6 Questions for Termites in My House

6 Questions for Termites in My House

Termites in my house! Do you have termites in your home or office?

Considering how tiny they are, termites can create significant damage to your home in a short period of time. One way or another, they can get into homes and offices in the sneakiest way possible. Termites can invade your entire home just through a small space of 1/32nd of an inch. Now isn’t that alarming?

Termites travel not only within the household. It can come from your neighbours too. They can spread through underground passages and tunnels. So, even if your home is termite-free, you shouldn’t stay cool. Luckily, there are various preventive solutions that can be suitable for you. But before you do that, let’s get to know more about our target.

From their diet to their harmfulness, we have complied 6 pressing questions about termites to clear the air for you:

1. What are Termites?

If we are going to talk about its benefits, termites have a useful role in nature. They help to recycle wood to the soil as humus, to provide nutrients for plants and increase the ability of soil to retain water. But if we are going to consider how termites affect your daily life, it’s completely the opposite. It damages not just the foundation of your home but also your furniture and other structures.

Also termed as ‘white ants’, termites are unrelated to ants, except in superficial appearance that characterises insects. There are two types of termites that can infest your place with: drywood and subterranean termites.

Drywood termites live in wood that has very low moisture content and they do not need direct contact with soil. They target movable wooden objects such as your furniture. Subterranean termites, on the other hand, build their nests underground and damaged wood and they accumulate soil or mud within the tunnels of the wood they are eating. They hang out mostly on the walls and its foundations.

2. What Do Termites Feed On?

We know wood keeps them alive, but a common misconception is that termites survive only on wood. Technically, termites primarily feed on cellulose, which is a component of wood. Thus, termites can also damage paper, books, and even insulation material in homes. These tiny critters also feed on detritus, which is waste matter resulting from dead leaves, plants and trees.

There are various ways of protecting your furniture from termites but it’s best to know what triggers their appetite. Subterranean termites are picky eaters. They only chew on the softest part of the wood found. While drywood termites eat across the grains, leaving galleries that don’t follow the grain of the wood. You’ll know if there are subterranean termites when neat, lined patterns with mud or dirt appear on your area. If there are faecal pellets on smooth galleries, most likely there are drywood termites around you.

3. Are Termites Harmful?

Termites are not known for carrying diseases that directly affects human, but they cause destructions to our surroundings that can be harmful for us. Moreover, insect faeces and saliva tend to trigger skin allergies and asthma in sensitive individuals. Thus, preventing termites has its personal health merits.

Furthermore, it decreases the sturdiness of your home. Termites can cause an unstable and dangerous place for a living, like falling damaged beams and collapsed ceilings. These things can be harmful to your health and safety.

If there are damages, there are expenses. Replacement of structural beams sometimes requires ripping out walls or ceilings, leading to extremely high repair costs. Secondly, your house may lose its value, making it an investment nightmare. Yet, these high costs can usually be avoided – but only if early termite treatment is implemented.

4. What are the Tell-tale Signs of Termite Presence?

It’s easy to spot if there are infestations around you. You should just know the difference between the two types of termites. Subterranean termites nest in the ground, while drywood termites nest inside the wood they are infesting. This means that there are varying points of attack on your property.

Subterranean termites make mud tubes to tunnel through the ground and invade your home. These tubes protect them from predators and dehydration. Drywood termites, on the other hand, don’t dig mud tubes, needing zero contact with soil. They infest your home by air and require less moisture.

Additionally, you can tap or knock on wooden areas with a screwdriver head. If the sound indicates a hollowed out or ‘papery’ structure, it is a strong sign of termite presence. This method is favoured because tunnels in wood are usually not visible on the exterior. However, if you manage to spot tunnelling in wood, it is a sure sign of termites.

5. What are the Most Effective Termite Treatments?

Depending on the size of your home, there are different ways of effectively treating termite infestation in your home. It’s best to start with a thorough inspection and detection for any presence of these pests within your household. Treating infestations vary on different types of termite species. Drywood foaming and baiting method are among the most common effective solutions to kill not just the visible termites but also its colony.

