Home Remedies For Termites

Home Remedies For Termites

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Which Termites Are The Worst

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Types of Termites and the Damage They Cause

You might not know it, but your home could be under attack. Right now. Even while you sleep. And it’s not just one attacker — it’s thousands of tiny terrorists. You can’t see them, but they’re there. In the walls of your house, in your backyard, maybe even in your furniture. They wreak destruction 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They’re termites, and they cause up to $5 billion a year in damages in the United States, according to the National Pest Management Association, chomping through wood in houses, decks, boats, trees and more.

About 2,800 species of termites exist on the planet. However, there are just a few types we humans need to worry about.

Subterranean termites, also known as ground termites, live underground in groups or colonies. Their main source of food is wood, and they’ll tunnel underground up to 150 feet (45.7 meters) to find it. This source of wood could be your house. Subterranean termites are found throughout the United States, but are scarce in colder climates. They cause 95 percent of all termite damage in North America. A colony of subterranean termites can have up to 1 million members and can eat up to 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) of wood per week! These termites can destroy home foundations, support beams, plastic pipes, insulation and more.

Drywood termites live above ground, preferring to make their homes inside wood and trees. They don’t need moisture in their nests and instead get it from humidity in the air. You’ll find more of them in Southern California and the Southeast United States. Drywood termites live inside wood, eating it from within. They like to make homes in attics, doorframes and window frames. Wood that’s infested with drywood termites may look fine from the outside but actually be crumbling from within.

Dampwood termites like to build their colonies in damp, decaying wood, as their name implies. Considered an economic pest along the Pacific coast, they’re also sometimes found in the desert of the American Southwest and in southern Florida (but aren’t considered as dangerous in those areas). They’re attracted to damp wood, so homes with moisture or plumbing issues can be affected. Dampwood termite damage looks smooth and clean inside.

Formosan termites are considered the most destructive of all termite types. These pests arrived in the United States from mainland China via Taiwan, entering the country through various port cities. Interesting tidbit: Scientists believe these termites spread across the U.S. via infested wooden railroad stakes. Most common to Louisiana, Formosan termites may infest up to 30 percent of trees in the state. They’re also plentiful in New Mexico, California, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. These termites will infest wood and other cellulose-based goods and will invade boats and live trees.

If you suspect termites have infested your home or property, call a qualified professional as soon as possible. Termites work unbelievably fast and despite their tiny size can cause large amounts of damage.


Drywood Termites vs. Subterranean Termites – Know Your Enemy

Termites are bad news for your home no matter what type. Learn the differences between the species, and you can do everything in your power to prevent these invaders from taking a bite out of your investment. Here’s a drywood termites vs. subterranean termites checklist to help you identify the enemy:

How are drywood vs. subterranean termites’ wings different?

Winged termites are called alates. Subterranean alates have one single thick, dark vein that runs parallel to the top of the wing. Drywood termites have a complex system of veins, usually at least three or four in each wing. Most termites shed their wings within minutes of landing. This is often the only evidence they leave behind.

Are there any differences in their nesting habits?

An important difference between the two is that subterranean termites nest in the ground, while drywood termites nest inside the wood they are infesting. This leads to 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 don’t dig mud tubes, needing zero contact with soil. They infest your home by air and require less moisture (which is why they don’t need soil or the mud tubes).

Can termite excrement help you tell them apart?

Excrement is one of the most common secondary signs of any pest infestation. Each species of termite has different eating and traveling habits, which you can detect in the ‟land mines” they leave behind on the battlefield. Subterranean termites leave behind a non-ridged, cardboard-like excrement called a ‟carton,” which is used as lining in mud tubes. Drywood termites create ‟kick-out” holes to push their excrement through the wood. This leads to their distinctive six-sided ‟frass,” which resembles fine grains of sand or salt and pepper gathering in small piles on the floor.

What about their feeding patterns?

Subterranean termites are voracious feeders but they are somewhat picky. They only chew on the softest part of the wood found between the grains. Drywood termites eat across the grains, leaving galleries that don’t follow the grain of the wood. If you have neat, lined patterns of destruction that appears to include mud or dirt, subterranean termites are likely the culprit. Erratic, smooth galleries that contain fecal pellets, are likely the work of an army of drywood termites.

In the end, this conflict won’t really come down to subterranean termites vs. drywood termites. It boils down to termites vs. your home and the relentlessness of your counterattack. Unfortunately, that’s not a battle you’ll ever win on your own. Call Terminix® and make sure your home doesn’t become just another casualty in the war against termites.


The Top Twenty Cities with the Worst Termite Infestation Problems

With unseasonable colder temperatures across most of the continental United States this winter, we are anticipating a rather active springtime swarming season for subterranean termites . During warmer winters, termite colony activity does not slow down like it does in colder winters, requiring termite control services. As a result, there are typically fewer swarms come spring.

During colder winters, while subterranean termite colonies do not cease functioning, it does result in a larger swarm which typically lasts longer. As temperatures start to warm back up, there will be more termites ready to mate. These termites will leave their colonies and look for mates to create new colonies.

