What Causes Termites

What Causes Termites?

Types of Termites

The three common types of home-invading termites, dampwood, drywood, and subterranean, are drawn to homes for different reasons.

Most dampwood and drywood termites live inside the woods they eat, while subterranean termites mostly live in the ground and venture to and from the wood they consume back to their underground colony. Subterranean species are also most likely to live in large groups.

What Attracts Termites?

While all termites are attracted to wood, they each have specific preferences. As their names would suggest, dampwood and drywood termites seek out moist or dry woods respectively. Subterranean termites must have moist soil nearby and infest any wood that is in contact with the ground. In addition, subterranean termites will construct mud tubes they use to move from the soil to wood. Mud tubes in essence become a “link” for the termites to use in order to provide protection against dehydration and a route to wood that may be located above ground. Homeowners might unknowingly bring termites inside in firewood or untreated lumber.

In addition to wood inside the home, termites are drawn inside by moisture, wood in contact with house foundations, and cracks in building exteriors. Different combinations of these factors attract different species. Additionally, geographic location plays a role in how likely homeowners are to deal with infestations. Warm weather and consistent humidity make southern residents most likely to experience termite activity.

Moisture
Leaky pipes, improper drainage, and poor airflow all create moisture issues that attract termites. Dampwood and subterranean termites in particular thrive in humid environments. While dampwood termites prefer water-damaged wood, subterranean termites are unable to live unless surrounded by enough moisture.

Wood that’s in Contact with House Foundations
Since some species, like subterranean termites, need to move through wood or soil in order to get inside houses, having wood touching the foundation of homes makes those buildings susceptible to infestation. Mulch, overgrown shrubs, and firewood placed too close to homes are just some types of wood that grant termites access to structural wood.

Cracks in Building Exteriors
Any crack or fissure in home foundations or gaps in siding offer termites the opportunity to come inside. Subterranean species build mud tubes in these imperfections and use these to move indoors. Additionally, cracks around windows and doors allow swarmer termites of all species to get inside and start colonies.

How to Remove Termites

Homeowners can look for conditions around houses that are inviting to termites. Checking for high levels of moisture and reducing humidity in the home, as well as treating and covering any exposed wood in contact with the soil, helps prevent encounters. Examining building exteriors for broken window screens, imperfectly sealed plumbing lines, and cracked shingles and fascia boards helps limit termite access. However, contacting pest control experts is the best and most efficient way to effectively treat termite infestations and prevent further activity since DIY kits often do not work on large populations.

www.orkin.com

Do termites come from my neighbour?

Where do termites come from? Termites (also known as ‘white ants’) can travel upwards and horizontally. They build mud tubes to engage in their termite activity and food sourcing in the ground and allow them to travel up and down the tube.

Termites form colony that is established in the soil, and most landed homes are now built in clusters or in a connected row, the risks of getting a termite infestation may be higher. If your neighbour has a history of termite infestation, are you at risk of getting a termite infestation? The answer is a resounding yes!

Besides the termites’ movement and mobility in vertical and horizontal means, there are 2 important factors influencing the spread of infestation.

  1. Is the termite infestation resolved and under control? Are they addressing just the surface problem with a “contact kill” localized treatment instead of resolving the root source?
  2. Is the quality of treatment effective and responsive? In some treatments and solutions, the termiticide chosen are repellent form, and has compromised efficacies. For example, it may have minimum domino effect and less significant in colony elimination.

So what happens if your neighbour has a termite problem or has recently completed a termite control treatment?

#1: Engage in a termite control specialist to do a thorough inspection using Microwave technology or thermal imaging to detect if your home already has termite activity or early signs of infestation.

#2: Protect your home with quality and innovative termite solution. If your home is infested or already damaged by ‘white ants’, there is termite solution that halts termite feeding effectively to prevent further damage to your structure.

#3 Ensure consistent and regular monitoring and inspection to identify any potential risks and activities if any. It is important to detect early and take quick corrective measures.