6. What to Do When I Have Termites in My House?

They may be good for the environment but not for our homes. There are basic steps that you can do to prevent or minimize the infestations of termites within your premises: constant maintenance in your plumbing to make sure that there are no leaks; checking for cracks in your walls and foundation and fill it in when necessary; make sure that the woods in the house have no direct contact with soil; and most importantly, keep the house free from moisture by keeping proper ventilation.

But to avoid any assumptions and negligence that may lead to more risks and damages, it’s best to have a professional conduct termite protection service. Don’t let termites eat away your investments, literally.

www.rentokil.com.sg

7 signs you may have termites

Drywood termites, as their name suggests, live mainly in dry wood. They can be in foundations, window and door frames in your home without being visible for ages. They feed on any piece of wood found around your home from furniture to skirting boards.

It is necessary to look for signs of termites in your home. If you know drywood termites are in the neighborhood it’s a good idea to make regular checks around your house or apartment to catch them as early as possible and prevent termite damage to your home.

Here are 7 signs of termites that you might have these unwanted guests living in your home:

1. Head banging

Not yours, but the termite soldiers! You may be wondering what termites sound like?

One sign of termites is quiet clicking sounds coming from the walls. Soldier termites bang their heads against the wood or shake their bodies when the colony is disturbed to signal danger to the other termites.

The worker termites, which are the ones who love eating your woodwork, are noisy eaters. If you put your ear close to any wood infested by termites you can hear them munching away. This noisy eating habit was even mentioned by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder 2,000 years ago!

A little known fact is that termites love rock music! A recent study carried out regarding the eating habits of termites found that these wood-addicted insects work faster when they hear rock music. When a selection of termites were subjected to a rock track they ate wood two times faster!

Termites are sensitive little creatures. They can detect vibrations and noises using several organs which are found at the base of their antennae and on the tibia (one of the segments of the leg).

Scientists at Australia’s CSIRO even think that termites can tell the size of a piece of wood by using vibrations to measure it from the inside — something even humans can’t do yet! There is still a lot to be discovered about these little pests.

2. Flying termites

Usually the first sign of a termite infestation is the presence of flying termites — called swarmers or alates. The flying termites are the males and females that have left the nest to find a mate and then establish a new colony — which could be near or in your home. Read more about these winged termites in our previous blog Why Flying Termites Mean Serious Trouble.

Some species swarm at night and are attracted to light sources. Other species will swarm in daylight, but all drywood termites tend to swarm after rain at particular times of the year.

Another common sign of termites is the discarded wings. Flying termites lose their wings shortly after finding a mate. Male and female drywood termites pair up then crawl to a suitable nesting site where they seal themselves in to mate and start the new colony. The king and queen start off by caring for their young until there are enough workers to take over. The king continues to tend for the queen and the pair can live together in the growing colony for over ten years.

Did You Know in some termite species the males die shortly after mating!

3. White ants

A common mistake people make is confusing termites with white ants. This misconception is an easy one to make as ants and termites are very similar in both shape, size and in some cases behavior.

So what are the differences between ants and termites?

  • Termites are light in color. They are usually a white/creamy color and can sometimes look quite translucent.
  • Compared to ants termites antennae are completely straight rather than bent.
  • The waist section of a termite is a lot thicker than that of an ants. The section where the thorax meets the abdomen is very narrow on an ant, whereas on a termite this section is quite large.
  • Both flying ants and termites have two sets of wings. However a termite’s are both the same size compared to an ant who have one set larger than the other.
  • The important thing to note is that there is no such thing as a white ant. If you think you have spotted an insect which looks like a white ant in and around your house then you might have a termite problem on your hands.

4. Papery or hollow sounding timber

Drywood termites usually consume wood from the inside out, leaving a thin veneer of timber or just the paint. When you knock or tap on an area that has termite damage, it will sound hollow or papery. This is because part or all of the timber inside has been eaten away and is another one of the signs of termites.

Some of the most common stories you might read about termites is that a problem is only discovered when the vacuum cleaner goes through a skirting board or a finger pressed into a door frame goes through.