Termite swarms are a sign that your home or business could have a serious termite infestation. Even if you have not noticed any termite damages to your property, when you see swarming termites it lets you know colonies are nearby. So, it is not a matter of if your property will become infested, but when it will become infested—that is, if it has not already.

In addition, subterranean termites favor the warm, damp, and moist environments, like those found in California, Florida, and Texas, although different termite species can survive and have been found in all states, except Alaska. No matter where you live, you need to be aware of the potential of termites on your property.

To see how much you should be concerned, let us take a look at the top twenty cities across the nation with the highest reported termite incidents. These are based on the number of termite extermination and services calls received by termite exterminator service companies in these areas using data collected from 2016.

For 2016, residents and business owners in Mobile, AL topped the list with the most termite problems and infestations. Alabama is another state where the conditions are preferred by subterranean termites. Other cities where termites can be a real problem for homeowners and businesses include:

  1. Los Angeles, CA
  2. San Antonio, TX
  3. San Jose, CA
  4. San Bernardino, CA
  5. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
  6. Houston, TX
  7. Riverside, CA
  8. Sacramento, CA
  9. San Diego, CA
  10. Tampa, FL
  11. Miami, FL
  12. Orlando, FL
  13. New York, NY
  14. Memphis, TN
  15. Boston, MA
  16. Baton Rouge, LA
  17. Oklahoma City, OK
  18. Little Rock, AR
  19. Philadelphia, PA

As you can see, cities in California, Texas, and Florida were all top locations where termites were a major problem in 2016. You can expect, with the warmer temperatures of spring starting in some of these states, the swarming season for termites will start to begin soon and can continue through late April and into May.

How Far Can Subterranean Termites Spread?

Termites are not great at flying, so they rely upon the wind to fly around. If it is windy during a heavy swarming day, they could easily be blown several hundreds of feet away from their original colonies. Just because you don’t see swarms on your property, if a neighbor across the street or down the road has termites, the swarm could easily reach your property.

How Long Does a New Subterranean Colony Take to Develop?

Initially, a new colony will start off with the new queen and king and slowly develop from there. However, it is not uncommon for established colonies to help support newly formed ones. Some of the workers will assist with the day-to-day tasks until the new queen can start laying eggs and create her own offspring. Typically, since termites never sleep, it only takes about a year or so before the colony is fully established.

How Many Termites Are in an Established Subterranean Colony?

There can be millions of termites in a single colony in a relatively small area. It is not uncommon to find ten, twenty, or even more colonies all within a single acre of property. This can easily push the combined number of termites between all colonies into the billions.

What Should I Do if I See Flying Termites or Find Discarded Wings?

If you notice termites flying around your home or business or discover multiple pairs of discarded wings, you will want to call and arrange a termite inspection . Swarming termites indicate the presence of existing colonies near or on your property. Discarded wings mean the swarming termites have found mates and are in process of establishing a new colony.

What About Drywood Termites?

Drywood termites are just as much a concern for homeowners and businesses throughout most of the United States. California is also prone to this species. Unlike their cousins, who swarm in the springtime, drywood termites tend to swarm in the late summer and early fall. They can also continue to swarm into the winter months during milder winters.

Unlike subterranean termites that must maintain a colony in the ground, drywood termites just need access to exposed wood to create a new colony. The number of termites in established colonies is also fewer. However, this species of termites can be more destructive since their colonies are also inside the wood they are destroying.

Do I Need to Worry About Termites if My Home Is Not Made of Wood?

Some newer homes use steel, concrete, brick, vinyl, PVC, and other materials not made from wood. While the exterior of your home may appear as though it is not made of wood, in all likelihood, there are still wood materials used in its construction.

For instance, the support framing for interior walls is normally wood. The underlayment between the attic and roof is typically wood. You can also have wood used for subflooring over the steel supports.

Just because you cannot see the wood, it does not mean it is not there, much like termite infestations. Furthermore, termites will eat any type of wood-based materials. They will eat hardwood flooring, wooden cabinets and countertops, books, bookshelves, furniture, baseboards, and so on.

How Do I Protect My Home or Business Against Termite Infestations?

The smartest way to ensure your home or business does not become infested with termites is with regular termite inspections, combined with the appropriate preventive treatment services. The types of treatments your home or business requires depend on a variety of factors.

If you have termite colonies in your yard, but not currently in the home, then you want to create a barrier around the exterior of the home to stop termites from gaining access. For instance, your termite treatment might consist of using yard baits directly over the colony locations. As the termites eat the bait, they carry it back to the queen and, eventually, the colony will die.

There are also other products you can use that will directly kill termites on contact—like orange oil. This form of treatment can be necessary when you need to get a major infestation outside or inside the home under control quickly. It can also be supplemented with other direct kill methods to fully eradicate the colonies.

It is important to keep in mind that treatment products are only effective for a set period of time. They do need to be reapplied periodically in order to kill and repel termites. Combined with regular inspections, you can help protect your home or business and not let it become part of the billions of dollars in annual termite damages statistics.

Contact MightyMite Termite Services at 408.377.3761 to schedule a FREE termite inspection of your home or business in the San Jose Area, from Marin and Contra Costa to Monterey and San Benito.


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