, it’s also important to investigate the possibility of an invasion. This is because termites shed their wings the moment that they find their new home. They lock themselves into their new area, where they breed and propagate until the colony is large and strong enough for other worker termites to take over. The alates become the new king and queen of the colony and can build a colony that can thrive for up to ten years.
Frass is essentially another term for termite droppings. Finding frass is certainly a key sign that you have an infestation on your hands – but identifying frass is not as easy as it may seem. Frass basically looks like a black powder or even black marks. It is most commonly found in the areas where the termites are swarming/infesting. It can be gathered around tiny holes that serve as the entry into the termite colony. Be on the lookout for this sign!
Note: We cannot stress the importance of early detection and early action enough! The early detection of termites can prevent the severe costly damage that many infestations can lead to. In fact, if you discover your termite problem early enough, you may even be able to avoid the need for a full tenting or fumigation (which can cost up to a thousand dollars or more). Rather, you can opt for a less expensive termite spot treatment instead.
Is There Such a Thing as Termite Resistant Spray Foam?
We’ve talked about what termites can do to your home. We have discussed extensively how you can identify them. Now it is time to talk about termite resistant spray foam. But before we get to that, first we need to ask: what do termites do to spray foam in the first place?
Well, the simple answer to that question is – nothing. Yep, a big fat nothing. Termites are not interested in spray foam in the slightest, it isn’t food to them, after all. These destructive pests only go for wood, and they prefer moist or rotting wood on top of that. However, if their target food is hidden beneath a layer of spray foam insulation, they will gladly burrow through the foam to get to the wood (even though they generally prefer taking the path of least resistance). No wonder people are looking for termite resistant spray foam – it could provide an additional layer of protection against the invasion of these creatures.
However, we are honestly quite sad to report that there are currently no actual termite resistant spray foam products available in the market today. New products could be in development as they speak, but no news or updates have been put out as of late.
What You Can Do to Prevent Termites from Invading
As we have said, termites are not exactly attracted to spray foam per se – rather, they are attracted to the wood beneath. Especially when the spray foam attracts or traps in any moisture. This becomes even more important if there is any damage that has occurred to the home in any way. Leaky roofs are a prime example of this happening. Another example is water seeping into the spray foam and the wood underneath due to flooding in the area.
Although there are still no termite resistant spray foam products available right now, there are a bunch of things that you can do in order to prevent termites from getting attracted to the wood underneath. Here are a few of them!
Make Sure You Maintain Your Roof and Gutters
Spray insulation sometimes gets used in the insulation of a roof, attic, or ceiling. In these cases, you want to make sure that you keep the moisture away as much as possible. Because of this, maintaining your roof and also your gutters becomes incredibly important. Clogged gutters as well as an ill-maintained roof is a recipe for a leaky roof. The simple fact is that roof leaks start small – they could be tiny drips that you don’t even notice because all the water drips into your attic (if you have one). It won’t be until later on that you realize you have a problem – that is, when the water starts seeping through your ceiling or your walls.
And so, if you have a leaky roof and spray foam insulation to boot, you’re going to end up with moisture trapped in the wood. This wood will also begin to rot over time, making it a prime attraction for termites (as well as carpenter ants). It therefore becomes necessary to prevent the leaks in the first place. Clear your gutters and replace any broken or missing shingles as they happen. That way, you can avoid both a roof problem (as well as the repair and replacement costs) and a termite problem.
Another thing we think is worth mentioning is the fact that attic fans can be incredibly useful in a situation like this. With how helpful attic fans can be, we are honestly surprised that they are not as common as they should be! Attic fans, for example, can help with ventilation. Ventilation as a result can prevent moisture as well as lower your thermostats in the summer time, allowing you to lessen your energy usage.
Choose the Right Type of Spray Foam
When you are hiring a company to do the installation of insulation for you, make sure that you ask them for your options. For example, there are different types of spray foam such as open cell and closed cell spray foam. Closed cell spray foam prevents the absorption and locking in of moisture. Therefore, if you are using spray foam underneath your sub flooring, it is generally advisable to use closed cell insulation foam. This is even more important in places where rain, storms, hurricanes, and flooding are rather common an occurrence.
