Discovering termite infestations in a home is frightening enough for any homeowner, but even more so for those who furnish their home with wooden antiques. Termites are not picky about the type of wood that attracts them. Whether it is a floorboard or a futon is unimportant to them. Protecting this furniture is obviously important, because once damaged, its value will be compromised forever. Here is what to do if an infestation of these pests is discovered inside an antique-laden home.
Take Immediate Action
The moment that any termite holes, in furniture or the home, are discovered immediately contact an exterminator. Following that, begin inspecting everything in the home, as well as the home itself. Remove any wooden antiques that are free of termites or termite holes. Put these items in storage, somewhere away from the property. Termites can just as easily gain access to a shed or garage on the same property. Do not leave unaffected valuables in the home where they are at risk, and do not place any items in storage that contain signs of termites, even if the insects themselves are not apparent. It is not worth the risk of exposing stored items.
Have Damage Repaired
Before having the home treated, talk to a restoration expert about whether or not the materials the exterminator will be using could cause further damage to the infested pieces. Most companies use environmentally safer products than were used in the past, but there is no point in causing further damage. Once the infestation has been eradicated by the exterminator, and a preventative treatment plan established for the future, repairing the pieces is the next step. Small amounts of damage, especially in hidden areas may not need to be repaired at all. Obvious damage should be repaired by an antiques restoration expert. Antique owners should only fill, sand or paint pieces when they are unconcerned with the value of the piece, and are just interested in keeping it in their own home.
Prevent Further Infestations
In addition to regular termite treatments and the tips the exterminator provides to make the home less appealing to termites, there are specific things homeowners can do to protect their furnishings. Avoid keeping antiques in storage where they are not regularly cleaned and inspected. Sheds, garages and attics are easy areas for termites to set up their homes without being noticed. When bringing home new pieces, carefully inspect them for any signs of damage. If the item is infested or looks questionable, make certain they are pest-free before taking them inside.
One method is by freezing. In cold climates, large pieces can be kept in an unheated enclosure and small items can be sealed in plastic and placed in a freezer. However, for this to work the temperatures must remain below freezing for at least two weeks. This is easy for small items, but not as simple for large pieces. Green pest removal chemicals may work and be safe, but there is never any guarantee. Generally, unless the piece is too desirable to pass up, it may not be worth the effort required to de-bug it, or worth the risk to the rest of the collection.
Termites are a severe problem in the United States, costing Americans over $2 billion annually just to get rid of them. They are a concern that every homeowner should take seriously, especially those who fill their homes with antiques. Early identification of the problem is the best way to keep repair and treatment costs lower, so remember to perform regular inspections of the home and its furnishings.
For more information, contact Freedom Pest Solutions or a similar company.