One of the most destructive pests you can encounter is the termite. Termites could mean trouble for your home and your pocketbook.

Prevention and early discovery are the best ways to fortify your home against these pesky invaders.

If you think you may have a termite infestation, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about termites.

Social insects, termites are small, white pests that feed off wood. Typically they live in the ground and serve an important role in the ecosystem. They influence the distribution of natural resources to landscapes as well as diversify soil microbes, plants, and animals.

Termites may be small, but they can generate as much to $5 billion dollars of property damage yearly. Though they serve a purpose in nature, they can cause some devastating destruction. They constantly feed to provide enough for the entire colony.

Yes, there are multiple termite species. The three major types in the US include the dampwood, drywood, and subterranean termite. Subterranean termites cause the most damage and live mainly in dirt or soil. Drywood termites are rarer and prefer wood that is extremely dry. Dampwood termites tend to love in forest areas and feed off wet wood.

Termite workers have pale, soft bodies and are about ¼ inch in length. They have straight antennae and a joined abdomen. Winged termites, or swarmers, have broad waists and two pairs of wings. These wings are shed after a brief flight.

Termites can often be confused for flying ants. They swarm in early spring and often near parts of your home. Unfortunately, termites are often hard to spot at any other time.

No. Termites are social and live in colonies. If you have one termite, there are many others. Their social structure consists of a queen, workers, and soldiers, much like ants. The termite that causes the damage is the worker; their sole task is providing food for the colony.

Termites swarm in early spring. If you see a swarm on your property, there is a high probability that you may have an infestation.

The first warning sign is the most obvious: if you see any termites, dead or alive, you probably have an infestation. After termites swarm, they leave their wings behind. These swarms are attracted to light, so you may find wings near windows, vents, or light fixtures.

Another warning sign is mud tubes. These “straw-like” lines of mud are used for travel. Termites need to keep moist as they search for food. These mud tubes can be found by cracks, beneath flooring, siding, and plumbing or a number other exposed surfaces.

You can also check for termites by tapping on wood surfaces or items in your home. Hollow sounds can indicate damaged wood and may even flush out some termites. Dark areas and blistering wood flooring are two telltale signs of an infestation.

While they cannot burrow into solid concrete, termites can manage to slip through cracks. Since these pests are fairly small, they fit cracks just 1/32 of an inch wide.

Worker and soldier termites can live approximately between one and two years. Queens live much longer and can continue to breed.

Since termites can be very evasive, the best course of action would be to have a termite exterminator inspect your property. Having a licensed professional inspect the problem can ease your mind and help you understand what you may be dealing with.

The best way to prevent termites is to fortify your home. Clear up any cracks or openings these pest may sneak into. These pests look for moist areas, so be sure to check your home for areas with moisture accumulation both around the foundation and inside your home. Make sure all water is diverted away from your home via pipes and gutters; be sure to clean them out to prevent vegetation growth. Remove any vegetation growing around vents. Additionally, keep any yard refuse like branches, tree stumps, leaves, mulch, and other things that may contain soil or wood away from the house. It is best to keep your property clean to avoid any unwanted encounters. Be vigilant; routine inspections can help keep your property protected.

If you see one termite, you’re likely to have many hidden away. There are no home remedies for termite infestation, and there is no telling how big your problem may be. You should seek out the advice of a professional pest control specialist to inspect your home and draw up a plan of action. This plan will be based on your infestation, where you live, and the type of pest you have.

Depending on the size of your infestation, there are several treatments. A pest control expert may recommend one or a combination of the following treatments to rid your home of termites:

  • Liquid Termiticide:  A liquid-barrier treatment that can kill and deter termites.
  • Termite Bait: A “bait” that termite workers take home to the colony and to kill it at the source gradually. 

Unfortunately, no. You have to keep vigilant and inspect your home routinely. Treatments can get rid of your current infestation, but that may not keep them away if you do not take the steps to fortify your home. Additionally, it is a good idea to have regular inspections to prevent any future problems. Termite control is in your hands; be sure to protect your home against any possible invasions.


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