Even though a single termite appears harmless, a large termite colony can cause significant structural damage to a home within a short period. Termites are often referred to as “silent destroyers” because they can eat through wood, flooring, and even wallpaper without being noticed. Termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage each year.
Termite populations spring up across the country as temperatures rise from the South to the North, looking for a new home. Searching for hospitable habitats like homes that may have been damaged by rain or snow during the winter months, they dispatch their explorers, also known as swarmers. Swarmers have a striking resemblance to flying or winged ants, and many homeowners mistake them for the latter when they find them in their homes. If swarmers find your home the ideal place to settle down, you can expect the rest of their colony to follow.
The most common termite species in the United States is the subterranean termite, with about 2,000 known species worldwide.
Every state except Alaska has subterranean termites. This termite species can have up to 2 million members in its underground colonies or moist, secluded areas aboveground. For both food and protection from the elements, they construct “mud tubes.” Termites that live underground are the most destructive to structures in the United States.
Formosan termites, which originated in China, are the most greedy, aggressive, and cunning of the over 2,000 termites that have been scientifically studied. A structure’s walls are lined with intricate mud nests built by Formosans, who form large underground colonies. Once inside a building, Formosan termites can be difficult to eradicate because of their aggressive behavior. Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia are infested with Formosan termites. The termites can also be found in Texas, Louisiana; Alabama; Florida; Tennessee; and South Carolina.
Dampwood termites eat wood that has been exposed to a lot of water, as the name implies. Termites found in damp wood are typically larger than those found in dry wood. The low moisture content of wood in structures prevents them from invading, but care must be taken to avoid attracting dampwood termites. Dampwood termites can be found in coastal and adjacent states, desert or semi-arid regions, and southern Florida.
Drywood termites, unlike subterranean and Formosan termites, do not necessitate contact with soil to thrive. If you see dead wood around your home, you may have a problem with this kind of termite. They are commonly found in roof materials, and wooden wall supports. It is possible to find them in a wood near a water source, like a water heater, even though they don’t require much moisture for survival. From North Carolina through the Gulf Coast and into the coastal sections of California, drywood termites can be found.
Caribbean conehead termites are an invasive species. They arrived in the United States for the first time in 2001. Conehead termites were renamed from “tree termites” to dispel the myth that this pest can only be found in wooded areas. A resurgence of this pest in Broward County, Florida, has been reported recently, even though the species was thought to have been exterminated in the country in 2003. The conehead termite differs from most other termites because it does not migrate through underground tunnels. Foraging on the ground like ants, they can spread swiftly and spread their colony quickly. Conehead Termites are one of the most destructive species on the market for termite damage.
How to Know if There Are Termites
Termite evidence is not usually visible to the untrained eye; however, homeowners may be able to spot a potential termite infestation by keeping a close eye on their property. Contact a pest control professional immediately if you notice any following symptoms.
- Exposed termite mud tubes leading to the house’s foundation
- Hollow-sounding, supple wooden surfaces in the home
- Wood constructions that darken or blister.
- Paint that is uneven or bubbling
- Pile of sawdust-like feces near a termite colony
- Wings that have been discarded near doors or windowsills are a sign that swarmers have entered the home.
How to Prevent a Termite Infestation
Reduce termite attraction to the structure. Use a concrete foundation and leave a gap between the soil and wood during construction. Apply a sealant or metal barrier to any wood surfaces exposed.
Inspect and Maintain the Termite Preventive Features
- Drainage and proper soil grading around the foundation should be maintained after construction is complete (including maintenance of gutters and downspouts).
- Make sure there aren’t any places where termites can get in and out of the structure.
- Repair any leaks as soon as you notice them.
- Keep vents unobstructed, including by plants, at all times.
- Plant trees and shrubs far enough away from the structure to don’t grow up against the wood.
- Firewood and wood debris should not be stored near the house.
- Termite colonies can’t grow if you don’t check your home regularly.
How to Treat a Termite Infestation
Insecticides aren’t necessary for all situations to keep termites at bay. For instance:
- A physical barrier, typically built into a building, is one example.
- Physical barriers such as steel mesh and certain sizes of sand have been proven to be effective.
- As nematode and fungal control agents have shown some success in laboratory settings.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must review studies on pesticides before being sold or distributed in the United States, except for certain low-risk pesticides. Once we’ve reached that conclusion, we’ll issue a pesticide license or registration for use only following the pesticide’s label. Before a termiticide can be registered, it must demonstrate the ability to protect the structure of a building from termite infestations. A pest management professional is the only person who can properly apply termiticides in most cases.
Conventional Barrier Treatment
Soil-applied barrier treatment is the most widely used method of eradicating termite infestations. These chemicals must be labeled specifically to be used as a barrier treatment for termites.
There is a risk of contaminating drinking water supplies and preventing termites from invading if these treatments are done incorrectly. Because of this, hiring a pest management professional who is both licensed and trained is critical. Contact our team today.