Termites are one of the most destructive insects in United States. Causing as much as $5 billion in property damage per year, termites can cause damage to many different types of structures and go undetected for years. It's important to recognize the signs of termite activity and take steps quickly to avoid extra damage. Click the button below to get a professional termite inspection.
Termites are a wood-boring insect, feeding mainly on trees, plant matter, and structural lumber. They tend to be approximately 1/4" to 1/2" long, are tan or brown in color, and have straight antennae. Termites are notoriously damaging to man-made structures due to their penchant for feeding on wood, and live up to their reputation even more so by occasionally feeding on plastic and drywall as well.
In nature, termites play an important role in the life cycle of an ecosystem, breaking down dead plant and tree matter, and aiding in decomposition. However, when termites come into contact with structures that humans depend on for their livelihood, that natural instinct becomes destructive.
The presence of termites may go undetected for years, as certain species build colonies underground with foraging tunnels that allow them to gather food unseen. As the colony grows, signs of their presence will become more apparent. Below are a few identifiers of a termite problem.
When termites go in search of cellulose, their primary food source, they will chew straight through wood in long tunnels, leaving behind a brittle and hollow interior. Over time, this will degrade the structure to the point that it is unsafe for your property.
A blistered floor is a common sign of termite activity. When a termite burrows through the wood flooring, a long, raised area will will appear on the surface. Sometimes, instead of being raised, the burrowed tunnel will result in a hole on the surfaces, making for an unattractive appearance and a structurally unsound floor.
One of the most noticeable signs of termite activity is the existence of mud tubes. Termites will build these long, narrow tubes from mud to safely travel to and from their colony. The tubes are about the diameter of a pencil, and extend from the ground where the termite colony exists.
Termite mud tubes will remain intact even if the colony is no longer inhabiting it. The best way to test for an active mud tube is to break a small section in the middle of the tube. If it has been rebuilt within a few days, then you'll know termites are still active in that area.
Termite droppings, called termite pellets or termite frass, are tiny, six-sided capsules from drywood termites. They are approximately one millimeter long, and appear in small piles that resemble sawdust. The color of these termite droppings will differ, and tends to range from light to dark within the same pile.
Many people are surprised to know that their home may have been a host for termites for years before ever seeing one. This is because termites can inconspicuously thrive in their nests and mud tubes for as many as seven years before growing their colony to the point where they have what are known as swarmer termites.
Swarmer termites are the breeders of the colony, and will swarm in the spring, from mid-March to mid-May. If you see flying termites, you likely have a major termites problem and should call us immediately to schedule your appointment.
To minimize the threat of termite damage, you must first know two things about termites. Termites are generally attracted to moist conditions, so eliminating moisture is imperative. Regularly clean your gutters and downspouts, divert water away from your foundation, keep wood mulch and plant cover to a minimum, and repair any leaking water sources.
Secondly, there are some primary termite food sources that should be removed. Keep any stumps, wood debris, firewood, lumber, and paper away from the foundation of your house. Periodically check wooden structures, like porches, decks, and fences, for damage. Lastly, use screens on outside vents to block any unwanted intruders, including termites, from entering.
We will typically start with the above suggestions to set a baseline of termite control, followed by some form of termiticide treatment. This treatment will typically involve a surface application, and may involve a direct injection into the compromised wood as well.
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