5. Tight fitting doors and hard-to-open windows

Often related to signs of damp and hot weather, stiff windows and warped doors can also mean termites! The moisture they produce when eating and tunneling through door and window frames causes the wood to warp, making it tough to open doors and windows.

6. Tunnels in wood

The tunnels, also known as ‘galleries’, are obviously difficult to see from the outside, but if you see them in a piece of broken timber near or in your house it is a sure sign that termites have set up camp in your home.

Various types of technology have been proposed for detecting tunnels and the activity of termites when there are no visible signs. These include borescopes, electronic odor detectors, microwaves, sound detectors, infrared detectors, X-rays and even dogs, but only a few have been tested in laboratory conditions or are in use.

7. Frass – termite droppings

A key sign of termites, and in particular drywood termites, is frass – termite droppings. This indicator of an infestation is something that is always looked for during a termite inspection. Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites don’t use their feces to build their tunnels. Instead they push it out of small holes near the entrances to their nest. This results in small black marks and a dark powdery substance around the area they are infesting.

Subterranean termites

So you know the signs of Drywood termites but what about subterranean termites? Unlike their cousins, subterranean termites prefer to live underground in soil, particularly your garden and under your house.

Signs of termites?

Ehrlich’s technicians are experts in looking for the signs of termites around your home and have technology to detect them when there are no visible signs. These include moisture sensors, heat sensors and sound sensors.

Most insurance policies do not cover termite damage so it is a good idea to have a regular professional inspection to detect termite infestation as early as possible and minimize the risk of costly damage to your property.

If termite activity is found, Ehrlich technicians can provide you with recommendations for the suitable treatments available for your property. Contact us for more information and set up a free inspection today if you think you might have a termite problem.

www.jcehrlich.com

Where Do Termites Come From?

Termite Habitats and Why They Enter Homes

There are three major types of termites, drywood, dampwood, and subterranean, and the respective species all thrive in different habitats. These environments fulfill their specific food and shelter needs. Unfortunately, termites frequently find sustainable nest sites inside homes.

Certain factors increase the possibility for in-house termite infestations, including high levels of moisture, the availability of wood, and protection from the elements and avoidance of predators. Homeowners should look out for favorable conditions and signs of activity, as termites can cause extremely costly structural damage. By knowing where to look in the home, individuals are able to avoid costly repairs.

Drywood Termite Habitats

Drywood termites are able to live in any dry wood habitats. This allows them to find shelter in buildings such as homes. The pests can travel into houses on furniture and dry firewood. They also live in trees that are near cracks and voids in home exteriors. As these termites live deep inside wooden structures, home invasions are often hard to spot.

Dampwood Termite Habitats

In contrast, dampwood termites seek out moisture-damaged wood and damp soil in which to nest. Leaking gutters and faucets and humidity in kitchens and basements draw the pests inside. When termites are offered ground-level openings into homes, the pests use these to travel inside.

Subterranean Termite Habitats

Subterranean termites also require damp soil to support their colonies. In fact, Formosan colonies, a subspecies, use mud to create tunnels that lead from their nests to food sources. Subterranean termites are commonly found in yards and houses where soil, moisture, and wood are plentiful. They especially prefer old tree stumps and fallen branches.

Finding Termites in Homes

If homeowners find signs of drywood, dampwood, or subterranean termite damage, they should immediately contact pest control specialists. The experts at Orkin do their best to prevent structural issues and large infestations by assessing the damage already done and coming up with the best plan for limit any further termite problems.

www.orkin.com

How Termites Get in Your Home

Understanding how termites get in your house – and why they want to come inside – is crucial to preventing an infestation. After your termite inspection, your pest control expert should explain any signs of activity and potential entry points. He or she also should provide prevention and control tips specific to your home’s construction type, termite species active in the area, and structural and moisture conditions conducive to infestations.

What Termites Need

Termites need food (cellulose such as wood), moisture and warmth to survive.

Wood building materials in and around homes – from the basement to the crawl space to the attic – can provide the ideal food source for these wood-destroying insects.