#4: Adopt a healthy housekeeping habit and home maintenance to prevent food source to attract termites. Termites need food, water and shelter to survive. Follow the 10 things you can do to protect your home.

#5: Be informed and aware of termites and their signs. How do termites look like? Where to spot them? How to tell if your home has termites? For instance, Termites have a straight waist, straight antenna, and same length of wings. They are different and should not be mistaken for ants. Most people tend to get confused between Termites and Ants.

Now that you may have one of the answers to where do termites come from, what is the next step you should take to ensure your home has no termite activity? What determines an effective termite control- is it the pest control prices?

The 1 st step you should take is to request for a home inspection to identify potential signs or infestation risks. Fill in this fast and easy online form here today for a non-obligation home check service.

www.rentokil.com.sg

Flying Termites Could Mean Serious Trouble

Why should you care about flying termites?

It might be said that seeing winged termites is the insect equivalent of having a black cat cross your path – in other words, a sign of bad luck.

If you see swarms around or inside your home, it should act as a warning sign for 2 potential dangers:

  1. You may already have an existing termite problem
  2. Your home may be at risk of potential termite infestation.

The actual swarmers themselves do not cause damage. It is their offspring, which have the power to damage your property once they land back on solid ground and search for a suitable location to start a new colony.

If you find any of the signs of termites or their swarmers, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office right away. Stop the termite damage before it gets too severe with our termite removal and prevention specialists.

Termite swarmers

Flying termites are one of the clearest signs of a termite problem, and they could mean trouble to you and your home!

Experts are always saying how difficult it is to tell if you have termites. However, when winged termites emerge from the nest to take flight, all of a sudden, you are presented with a very obvious, and not at all subtle, sign of termites .

Some ant species also swarm around the same time of year, so you might confuse the two. However, treatment for termites and ants differ enormously.

If you see winged termites indoors, the alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear. You may have an existing problem. In other words, you may have termite damaged timber or damaged furniture in your home.

On the other hand, seeing a termite swarm outdoors may not be too much of a concern apart from the obvious nuisance if you happen to be caught in the middle of it. More on this later.

When do termites fly?

Usually in the spring. You may have witnessed swarms of winged termites, especially when the ambient air temperatures start to rise. This change in temperature triggers the young adult winged termites to emerge from their nests in large groups.

What is the point of flying termites?

It signals the start of a new termite colony. Swarming is the means by which sexually mature termites with wings leave their nest due to overcrowding or lack of sufficient food. Once the male locates a female he likes, they break off their wings, symbolizing that they are a couple. The new couple then select a nest location, mate, and become king and queen of a new colony. The queen has been known to live for 30 or more years.

Have you ever found discarded wings by a window?

In the case of Drywood termites, this could be timber within your roof. This is where the damage often begins…which can continue unnoticed for months and even years!

In the case of Subterranean termites, once back on the ground, they will dig into the soil to start new colonies underground.

How to reduce the risk from termite swarms

Built-up moisture in wood resulting from damaged timber on your property can attract termites. Regular inspection of your home is key to protecting against a termite infestation .

How to prevent termite activity

There are things you can do now to protect your home. Ehrlich recommends taking the following actions:

  • Correct moisture issues such as leaks, drainage concerns, excess condensation, etc.
  • Watch heating and cooling units closely for condensation issues
  • Remove extraneous wood and debris from near your home and your yard, including construction materials, fallen trees, stumps, leaf litter, etc.
    Avoid wood to soil contact
  • Keep mulch pulled back from the foundation
  • Do not stack firewood next to your home – keep it at a distance
  • Do not use untreated wood or timber in construction projects such as decks, sheds, etc.

If you feel that you might have termites in your home, the sooner you call for help, the better. Ehrlich knows that no two homes are alike. Our termite experts will work with you to develop a customized plan that’s right for your home and family Contact us today.

Bryan Alaspa

Bryan has been working as a content writer for nearly a decade. He is also a published author of fiction and non-fiction. These days he is an Online Content and Social Media Specialist with Rentokil.

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

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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