Termites pose a serious danger to your home or office building, requiring prompt treatment by a professional. However, termites can seem mystifying, and many homeowners have a lot of questions.
Termites generally gain access to the wood of your home by tunneling in from the outside. In just a few months, a large termite colony could be secretly eating away at the structure of your house.
Unfortunately, a termite infestation can remain undetected for a long time; termites avoid daylight, building their colonies in the dark, hidden places inside your house. They also tend to prefer the warmer, wetter areas of your home, such as around electrical wiring or near a water leak.
Termites look similar to pale-colored ants, but are actually more closely related to cockroaches genetically. Also, during the spring, termites fly out of their nests, to establish new colonies. Flying termites look similar to flying ants; if you’re in doubt, catch a few in a jar, and show it to your pest control professional for positive identification. Flying termites inside your home are almost always indicates a termite infestation.
Termites tunnel under the ground and into the wood of your house from the outside; walk around the foundation looking for tiny mud tubes. These mud tubes are usually the diameter of a pencil, but can be thicker. If you find any, you probably have termites.
You can determine if you have an active termite infestation by breaking open a tube to see if there are small, white worker termites inside. If the tubes are empty, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have an infestation, since termites will often abandon a tube.
A pest control professional can use several different methods to find the exact location of the termite colony. It’s important to take immediate action against termites. If left untreated, termites can literally destroy your home.
Termite treatments not only include destroying the colony with termite-specific insecticides, but also treating the outside with termite bait as well as monitoring systems, to keep future infestations out.
Keep firewood, lumber, and cardboard boxes away from the exterior walls of your house. These will attract termites as easy food, and from there, they’ll eat their way inside. Also, keep wood chips used in landscaping away from your house.
Finally, it’s important to repair any plumbing or roof leaks, because termites need moisture. Termites love to eat damp wood, which termites will devour. Also, make that your roof gutters are in good repair, and not pouring over any wood outside your house.
Spring is when large numbers of flying termites, also known as "swarmers," come out to mate. Termites fly out and swarm to start new colonies, and warm weather and rainfall trigger this behavior. The termites fly out of their colony, land on the ground, shed their wings, and pair up a mate to start a new colony, tunneling under the soil.
Termite swarms coming up from a tree stump or a woodpile or in your yard doesn’t necessarily mean the house is affected. However, if you see termites swarming near the foundation or from the porch or a deck, there’s a good chance are the house is also infested.
Termites can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to your home. They mainly eat away at the structural wood, but they can also eat paper, cellulose insulation, and can kill your trees and shrubs. Besides causing damage, thousands of winged termites swarming inside your home can be an emotionally traumatizing experience for some people. If you suspect you have a termite problem, contact a professional pest control service right away.