Common construction conditions around homes, including areas of insufficient grading that allow puddles to form near the foundation and air conditioning units that create run-off moisture, can offer sufficient moisture for termite colonies.

Through regular inspections, a termite specialist can help identify common hot spots for activity and warning signs for a termite infestation, plus share tips to help keep termites at bay. Termites can fit through cracks as thin as an average business card (1/32 inch) so proper maintenance is crucial to seal up any gaps around the foundation and roof/eaves.

Subterranean Termite Entry Points

Subterranean termite colonies live underground. They typically enter homes at ground level or below, but they can build mud tubes to enter spots several feet above ground level.

One of the most common ways termites get in your home is through wood-to-ground contact, including doorframes, deck posts, and porch steps or supports. Subterranean termites also enter homes through cracks in the foundation and cracks in brick mortar. Sometimes, they even use the holes in concrete blocks to travel through foundation walls.

Subterranean termite prevention focuses on addressing trouble spots, such as water that pools around the foundation, and monitoring for signs of activity. Your pest control expert also may recommend monitoring stations, liquid soil treatments or direct wood treatment.

Drywood Termite Entry Points
Drywood termite infestations typically begin when swarmers (alates) locate a crevice in the wood of your home, dig out a little nest and seal themselves inside. Then, they begin producing eggs to build their colony. Within a couple of years, this colony can grow to a size capable of causing serious wood damage in your home.

It can be difficult to prevent drywood termite infestations because this species can enter the home on any floor (not just near the foundation or soil like subterranean termites). Regular maintenance to keep the exterior wood of your home in good condition, combined with proactive treatment measures recommended by a trained expert, can help reduce the likelihood and scope of an infestation.

Formosan termite nest under a floor:

www.orkin.com

TERMITE FAQs

What are the most common signs of termites?

Because so much of the damage caused by termites is within the inner walls of a structure, it can be difficult to know if you have a termite problem. However, there are three warning signs to help you determine if you have a termite problem.

TERMITES, DEAD OR ALIVE

Winged termites are often the first sign of a subterranean termite infestation. Swarming termites are attracted to light and are often found near windows, doors, vents and light fixtures. Experiencing a termite swarm is the #1 sign that your property has a termite problem. Worker termites are small, light-colored insects that move quickly when exposed to light. They are also the family members that cause the most damage to a structure. Even if you haven’t seen signs of termites, check windows, heating vents, doors, sinks and bathtubs for dead termites or termite wings.

Mud tubes provide shelter for termites and have a muddy, flattened appearance approximately the width of a drinking straw. Look for mud tubes along cracks, beneath flooring, around baseboards, on pipes, piers, chimneys, behind siding, plumbing and other fixtures. Mud tubes may also extend over concrete foundations and other exposed surfaces.

Another way to check for termites is to tap wood along the walls, baseboards and windowsills every few inches with a screwdriver handle. Damaged wood will sound hollow and, if the area is extremely damaged, the handle may break the wood’s surface. If the area is active, you may see worker termites inside. Dark areas or blisters in wood flooring are an indicator of a subterranean termite infestation. Because subterranean termites are preventable, it is a good idea to have your property regularly inspected by a trained specialist.

How much damage can termites really do?

Termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damages and repair costs annually. In fact, termites damage more homes than fires, floods and tornadoes. More than 4 million homes in the United States are at risk of infestation this year.

How do I know if I have winged ants or swarming termites?

Winged termites have pigmented bodies with broad waists and two pair of wings that are equal in size and shape. Subterranean termite swarmers have bodies about one-quarter of an inch in length. The swarmers quickly shed their wings after a brief flight. Winged ants have pinched waists and two pair of wings that differ in size and shape (front pair is much larger). Flying ants shed their wings like termites. Termite wings are all the same size. Collect a few and call Terminix to have them identified if you want to be sure.

Termite workers are pale, soft-bodied insects about one-quarter of an inch or less in length. They appear to have a head and body because their thorax is broadly joined to their abdomen. Their antennae are straight.

