When Does Termite Season Start

When Does Termite Season Start?

Termite season does not have a set beginning and end, as termites are active year round. The season when termites are most visible – through swarms, discarded wings and droppings – coincides roughly with the Major League Baseball season (March to November).

In warmer climates, termites remain consistently active year round. In cooler climates, termites typically are less active during the winter months (November – February). While termites in these areas may slow down during the holidays, their continued activity means that they can cause damage at any time.

How Long Is Termite Season?

The period of time termites are visible depends on where you live. Subterranean termites do not forage for food when the soil is too hot or cold. Depending on which U.S. state you call home, you may experience moderate temperatures for a few months a year – or almost all of the year.

The weather is not the only factor impacting activity. Termite activity also depends on the degree of shelter a colony receives in its nest. Drywood termites located inside a warm home are not as exposed to temperature variations, so seasonal weather changes will not impact them as much. Similarly, subterranean termites may create nests up to 18 inches below ground and away from the cool air, or forage in more protected areas of their nest during the winter. An environment with a regulated temperature – like your basement – can provide the perfect shelter from the cool weather.

Termite Tube in Basement:
When Does Termite Season End?

While termites typically are not visible year round, they can damage your house any month of the year. Regardless of the season or the outside temperature, if you see signs of termite infestation, contact your pest control professional. A qualified termite specialist is trained to identify signs of a termite infestation, even when activity is not very visible.

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Active Vs. Non-Active Termites

Active termite infestation means that live insects are currently chewing on your home. Inactive means there’s evidence of a previous infestation, but no sign of live termites. You might see live termites and know there’s an active infestation. If you don’t see termites, that doesn’t mean it’s inactive. You need a professional pest control agency to inspect your property and make a determination.

Active Termite Infestation

There’s little doubt your house is actively infested if you see the winged creatures swarming indoors or outside, around the windows or foundation. If you don’t see the actual insects, you could find their discarded wings in these areas. You might also spot their frass, or feces. Drywood termites produce pelleted frass, while subterranean termites use their frass to build tunnels. Signs of an actual infestation, even if you don’t see bugs, include mud tubes around the foundation, floor joists and support pillars. These tubes are constructed not just from dirt, but from termite feces and saliva.

Non-Active Termites

It’s possible that the mud tubes are empty, no longer serving as the termites’ means of transportation from their colony to your dwelling. An exterminator will break open and inspect the tubes for the “worker termites,” tiny cream-colored insects. If these insects aren’t present in various areas of the tube, you might not have an active infestation, especially if the tubes appear dry. An exterminator must thoroughly inspect your premises to determine whether there’s an active termite presence.

Exterminators

Getting rid of termites isn’t a do-it-yourself activity. Choose a termite control company carefully. Termites chew slowly, so spending several weeks finding the best pest control entity won’t make much difference in destruction, Ask for recommendations before hiring a company, checking with the state regulatory department to make sure prospective companies are duly licensed. Also look for companies that are members of state or national pest control organizations. A termite inspector will go over your property thoroughly, identifying the type of termite causing the damage or the extent of activity. Treatment depends upon the amount of infestation or type of termite. Your house might require annual inspections and spot treatments, as specified in the contract with the exterminating company.

Prevention

To prevent termites from invading your home, or to ensure that inactive termites stay that way, repair any leaking water pipes. Seal any openings on pipes or utility lines. Clean your downspouts and gutters regularly, and don’t allow water to accumulate on the roof. Check the downspouts several times a year to make sure they are effectively diverting water. Don’t store firewood or other debris near your house. Keep mulch and plantings away from the house’s foundation. Termites need a water source — without one, they quickly dehydrate.

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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.

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What’s the difference between termites and other insects like ants?

Termites themselves are actually quite small and have some similarities to ants (hence why they sometimes get confused for ants) but there are also some distinct differences between these two species of insects that will help you to correctly identify if you have an ant problem, or a more serious termite infestation.

What do termites look like?
Termites don’t tend to like sunlight that much and tend to spend much of their time underground. Because they’re out of direct sunlight for most of their lives they tend to have a light white/cream colour to their bodies. Depending on the light, they can also look a little translucent or see through.

Below are a couple of distinct characteristics of termites:-

  • Termites will have a straight antennae
  • Termites will have a thick, straight waist
  • Termites will shed their wings at certain times

What do ants look like?
We’re all pretty familiar with what ants look like, but as there are many different types of ants (and flying ants) sometimes it’s understandable that people get ants and termites mixed up. Ants will have a darker colour than termites and also have some characteristics of their own:-

  • Ants will have a bent antennae
  • Ants have a pinched waist
  • Flying ants don’t shed their wings
  • They have three sections to their bodies – the head, the thorax and the gaster

What do termites eat?

Wood, wood and more wood. Technically termites are going after the Cellulose fibers found in organic matter like wood, paper and different types of plants and they will chew their way through this food source that’s typically ignored by other insects and animals.

What are some signs that termites are in or around my home?

There’s a wide range of signs you can look for around your home and yard to ensure you’re not being silently invaded. Let’s work our way from the outside of your home to the inside. That way you can check most areas of your home if you have concerns.

Note: Remember, if you’re worried about termites or see signs of termites around your home, it’s wise to call a professional like us to inspect and treat your home.

Look for signs before the insect
It’s quite possible you’re likely to see termite signs before you see any actual termites, unless you happen to see flying termites around your yard or home. Sometimes flying termites will swarm and this can happen during the day or night. If you happen to see a large swarm of flying termites around your home or are seeing wings discarded in or around your home, that’s a sure fire sign you may have a problem with termites (if not now then possibly in the future).

Here are some other signs that you may have termites in your home.

Thin, papery or hollow sounding wood
If you have walls or sections of your home that should be solid and sound hollow when tapped, this could be because termites have eaten away at the wood. Because termites usually eat wood from the inside out they can sometimes leave a thin layer of wood on the exterior of a beam, noggin, skirting board or wall.

Often our Brisbane termite inspection customers will call us distressed as they’ve just put their finger (or sometimes a hand or shoulder) through the wall or the vacuum cleaner managed to take out a big chunk of a skirting board.

Note – it’s a good idea to go around your home every couple of months and have a tap on walls, skirting boards and other wooden areas to make sure they sound solid. If they sound hollow please call us on (07) 3882 5351 to organise a professional inspection.

Termites make mud tunnels
Termites don’t like sunlight. This being the case they make little tunnels made of mud to get from the outside to the inside of your home. If you see these tunnels around your home this is usually a sign that termites are starting to establish a colony in your home and a professional inspection is recommended ASAP.

Termites make noise
If a customer calls us telling us they’re hearing a strange noise in their home, it’s usually something they hear in the dead of night and say it sounds like a munching/tapping sound coming from inside the walls.

If you’ve been wondering how to determine if you have termites and see any of the signs we’ve listed above in or around your home it’s a good idea to call us on (07) 3882 5351 to organise a termite inspection and possibly a termite treatment if we find anything.

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