Termites, contrary to popular belief, are not just active when spring arrives. So winter does not mean safety for your home from termites. In fact, termites will destroy the wood in a home and around it all through the year. Also, the bad thing is that termites can actually go undetected for years. Then when the termites are detected, costly and extensive damage has already been done to a house or other property. So you need to protect yourself from the damage that termites can cause to your home and budget. Now by educating yourself to know what to look for, you can avoid this, and you’ll then additionally know the red flag warnings signs of a termite invasion.
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FACTS ABOUT TERMITES
Termites are sometimes confused with ants, and this mistake can cost you money. But, by being able to tell the difference, homeowners and commercial property owners can make an identification and then deal with the problem of a termite infestation. Now because termites are similar in size, from a distance one can be mistaken for the other. However; termites are white or pale in color, and they have beaded and straight antennas. They also have thick segmented bodies. Ants, on the other hand, are black or brown, their antennas are bent; and they have an obvious waist.
There are about 45 species of termites but three main types
The three main categories of termites are dampwood, drywood, and subterranean:
- Dampwood termites: This termite belongs to the Kalotermitidae and Hodotermitidae families. These types of termites only live in wood that has very high moisture levels. Because most homes don’t have a high moisture level, this type doesn’t pose much threat; unless of course you have wet wood in your home.
- Drywood termites: This type of termite belongs to the Kalotermitidae family and likes to live in wood that has dried naturally. They live in dead trees, but will also live in seasoned timbers and hardwood floors. Some of the species of this family can cause damage to homes, but because the colonies are small, the infestation happens slowly and deterioration isn’t rapid.
- Subterranean Termites: This species belong to the Rhiaotermitida family. This termite lives in the soil, and they are notoriously well known for the nests they construct. The subterranean termite builds the largest nests of any insect living in the U.S. They build these by connecting mud tubes from their nests sites to nearby food sources. So patios, decks, fences, trees and any wooden structure around and in homes are their targets when around residences or other property outside of their wild habitats then since the cellulose in wood is what they eat like all termites. Further, this termite is the main one that causes major damage in every state but Alaska.
INSPECTING FOR TERMITES
You don’t have to have a large crack or hole for termites to gain access to your home. Some termites can crawl into a crack which is a 1/32 of an inch wide. Additionally, once they’re in, it’s a smorgasbord of unlimited food for them. Termites love to eat things like wood, cardboard and paper so your home has just what they want. What better attraction for them than a wood framed structure with plywood for walls which is full of paper products.
Now the entry point of a subterranean termite is below or at the ground level because they live underground. So wood with ground contact such as deck posts, door frames, steps on porches and supports make perfect places as entry points. Also, holes which are in brick and mortar; foundations or concrete blocks can be used as a road to move to the wooden parts of a home which are untreated. Furthermore, even cracks or gaps which are several feet above the ground aren’t safe. This is because termites will build mud tubes up or along a structure on the outside where they first live until they have contact with wood in a home; or an entry crack even if it is above the ground. These tubes are like an above ground rail system for them.
On the other hand, drywood termite entry points are made when swarmers or alates find a wood crevice. Then they crawl into the crevice and seal themselves into a nest and lay eggs to produce a colony. If they’re not found, the colony will expand then and do serious damage to your home in a couple of years. Because this termite doesn’t need to come in contact with soil, they can cause more damage because they can access where the other type of termites can’t. They can enter by way of anywhere, not just the foundation too.
SIGNS THAT TERMITES HAVE FOUND YOUR HOME
There are signs when a termite infestation has attacked your home. In the spring, termite activity is at its height with swarming so this is when it will be most obvious. However; the subterranean termite can live throughout the year in every states but Alaska. So how do you know if you have termites? Well, below are signs of termite activity:
- If you see piles of pellet-like droppings that look like wood, Drywood termites have eaten and nested there.
- If you see shed wings or swarming activity. Swarmers (termites which reproduce) will shed their wings after they have located a choice spot to live. Because the swarms are attracted to light, you can spot the termites easily, and if you see them or their shed wings, then you most likely have a colony.
- If you see tubes of mud which are attached to wooden beams, in crawl spaces or attached to exterior walls several feet above the ground. The tubes are about the size of a pencil, but sometimes they can be thicker.
- If wood sounds hollow when you tap on it. If the hollow sound is really pronounced, then you have serious damage.
- If your walls are sunken or rippled, then your walls are being eaten away. Here, tunneling done by the termites causes distortion on wood surfaces giving the walls an uneven look; or this can also cause the paint to bubble.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT A TERMITE INFESTATION
There are termites in the Rockland County area. So if you see any of these signs of termites in Spring Valley, NY, or Suffern, NY; for example, please call us. Then General Pest Control can provide you with a termite treatment. Now one of our methods is fumigation, as well as other methods which our professional termite exterminator will go over with you. In the end, only by using a pest control company will a termite problem be solved.
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