Termites are mistakenly called white ants, but are not ant-like in appearance. Ants are usually heavily pigmented and have three distinct body regions: head, thorax and abdomen. Ants also have a very narrow or pinched “waist,” and their antennae are “elbowed.”

Winged termites, also known as swarmers, have pigmented bodies with broad waists and two pair of wings that are equal in size and shape. Subterranean termite swarmers have bodies about one-quarter of an inch in length. The swarmers quickly shed their wings after a brief flight. Winged ants, on the other hand, have pinched waists and two pair of wings that differ in size and shape (front are much larger).

How can I tell if pest excrement is from termites or other insects?

Drywood termites produce small bun-shaped excrement. This often accumulates on surfaces directly below infested areas. Evidence of activity can include small “pin holes” in the surface of the infested area and the droppings accumulating below. Swarmers might also be observed. The adult reproductives swarm to start new infestations in other areas of the structure. This usually occurs between early summer and late fall depending on where you live.

There is mud tunnel on the drywall of my exterior wall. Should I be worried about termites?

Mud tunnels are one of the top indicators of subterranean termite activity. Contact your local Terminix branch as soon as possible.

Do termites really eat wood?

Yes, termites really eat wood. In nature, termites play a useful role helping wood be recycled to the soil as humus, an organic material that provides nutrients for plants and increases the ability of soil to retain water.

Using bacteria, protozoa and microbes that live inside their stomachs, termites are able to digest cellulose, the main constituent of wood. They are extremely well organized and persistent in their search for new food sources. Contrary to what one might think, they will eat anything containing cellulose – wallpaper, books, boxes, carpet backing, drywall and even furniture.

Can termites make their way through concrete?

Termites cannot go through solid concrete, but they can get through a crack only 1/32 nd of an inch wide. Openings this size or bigger often occur where two pieces of concrete abut – like when poured separately – and around plumbing penetrations through the concrete or where the concrete has cracked.

How long do termites live?

A worker termite may live from one to two years. A queen termite may live for decades.

Why do winged termites lose their wings?

Swarmers use their wings to fly a short distance from their nest. They then break off their wings and never fly again, burrowing themselves in the soil to spend the remainder of their lives building a new colony.

What will termites do after they swarm?

Subterranean termite swarmers attempt to pair with a swarmer of the opposite sex within their colony. They must locate a suitable habitat to establish a new colony of their own. They need moist soil, preferably in direct contact with wood, in order to survive. The termites that swarm inside a structure and cannot get out will quickly die from lack of available moisture. The termite colony that produced the swarmers will continue to be active after the swarm has taken place.

How do termites get ins >

Termites don’t need much room to squeeze inside your home or business. In fact, they can enter a structure through a space as small as 1/32 nd of an inch.

Subterranean termites usually enter a building from the soil along its foundation or through cracks in the slab, expansion joints, weep holes, voids in brick or block and around plumbing. Decks, porches and other wood structures in direct contact with the ground are also easy access ramps for termites.

While most subterranean termite infestations can be traced to a colony living in soil outside the structure, some infestations begin above the ground. This occurs when a termite king and queen begin a new nest within a structure or when foraging termite workers become isolated and cannot return to the parent colony. Such conditions are most common in high-moisture areas. Structures with flat roofs or chronic leaks can also be at risk because the structure can retain enough moisture for a termite colony to establish itself. Constant moisture allows a termite colony to survive even without a connection to the soil. In such cases, the structural moisture problems may be as damaging to the home as the termite activity.

Common construction practices can also contribute to termite problems by providing termites admittance into a structure or creating ideal damp conditions for colonization. Some examples of these practices include wood-to-soil contact, form boards not being removed after construction is completed, wood refuse buried under the slab, improper drainage and stucco below grade.

Spreading mulch over the soil adjacent to a structure’s foundation can also provide an inroad for termites to creep into a building.

Does the builder of a new home usually protect it against termites?

There are only a few states that require soil pretreatment for control of subterranean termites during construction. It is usually the mortgage lender that requires this, especially in termite-prone areas.

I have an old tree stump infested with termites. Should I have it treated?