Closed cell spray insulation foam is truly helpful when it comes to keeping the water away from your wood floor and subflooring. If you get flood in your area and you used open cell foam, you might just get rot and termites underneath your lovely floor. There isn’t exactly a termite resistant spray foam option, but for sure there are a lot of things that you can do to prevent these pesky little things from coming.
Do Some Yard and Garden Work
Your yard and garden is no exception when it comes to the prevention of a termite invasion. For example, you can keep any piles of wood such as firewood at least 20 feet the 25 feet away from the actual structure of your house. This way, if termites get attracted to your stock of wood for the winter, they will not immediately make it to your home before you are able to notice the problem. Of course, it’s important to check this pile of wood regularly for any signs of termites. If you see termites, it becomes important to get rid of the wood safely – unless you would rather treat the wood instead. Oh, and one more thing, you can also keep this stock of firewood at least 5 inches up from the ground in order to make it less likely for termites to come and invade.
Another thing that you can do to prevent termites coming in from your garden is making sure that you keep mulch at least 15 inches away from the foundation of your home. This is because as helpful as mulch can be to the health of your garden and plants, it also heavily attracts termites. You may also find that using some natural pest killers in your garden can be extremely helpful in preventing any subterranean termites from coming up into your home. We actually have the perfect example of a natural product that you can use for this situation: beneficial nematodes.
What Are Beneficial Nematodes?
There are actually several thousand species of nematodes in existence around the world. Not all of them are actually beneficial. As a matter of fact, there are some species of nematodes that can be harmful to the health of the plants in your garden. Some of these nematodes are also parasitic and carry certain harmful bacteria and diseases. However, there are indeed some species of nematodes which are considered to be very beneficial to your home and garden.
Nematodes are essentially tiny microscopic little creatures that are kind of like roundworms. You won’t be able to see them with your bare eye – they require a microscope to be visible to humans. Beneficial nematodes are also parasites, but they are completely harmless to humans and animals. Because of this reason they are completely safe to use in your yard – your pets, your children, and any other animals that might come into your yard such as birds and beneficial insects will not at all be harmed by the tiny little nematodes.
How Do Beneficial Nematodes Work?
Nematodes function by basically invading or parasitizing their prey insects. these microscopic little worms enter the body of their prey and subsequently begin to eat them from the inside out. As a result the prey insects will die and their life cycles and breeding cycles will be interrupted, effectively minimizing or even eliminating them from your garden completely. Fortunately, beneficial nematodes are extremely available, accessible and easy to purchase. You can find them on the internet and purchase them there. These beneficial nematodes will be shipped to you with specific instructions as to the care, storage, and application in your garden. You must follow these instructions very carefully because beneficial nematodes are live micro organisms that can die if mishandled. Who needs termite resistant spray foam when you have beneficial nematodes on your side?
If you want to find out more about beneficial nematodes, you can check out this article that we have written about them, along with some product recommendations that could be really useful.
Trim Your Trees and Foliage
Another thing that you can do in order to prevent the occurrence of termites is to ensure the regular trimming of any trees and foliage in your yard and garden. As we have mentioned it before, termites are heavily attracted to moist and rotting wood – 2 things that unmaintained foliage in your garden can provide. It is especially important to trim any branches of trees that have grown higher than your roof, particularly if these branches are overhanging the structure of your home. This prevents any falling leaves, twigs, and branches from landing on your roof and gutters. As a result, there is much less roof and gutter maintenance for you to do!
See what a little regular maintenance can do in preventing further damage later on? If you are properly taking care of your home and your surrounding property, termite resistant spray foam no longer becomes a necessity.
Termite resistant spray foam unfortunately does not exist on the market just yet. However, there are a lot of measures that you can take to aid in the prevention of termites getting attracted to your area and property in the 1st place. We have taken great care to provide you with all of the necessary knowledge that can help you to keep your home well maintained and free of these destructive pests for the foreseeable future. We hope that you have found this guide helpful! If you have, do share it with your friends so that they too can keep the wood eating insects (termites and Carpenter ants alike) at bay.