How destructive are termites?
Nationwide, termites cause over a billion dollars in damage annually more than all tornadoes, hurricanes and windstorms combined. Because they nibble away slowly from the inside, damage can be very extensive before it is noticed. It’s not unusual for a termite to feast on a building throughout a life span of 15 years and the queen can live and produce eggs for up to 50 years. Undetected and untreated, termites can severely damage and, in time, destroy a home.
Don’t termites attack only old, run-down buildings?
Termites have been found in buildings as early as four days after construction. Every building fabricated wholly or partly of wood is susceptible. Chemical or mechanical barriers can be established in the construction stage, however, to prevent or discourage termite infestations in new homes.
Are there different kinds of termites?
Entomologists have identified over 2900 species, 55 of which exist in the United States. But there are only two kinds, basically, that homeowners have to worry about: subterranean termites and drywood termites.
What is the difference?
They’re basically very similar. All termites subsist on cellulose, which they get from wood. And all termites are social insects with a highly organized caste system, much like ants. But subterranean termites, as the name indicates, usually live outside the house in underground nests. They use moisture in the earth to survive. Since they also need cellulose, they often tunnel into nearby homes to get it. Drywood termites, on the other hand, need no contact with the earth. They live right inside the homes that they devour.
Where are termites found in the U.S.?
Subterranean termites inhabit the entire 48 states and Hawaii, but are most common in the southern two-thirds of the U.S. Drywood termites are not as widespread as subterranean termites. They’re mainly a problem in the Southern regions.
How can I tell if I have a termite problem? And, if so, what kind?
Subterranean termites are often detected during swarming, usually in the spring, when some fly from their nests to start new colonies. Other signs are shelter tubes primarily composed of mud on the surface of walls, joists, piers, chimneys, plumbing and other fixtures. Weak or broken structural members, blistered wood and soil in cracks can also be evidence of subterranean termites. Drywood termites sometimes give themselves away by creating surface blisters on wood and leaving wings or piles of waste that look resemble salt and pepper looking sawdust on windowsills and floors.
What if there aren’t any signs present, does that mean my home is free of termites?
Not necessarily. Termites work from the inside out and are very often hard to detect. Especially drywood termites that have no link to the outside and spend their entire lives indoors in walls, in roofs, etc. The only way you can be sure you are not sharing your home with termites is to have it inspected by a professional pest control operator (PCO).
What does such an inspection involve?
Because a pest control operator has a trained eye and knows what to look for, his examination will be brief but thorough. He will identify evidence of any previous treatments or infestations, any wood-destroying organisms present and the damage they’ve caused, and any structural conditions that may make your home especially vulnerable to attack.
What will an inspection cost?
The cost of an inspection varies. However, our inspection is FREE.
Suppose my home has termites. How can I get rid of them?
You have three options: spot treatment, fumigation or physical removal of infested wood. But for drywood termites a wood-penetrating gas fumigant is the only sure way.
Local Treatment with a foaming agent
And physical removal of the infested wood.
Do I have ants or termites ?
This can be a very troublesome question. Some of the flying winged ants can resemble the winged-swarming termite.
The swarming of small, dark insects near or inside a building may worry people who believe their home is infested by termites.
There is a difference between ant and termite reproductives (swarmers).
Termites go through a gradual metamorphosis that proceeds through egg, nymph and adult stages.
Ants will go from an egg, to larvae, then pupa and finally to the adult stage in what is called complete metamorphosis. The adult ant worker is an adult and looks like an adult ant.
Here are some ways do identify the difference between the physical resemblance.
DON’T BE CONFUSED. KNOW THE DANGEROUS DIFFERENCE
While both species have four wings, the termite wings are all the same size and the ant wings have noticeably larger wings in the front as compared to the hind pair. Ant reproducers (swarmers) have two pairs of wings. Often ants have a black dot near the tip of the front wings, and dark wing veins can be seen. You can’t see termite wing veins with the naked eye.
Ant wings do not break off easily. Termite wings break off easily, with just a touch. You may see the broken wings from the swarming termites in an area they have been crawling.
- Termites have almost straight antennae; the ant’s antennae are elbowed.
- Termite wings are twice as long as the body.
- Ants appear distinctly segmented, because of their thin-waisted appearance. Termites have a broad-waisted appearance. Termite waists are not narrow. Termite bodies are straight-sided with no constriction.
Trademark Exterminators, Inc. have trained, licensed professionals who know termites and the products available for eliminating and/or preventing their attack.
There are many species of structural infesting termites and each one has developed effective ways to get at and attack the wood in your home. Preventing termite attack and killing these termites is vital if you want to avoid the damage they cause.
Termites live in colonies which are usually underground, although sometimes they can be within your home itself. The “worker” termite forages outside of the colony for food. It consumes the wood creating “galleries” and then returns to feed the rest of the colony.
Hollow wood underneath a finished surface. Wood underneath will have earth filled galleries, but termites are not always present.
Tell-tale signs of termites include mud (or shelter) tubes on foundation walls, termite swarms and of course infested wood members. Earth tubes between the soil and some wooden structure under the house is a sure sign of subterranean termites. These tubes can go up the foundation wall, along plumbing, or directly from the soil to the wood. Subterranean termites build these distinctive tunnels, often referred to as “mud tubes,” to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. They use their scissor-like jaws to eat wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like other termite species, subterranean termites also feed on products containing cellulose.
KING and QUEEN – In a young colony, the king and the queen are the actively reproducing termites in the colony. Their only function is the production of the eggs. Termite queens have the longest lifespan of any insect in the world, with some queens reportedly living up to 30 to 50 years.
EGGS – The tiny termite egg is almost transparent. During the incubation period the egg is groomed and tended by workers. The larva hatches from the egg and is about the same size.
NYMPHS – Nymphs are young termites that go through molting stages to take on their role in the colony.
WORKER – This termite is the one which forages from the nest to the wood supply and returns with food for the colony.
SOLDIER – Defender of the colony. The soldier termite develops a long, armored head and mandibles capable of cutting an enemy ant in half. The soldier also sounds the alarm by banging his head against the side of a tunnel.
Soldiers and works can have a lifespan of one two years.
SWARMERS – Once the termites become of the reproductive stage they develop wings and venture out into the world seeking new conditions to establish new colonies. The Subterranean termites swarm in the Spring and Drywood termites in the Fall and Summer. Swarmers are attracted to light so you may find them around your window sills.
When the short flight is finished, the swarmers drop their wings and the males begin a frenzied search for compatible mates. Because the swarmers are exposed and are prey to predator birds and insects, very few ever survive to establish a new colony.
Any further questions?
If you have further questions concerning termite control please contact Trademark Exterminators, Inc. at (951) 727-8820