Termites cost homeowners billions of dollars each year in structural damage, repair costs, and termite control services. Termites can be busy and remain virtually unseen unless you know the signs. They are highly tenacious and can stay, unseen even after you think they are gone.
What exactly are termites, and how do they damage my house?
Termites are generally small, about an inch in length, and have a long body with no small segments attached, and their antennae are straight. Some (worker) termites are yellowish to clear, while others are brownish to gray in appearance.
According to epa.gov, “Termites rarely emerge from soil, mud tubes, or food sources through which they are tunneling. Most people are not aware they have termites until they see a swarm or come across damage during construction. Some of the ways to discover if you have termites are listed below:
- Examine, by probing, exposed wood for hollow spots (using a flathead screwdriver or similar tool).
- Identify termite swarms (sometimes ant swarms are mistaken as termites).
The most common form of termite in most of the United States is the native subterranean termite. Other, less common, types of termites include the smaller drywood termite and the invasive Formosan termite.”
What are the signs of termite damage?
At Accurate Pest Control, we are often contacted when construction is done at a home or building, and demolition uncovers termite infestation. Other times, the homeowner notices something odd about the decking, front porch areas, or even in windowsills once the windows are open for spring!
Mud tubes are narrow tunnels usually located around stone foundations wooden structures. Mud tubes act as little highways protecting the termites from sunlight and providing safe undetected travel.
Bubbling floorboards can be caused by subterranean termites. The damage mimics water damage as the termites feast on the wooden structure beneath your floorboards.
Termites love the dark and feed below the foundation levels of structures. They look for opportunities where wood meets the ground and is often damp. They bore through these surfaces and other prospects for entry via cracked foundations or in brick or stone facing.
Damage to wood appears as broken or splinter pieces of wood around your home. When damage is evident, the homeowner may tap on walls or doors and hear a hollow sound. The sound confirms the damage has been done beneath the facia of the wood. You will also find blistering wood and sawdust remnants near window or door frames.
Subterranean (underground) termites cause most termite damage. Subterranean termite nests usually contact the soil, thus the name subterranean. Among these ground-dwelling termites, the most common structural pests are the eastern, western, and Formosan subterranean termites. They will eat your framing starting at the bottom of the house and like softwoods.
Drywood termites enter at the roofline and damp wood termites like basements and bathrooms or where water leaks occur.
What are termite swarmers?
Spring is the time when the temperatures start to reach 70 degrees, and the combination of sun and rain create the perfect environment for them to leave the current mature colony in search of opening a new colony.
Dr. Potter, a professor of urban entomology at the University of Kentucky, was interviewed by The New York Times. Dr. Potter said. ”Triggered by warmer temperatures and rainfall, the winged termites emerge from the colony and fly into the air. The swarmers then drop to the ground, shed their wings, pair off with a mate and attempt to begin a new colony.”
In most cases, he said, swarmers emerge outside. However, a swarm might emerge in a living room in some cases. In either case, it is not necessary to witness an actual swarming to know one has occurred; discarded wings and some dead termites are the evidence.
“The discovery of winged termites inside a home almost always indicates an infestation warranting treatment,” Dr. Potter said, and in most cases, ridding a home of termites is a job for a professional.”
Termite swarmers are not superior aviators and do not fly far from the original colony. Therefore, when you notice the swarmers and you contact us for treatment, we know there are colonies close to the location of the swarmers.
How can I prevent damage to my home?
Be mindful and look around your home when gardening this spring or spring cleaning your attic or basement.
- Keep the soil around the foundation dry through proper grading and drainage (including maintenance of gutters and downspouts).
- Reduce openings that offer termites access to the structure (filling cracks in cement foundations and around where utilities pass through the wall with cement, grout, or caulk).
- Fix leaks immediately and check for signs of previous leaks.
- Keep vents free from blockage, including plants.
- Ensure that trees and shrubs are not planted too close to the structure and do not allow them to grow against exposed wood surfaces.
- Never store firewood or wood debris next to the house.
What can I do about damage?
The damage to a structure can be significant and often thousands of dollars. Treatment for termites requires more than a spray and the placing of baits. Knowledge and understanding of termites, their habitat, and their life cycle are critical to treating and ultimately removing termites from the structure.
Protect your home or business with AccuShield. We don’t just temporarily fix the problem. A complete clean-up can be performed, including external structural damage to soffits, gutters, siding, roofing, and interior damage to the insulation and drywall. We can repair and treat damage from nuisance wildlife and pests.
Contact us for a free home inspection. Don’t worry. We will get your home or business back to a healthy environment.