Dear Termites: Why My House?


Ants    General Pest Control    Termites    Tips/Solutions   

You’ve seen the wood damage to the structure of your home. You’ve swatted your way through the swarms on your front porch. (Are you sure they're termites? Click here to learn the difference between ants and termites!) And you’ve swept up the piles of wings they shed everywhere.

It’s been confirmed. Termites have overtaken your home. We understand it’s a lot to deal with. Termite infestations are a common threat to a lot of Maryland and Northern Virginia homes this time of year including those in Columbia and Alexandria. They often move residents to throw their hands into the air, curse at the wind, and wonder, “Why me? Why my house? Noooooo….”

This level of despair also drives some residents to attempt desperate “Do-It-Yourself” tactics to eradicate these pests. With that in mind, before we show you our “To Do List” for dealing with termites, we have to share our “Don’t Do List.”


Many District of Columbia residents panic when they see termite swarms, fearing for the structural damage to their homes.  And before you can say “Treacherous Termites,” homeowners are tearing away baseboards and drywall to survey the damage. This isn’t going to resolve your pest problem. Not only will this potentially cause greater damage than the termites have to your home, it’ll motivate the insects to relocate to another area of your home, which means the infestation will only continue to grow.


In theory, this sounds like the common sense thing to do. You see pests, you spray them, and they die. The fact is, spray repellants may kill the insects that come into contact with it, but the insects you don’t spray directly will delve deeper into the structure. They can safely hide there until it is safe to come out again, which could be years.

As a longtime pest control company serving DC, Columbia, and all of Maryland, as well as parts of Northern Virginia, including Arlington and McLean, American Pest understands the biology and behavior of termites.  So we are happy to offer advice that will keep you from pursuing these ineffective control techniques. This information will help you modify your living space to make it less conducive for a future termite infestation.  

 1.      Evict Your Termite Tenants

If you have termite swarms, you can vacuum them up and dispose of the vacuum bag. After that, it is time to call a pest management professional. (Click here for tips on selecting the right company for your problem!) Apply tape to the areas where you found the swarming insects to help your pest control professional determine the location and depth of the infestation.

2.      Eliminate Food Sources

Once your current colony of termites has been eliminated by a pest control professional, your next job is to focus on preventing the next invasion. Keep stocks of firewood piled at least 50 feet from your home. Another good move would be to regularly canvas your property on the lookout for fallen twigs and branches and remove them.

3.      Direct Water Away From Your House

Homeowners often overlook their gutters and downspouts when they are trying to prevent pest entry into their houses, but considering the direction of the water flow through the gutters is another key for prevention. If the water is not properly channeled to drain away from the home, the collected pool of moisture becomes an effective attractant for termites. Also confirm that the gutters are not cluttered with leaves, soil, and other muck that would clog the gutter.

4.      Trim Plant Life Away from Your House

Branches from bushes and trees should be groomed away from your house to reduce the pathways termites and other insects use to get closer to your house. Another tip is to keep mulch at least 12 inches away from your home. Mulch retains moisture, which provides an additional water source for termites.

American Pest wishes you good luck in using these tips to resolve your termite takeover! Here’s to a beautiful spring without those pests!

For more information about how we can help solve your pest problems, contact American Pest today or fill out our online contact form.


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