Termite facts for common questions about termites.

Here’s everything you need to know about termites and how they might attack your home.

How do termites eat wood?

Termites have special enzymes, protozoa and bacteria in their guts that allow them to digest cellulose. Cellulose is the organic fibrous material in wood and plants. Sound delicious?

How fast do termites eat wood?

The good news is, at the rate a single termite eats wood, based on some loose but reasonable assumptions, it would take one termite 3,144 years to eat the wood in a 1,000-square-foot home. But termites don’t live alone. That’s the bad news.

Do termites live in groups?

The termite facts of life include living in a colony in a structured society. Colonies can range from a few thousand individuals to several million, depending on their species. There is a complex set of roles and hierarchy to a termite colony, including a queen who lays eggs, workers who do all the hard labor, and nymphs or immature termites who have lighter duties but still work in the colony.

How many colonies live together at one time?

In many parts of the country, there are several colonies per acre of land, but the colonies do not intermingle, they coexist. It is a peaceful arrangement, but if a termite from one colony violates another’s nest or tunnels, they will be killed and removed immediately. The number of colonies in an area varies greatly between species and geography.

What is the most common type or species of termites?

The most common species of termite in the United States is the eastern subterranean termite. They live underground in the soil and build mud tubes as a means of transportation.

How many termites live in a colony?

Termite colonies differ, but some consist of more than 15,000,000 termites, and the colony can survive for many years. Multiply the number of colonies living next to each other, and you can see how you might have a huge termite problem close by.

How long does one single termite live?

Individual termite workers live about two years, and the total wood consumed each day just isn’t very much – after all, they are only about one-eighth of an inch long.

How fast do subterranean termites eat wood?

The largest subterranean termite colonies eat about a pound of wood per day. Even when the amount of wood eaten in a day by a termite is multiplied by 1,000,000 termites, it may not seem like very much. The problem is that termites remain hidden when they attack a home. So days, weeks and years of chomping on wood add up. By the time they are finally discovered, severe termite damage may be present.

How much damage can termites alone do to a home?

Because they slowly eat away at the wood inside your home, termites can cause extensive damage to a home and its structural integrity. How fast do termites eat wood? It depends on how many colonies exist inside the home.

How much can termites cost a homeowner?

The termite facts, when it comes to cost of repairs, depend on how much wood they have eaten, how long the colony has been in existence in the home and where the damaged wood is located in the house. Repairs are usually much more expensive than original building costs.

How much money does a termite infestation cost?

Again, this depends on the specific infestation. But often, repairs to the home can be in the thousands of dollars. It really depends on each individual case. An expert is the only person who can confirm the termite damage that has occurred and where repairs are needed.

What are the areas in a home that are most vulnerable to termite damage?

Any structure that is made of wood. Slab foundations, any wood that touches the dirt surrounding the home and inaccessible crawlspaces are especially susceptible to termites.

Is there anything I can do to prevent termite damage at my home?

Termite bait or liquid treatments are the best ways to prevent termites from getting into your home and causing damage. Other preventative measures include eliminating wood-soil contact and resolving any moisture problems; however, these measures will not keep termites from trying to enter.

How can I calculate the cost of a termite infestation?

Knowing termite facts is great start, but the key to avoiding the expense of severe termite damage in your home is to have an inspection by professionals, like Terminix®, who know the signs. Only an expert can identify the signs and create a plan to get the termites out for good.

Termite Damage Signs

How Do You Know if You Have Termite Damage?

Termites can cause severe damage to human homes

Although termites are ecologically beneficial in that they break down detritus to add nutrients to soil, the same feeding behaviors that prove helpful to the ecosystem can cause severe damage to human homes. Because termites feed primarily on wood, they are capable of compromising the strength and safety of an infested structure. Termite damage can render structures unlivable until expensive repairs are conducted.

Structural property damage

Homes constructed primarily of wood are not the only structures threatened by termite activity. Homes made from other materials may also host termite infestations, as these insects are capable of traversing through plaster, metal siding and more. Termites then feed on cabinets, floors, ceilings and wooden furniture within these homes.

Because termites are often not identified before considerable damage has occurred, it is advised that homeowners experiencing a termite infestation contact a pest control professional before attempting to address the problem on their own. Professionals will conduct an inspection in order to correctly identify the problem and will then discuss possible avenues of treatment with homeowners.

Signs of subterranean termite damage

Subterranean termites
dwell underground in loose, damp soil. Although subterranean termite species in Africa are famously aggressive and known for the obvious mounds above their colonies, signs of subterranean termite damage within the United States are much less obvious.

Interior damage may not become apparent until infestations are full-blown. Termite damage sometimes appears similar to water damage. Outward signs of termite damage include buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings, areas that appear to be suffering from slight water damage and visible mazes within walls or furniture. Termite infestations also can exude a scent similar to mildew or mold.

Subterranean termites also access above-ground food sources through mud tunnels they create from saliva, mud and feces. These tunnels are located near the foundation of infested homes.

