Termite Pest Control
What do termites look like and why are they concerning?
There are over 40 species of termites in the U.S. alone. Many look very similar to one another, apart from distinct characteristics. Termites have soft bodies with straight antennae, and their colors range from white to light brown.
Workers are usually lighter and swarming termites are usually darker. Flying termites, also known as reproductives, have two prominent pairs of wings. Typically, termites are between ¼ of an inch and ½ of an inch long, and the kings and queens can grow to be over one inch long. Termites are known as the “silent destroyer” as their presence in homes often goes unnoticed for lengthy periods of time. Termite infested timber will appear structurally sound from the outside, while inside it will have a honeycombed appearance. Once signs of a termite infestation are visible, substantial damage has already been done.
Where do termites live?
The three major types of termites are drywood, dampwood, and subterranean. Each type thrives in a different environment. Drywood termites prefer dry wood habitats, and will usually build their nest deep inside wooden structures like furniture, buildings, or trees that are near cracks and voids in buildings.
Dampwood termites prefer to build their nests in moisture-damaged wood and damp soil. Leaking gutters and faucets, and the humidity in kitchens and basements attract dampwood termites. Subterranean termites build their nests in damp soil and are usually found in yards where soil, moisture, and wood are abundant. They prefer to feed on old tree stumps and fallen branches. Some subspecies of subterranean termites will use mud to build tunnels from their nest to their food source. If termites find a ground-level opening into a home, they will use it to travel inside.
Why do I have a termite problem?
Termites consume cellulose-based plant materials, and unfortunately, they cannot tell the difference between your home or business and trees. All buildings, regardless of their construction type, can provide cellulose food for termites.
Dampwood and drywood termites live inside their food sources, so a building that has any amount of dry or water-damaged wood is at risk for housing a nest. Subterranean termites live underground and travel to their food source, so yards with a lot of damp soil are at risk for housing a nest. Some factors that increase the possibility of a termite infestation are high moisture levels and availability of wood in the form of furniture or the structure of the building itself. Termites can enter the homes and businesses through cracks in the foundation, or through any wood that is attached to the building and exposed to the outdoors. Drywood termites can also travel into a home on used or outdoor furniture that is brought inside, or on dry firewood. Southern states are more likely to experience termite infestations, as termites thrive in the warm weather and constant humidity.
When are termites active?
Termites swarm at different times of year depending on weather and species. Drywood and dampwood termites typically swarm during late summer into fall, generally from August to November.
Subterranean termites swarm in different months depending on what type they are. Eastern subterranean termites swarm in April and Southern subterranean termites swarm in May. Light subterranean termites prefer different weather conditions and swarm in the fall. These swarms can start as early as August along the eastern seaboard and go as late as November in the Deep South. The timing of swarms depends on weather conditions. For instance, some types of termites prefer more moisture than others and will swarm after a rain. Homeowners are most likely to notice signs of a termite infestation during swarms, however termites that have already infested a home can cause damage any time, regardless of weather conditions or time of year.
What’s the best way to prevent a termite infestation?
In order to avoid attracting termites to a property, it is important to limit their food sources. This means limiting the use of mulch in yards and storing firewood away from the outside of the building.
It is important to address moisture buildup right away by repairing plumbing or roof leaks and using dehumidifiers in damp areas like basements. Termites can cause a great deal of damage before their presence is even known, so as soon as you see any signs of termites call our experts at EXCEL Termite and Pest Control.