You don’t need to treat the stump, but you may want to give your home termite protection. In areas of the country where termites are common, it is not unusual to find them in the ground, in tree stumps or in debris near a structure. If your home has not been treated to control or prevent termite entry, you should maintain a close watch for termites and have a Terminix specialist inspect and implement a termite control program.

Subterranean termites nest in the ground and forage for food (cellulose or wood) over areas up to one-half of an acre or more in size. There is a high probability that if they are detected close to your home, they will eventually infest it – if they have not done so already. Treating the stump will not have any great impact on the colony or its continued search for new food sources. Contact your local Terminix branch for an inspection and to find out your control options.

Preventative action makes good sense in any termite-prone area, and you should also consider having Terminix implement a termite control program before you notice an infestation.

Remove all wood debris from around your home, especially after new construction and remodeling. This includes wood form boards along foundations, tree stumps and roots, as well as firewood stacked near the house.

Since termites need moisture to survive, grade the soil around your foundation so it carries water away from the house. Keep gutters and downspouts in good repair.

Will subterranean termite swarmers infest my house, furniture, closets, etc.?

Subterranean termite swarmers are looking for moist soil in close proximity to wood in order to start a new colony. The likelihood of these conditions existing inside your home is very low, so unless the swarmers get outdoors, they will not survive.

There are homes with termites in my neighborhood. How can I protect my house?

Termites forage year-round and they spread most commonly underground. If your home is currently termite-free, it could become infested by termites that are active nearby. A preventative termite control program will help avoid termite infestation. Contact your local Terminix branch for additional information about termite biology, habits and treatment options.

I live in a stucco home. Should I be concerned with termites?

Termite problems are common in stucco homes. Usually this is because the stucco exterior finish extends beneath the soil level around the outside of the structure. This creates a small space between the foundation and the stucco finish, permitting termite entry that is completely hidden from view.

Another situation involves the “synthetic” stucco finishes that have a base layer of rigid foam board. This type also often extends beneath the soil level, and once the termites access the foam, they can move anywhere around the structure. This type of exterior finish is also prone to moisture intrusion, which will help support the termites once they get in.

How do I get r >

More than likely, a home infested with drywood termites will require tent fumigation. Tent fumigation involves covering your home with tarps and introducing a fumigant gas to penetrate all infested wood. It is the most effective method of controlling drywood termite infestations.

How can I prevent a termite infestation?

Terminix will get to subterranean termites before they get to you. The Bait Barrier Plan establishes an advanced treatment perimeter around your home and provides annual monitoring to check for termite activity. A second option, the Subterranean Termite Coverage Plan, offers an annual professional Termite Inspection and free treatments if termites are discovered. Both plans are backed by an ongoing guarantee protecting against any costs from future treatments or damage repairs.

My house does not have termites – should I still get a termite treatment?

Yes. Without an effective prevention program, like our Bait Barrier Plan, your home is open to termite damage, which could remain unnoticed until it becomes a serious problem.

The Terminix Bait Barrier Plan is designed to eliminate termites and their colonies.

Keep in mind that just because you don’t see termites does not mean your property is safe from infestation. Subterranean termites live in colonies that can house hundreds of thousands of termites. They work 24 hours a day and are often difficult to detect since 80 percent of the wood they eat is hidden within the structure.

How long does it take to eliminate or control a termite colony with bait?

Individual termites can be affected within a few days after consuming the bait, but it may take several months before an entire colony is controlled or eliminated. This varies depending on the time of year, geography, the number of termites in the colony, the number of colonies infesting the structure and the species of termite.

How do I control termites and avo >

There are many effective options based on the type of termites found at your home. Terminix recommends a Termite Inspection in order to determine the best method and treatment plan. Liquid treatments use applications to the soil at potential entry points into the structure. As the termites forage for food sources, they come into contact with the treatment area if they try to enter the structure.

Soil treatments are intended to control termites for extended periods of time, although they may be breached because of physical disturbance of the treatment zone (landscaping activities, construction, erosion), tree roots growing through the treatment zone and natural degradation of the termiticide, among others. For these reasons, most termite control treatments are available with renewable guarantees.

www.terminix.com

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