Signs of drywood termite damage

Termite Control

Learn the signs to look for to determine if you might have a termite infestation.

Termites cost Americans more than $5 billion in damage each year and most insurance plans don’t cover the damage.

We’ll determine whether you actually have termites, then discuss a treatment plan including financing that works for you.

Learn what to expect from your Orkin Man and the AIM process.

Termites and Structural Property Damage

Termites. They’re as small as ants, but when they work together, they cause more than $5 billion in damage in the U.S. each year, according to the National Pest Management Association. Talk about efficient! Even worse, homeowner insurance policies don’t typically cover termite damage, so an infestation or damage to your home can be devastating if not caught in time. And because most termites do all their dirty work out of view, it can be difficult to spot the warning signs. What kind of mayhem do these nasty little critters cause, and how do you spot the signs?

Termites don’t just cause cosmetic damage. They eat into the very structure of your home — the support beams, floor joists, posts, ceiling joists and wall studs. If you or your inspector find superficial termite damage, chances are high that there’s more damage beneath. If a termite colony gets to the structures that support your home, they can render it unlivable until the damage is repaired. And it’s not just wood structures that are susceptible to termite damage. Termites also enjoy feeding on plaster, metal siding and insulation.

So, how do you spot the warning signs, aside from your home crumbling down around you in a pile of sawdust? One of the most common ways homeowners find out they have termites is when they see swarming. Swarming happens during the spring, when winged termites emerge inside homes. In nature, when the temperature starts to warm up, these termites swarm and disperse to start new colonies. Swarmers emerging indoors can’t eat wood, so they’re not dangerous, but they’re proof positive you have termites. Other signs? Discarded termite wings, bubbling wallpaper, buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings, visible mazes in walls or furniture, holes or craters in firewood piles or stumps, or termite droppings — which, unsurprisingly, look like tiny piles of sawdust. In many cases, termite damage looks a lot like water damage. To add insult to injury, water damage can attract certain kinds of termites. Always have a professional come out to assess which problem you have.

Let’s say you have termites. Can you fix the damage without filing for bankruptcy? Chances are you can. Termites can damage a house beyond repair, but it’s rare. This happens most often when a home is vacant or the problem is ignored for several years. Generally, you have two choices when repairing wood damaged by termites.

  • Remove the damaged wood and replace it with new wood.
  • Attach new wood to the damaged wood to provide support (more cost-effective when feasible).

And of course, don’t bother making any repairs until you know the termite issue is under control and eradicated. If the damaged wood has anything to do with the structural integrity of the building, it’s important to work with a contractor, or you could put yourself in danger.

The best way to avoid getting termites is to be on the lookout for signs of infestation (this is especially important when house-hunting), and to hire a qualified pest-control technician to inspect your property on a periodic basis.

The Trouble with Termites: How Termites Can Ruin Your Home

The Trouble with Termites: How Termites Can Ruin Your Home

If you’ve ever experienced a termite infestation, then you know how devastating it can be to have to deal with getting rid of the colony, addressing the structural damage, and preventing future infestations. It can be a long and difficult process, but fortunately, it can also be manageable with help from the right pest control experts. Essentially, termites have evolved to do only one thing, and that one thing can completely ruin the value of your home in a matter of months. Termites eat wood, and they can eat a lot of it in a short time. The average colony can eat about one foot of a 2×4 in six months, but certain species of termite can tear through homes at a much faster pace. In eating wood, termites are also making tunnels inside the wood in order to help foster and grow their colonies, each of which contain about 60,000 termites. As such, when they eat the wood that provides the structure of your home, they can quickly create an unsafe environment for you and your family.

A termite infestation that has gone unnoticed for some length of time can create a major headache, as the colony can spread and impact on the stability of the structure. Even brick or masonry homes can have termite damage, as they often still have some wooden components.

Termites thrive on moisture in the home, making the homes settled in the damp, humid southern states a prime target for these pests. Homes stand a higher chance of termite infestation if there is wood paneling or support touching the ground on the exterior of the home, if there are cracks in the foundation or if there are woodpiles or stumps near the home, which are breeding grounds for termites. However, it’s possible to get a termite infestation even if these elements aren’t present. Not only can termites do actual structural damage, but they can also cause odor due to their fecal pellets. These fecal pellets also cause discoloration and blisters on your walls, and you may have to replace them completely in order to get rid of the smell and the unsightly stains. Termite repair can cost a small fortune, and if damage is severe, there may be a need to gut an entire section of the house entirely. Termite damage around the structural foundation can be especially challenging to fix due to the location. Damage from termites not only ruins the aesthetic of your home, but also impairs the value. People interested in selling their homes may be unable to do so if there is evidence of terminate damage, as people are unwilling to purchase a home wherein the safety of the structure is compromised.

Because termite infestations may go unnoticed or undetected for a long time, it is important to address them the moment you discover them in your home. In some cases, it’s possible that your home has been infested for years, and that the visual damage you see today is only a symptom of a much deeper termite infestation.

