Welcome Home: Interminable Termites, part 2

This week’s article is a continuation of information about termites.  Did you know that the queen from the Termitidae family can produce 10 million eggs per year?  Here are some more tips to keep them at bay!   

When inspecting your home for termites, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for.  Some termites leave a tunnel like an elongated cave that sits on the surface of walls.  Others leave small piles of what looks like sawdust.  This detritus is really termite excrement.  If you are not sure, sweep it up and then check again within 4 to 6 hours.  If small piles or tunnels reoccur in the same place, call your exterminator immediately.                    

Sometimes you cannot see the damage so knock on every wood surface and wall.  This includes furniture, door jams, doors, and even your kitchen and bathroom cabinetry.  The areas where termites have eaten will sound hollow.  You should be able to see indentations and even be able to push your finger right through the surface.

Termites like to crawl between the walls and along pipes.  It’s always a good idea to seal any open spaces they can crawl through as a preventative measure.

Some kitchen and bathroom cabinetry in newer condos and casas are prone to attract termites due to the materials from which they are constructed.  Termites have been known to eat cabinetry made from untreated particle board starting from behind the walls, through the boxes and inside the doors.  Make sure to remove all items in your cabinetry and inspect all the way to the back.

Many door jams and mirrors are affixed with plywood or untreated pine blocks.  These and shims are also very attractive to termites.       

Regularly seal all your countertop seams.  Water seeps into the particle board beneath the countertop making it damp – an ideal location for termites.

Be wary of any furniture you purchase.  Lower cost furniture, also known as fast furniture, is made from untreated softwoods such as Mexican pine (often available at roadside bodegas) and low-grade particle board (like what you might purchase back home in a well-known Swedish furniture store or in most department and big box stores).  Termites may have already embedded themselves inside the item at the carpenter’s shop or in the warehouse.  Paying more up front for hardwood or treated higher grade softwoods often saves you a headache and money in the long run.  Once a piece of furniture is infested, your best defense of future problems is to get rid of it.          

Since no insurance covers termite damage, it’s a good idea to spray your home regularly as a cautionary measure.  There are no guarantees, but regular inspections and proactive measures can reduce your risk.  A whole house spray for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home is comparatively inexpensive and can be completed in less than one hour.  For those with allergies and sensitivities to sprays, ask your exterminator for alternatives.

Have you recently purchased a new home in Mexico?  Get your home furnished for free!  Contact me at furniture@solutionsmexico.com for information.




Sheryl Novak
Sheryl Novak is an expat Canadian who has owned a home in Mexico for over ten years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico – the online furniture store for your home in Mexico and The Furniture Store by SOLutions Mexico, a brick and mortar show store in Bucerias. She is considered the expert on sourcing all styles of furniture for all sizes of budgets, in Mexico.