The most effective way to rid your home of termites is to consult a pest control expert who can help identify the problem and the extent of the damage, rid your home of termites and lay down additional materials to protect against future infestations. If you have termites in your home or you want to prevent termites from damaging your home, Allgood Pest Solutions has pest control remedies for you. Please contact us to find out how our pest control experts can help protect your home against troubling termite infestations.

The Trouble with Termites: How Termites Can Ruin Your Home in Atlanta & Knoxville Metros and Surrounding Areas

Serving Clients in Atlanta GA and Knoxville TN

What Damage Can Termites Cause?

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), termites cause approximately $5 billion of property damage every year. However, much of the damage occurs inside the walls or the foundations of structures where it cannot be easily noticed by casual observation. The first signs of termite damage include soft or spongy wood inside or outside of a home, mud tunnels or tubes stuck to the walls, blistering of wood and dark spots on walls, ceilings or floors made of wood. In rare instances or in the early spring, winged termites may also be found flying around areas that are damaged but display no visible traces.

Most damage-causing termite species live underground and make their way into structures by digging subterranean tunnels. Once they find wood, they begin to eat it and extend the tunnels into the larger building. The wood that they eat and the tunnels they dig weaken the structures and break down the barriers that protect the materials from the elements. The wood may eventually become malformed from the pressure or weight of attached materials, or it may sag and fall from the effects of gravity. In addition, once a structure has been compromised, water may enter through the termite tunnels causing additional damage.

Many people believe that their homes cannot be damaged by termites because they are not made of wood or do not have any exposed wood. However, this could not be further from the truth. Termites are relentless in their quest for food and have been known to damage plaster, drywall, mortar joints and even metal siding. Very little can stop termites in their search for wood. The most effective, and sometimes the only, means of controlling termites is to hire an experienced termite control specialist.

What damage can termites do

by Greg Geilman Realtor®
President and CEO, ReMax South Bay Residential

The National Pest Management Association estimates that termite treatment and repairs can run to over $5 billion annually in the U.S. What does this mean for the average homeowner? Termites can cause serious damage to the home and require a homeowner to dig deep to address structural damage and other issues related to a termite infestation. As a homeowner, you need to be aware of how certain pests can potentially destroy an investment without adequate monitoring, control methods and treatment. Termite colonies can grow large and may be located close to a home or deep below a home’s foundation. Other types of termites thrive in a home’s walls. Understand more about the type of damage that termites can do to a home.

Wood-loving Termites

There are approximately 2,800 different types of termites. Only a few types can cause damage to your residence. Subterranean termites leaves external grain intact while forming tunnels inside the wood. Damaged wood breaks easily and the type of damage from subterranean termites can be hidden behind a home’s walls. Drywood termites have a smaller colony size and cause damage at a slower rate than subterranean termites. A termite specialist can identify the type of termite that may be residing in and consuming the wood in your home.

What Areas May Need Repair?

The type of damage in a home is often related to the species of termite. Each type of termite has its own preferences and may consume wood at different rates. Learn more about termite species known to damage homes and more.

  • A large colony of subterranean termites can consume a great quantity of wood. 1 million members of a colony are estimated to eat approximately 15 pounds of wood every week. This type of termite can cause damage to various areas of a home’s structure, including insulation, plastic pipes, support beams and home foundations.
  • Drywood termites live inside the wood and can cause damage around entryways. These termites like to reside in window frames, doorframes and attics. An infestation in these areas leads to brittle wood that can make a home less secure. The outside of the wood looks fine but the inner part of the elements are weakened and infested with termites.
  • Dampwood termites are attracted to damp wood. A home prone to moisture issues or plumbing problems may be attractive to this type of termite. Damage from termites may exacerbate existing concerns and be found around leaking pipes and areas affected by water damage.
  • Formosan termites are thought to be the most destructive of the termite species. These natives of China have spread across the U.S. and can infest wood in homes, cellulose-based goods, boats and surrounding trees. In ideal environments, this type of termite can cause major structural damage to a residence in as little as six months.

Depending on the type of termite, a homeowner can suffer damage to support beams, insulation, home foundations, doorframes, attics, water-damaged wood, furniture and property outside of the home. Ceilings and walls may buckle and signs of water damage may become apparent. Advanced termite damage can cause floors and ceiling to collapse. Less severe damage can ruin flooring, walls and furniture. Damage to these areas can be costly to homeowners. If a buyer is purchasing a home damaged by termites, they may be able to utilize the FHA 203k Loan to help with the costs. Repairs should be made after a licensed pest professional has determined that there are no more termites present. These professionals can also provide an accounting of all termite damage.

The Prepared Homeowner

Termites can damage the home and additional property on or near an infestation. Damage may not be covered by insurance and homeowners that do not address a termite issue before making repairs will continue to have termite problems. Termites require proper identification, treatment and controls to prevent a return. Treat termites at the first sign of an infestation to reduce the likelihood of extensive property damage. Contact a licensed professional to accurately identify and treat a termite infestation.

Greg Geilman REALTOR®
President and CEO, South Bay Residential

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail will not be published. All fields are required.