In North Carolina, when the threat of frost has passed, termites emerge from their subterranean tunnels in order to find a mate and create a new nest where they can feed on a near endless supply of wood and cellulose. Often, that is inside someone’s home, but most homeowners don’t realize they have a termite infestation until they discover damage. By then, repairs and extermination can set you back thousands of dollars.
To help you spot whether or not you have a pest problem, our termite control company in Raleigh is sharing the key things to look for in a termite infestation.
Different Types of Termites
There are three main sub-groups of termites:
- Subterranean: These are in all states but Alaska and live underground, building vast mud tubes that allow them to travel from underground into homes and buildings to look for a source of food, typically soft wood and cellulose. Subterranean termites do the most damage due to their massive colonies and ravenous appetites.
- Drywood: They don’t require soil for their habitat, able to tunnel through hard wood. While they are destructive, their colonies are smaller, so they aren’t as destructive.
- Dampwood: These termites require damp wood, like rotting logs, so they are rarely found in homes.
In North Carolina, subterranean termites are the common pests, whereas drywood termites are found in the Western United States typically. They thrive in the damp, humid climates and short winters where they build a maze of tunnels through the soil and build mud tubes up the sides of homes until they find cracks in cement foundations, wood, or siding where they can enter the home.
How Do I Know if I Have Termites
As we mentioned, in spring, they emerge en masse to find a mate and build a new colony, but as they emerge, they form massive swarms. These swarms are easy to spot and let you know to call pest control before they come into your home. As they land, their wings fall off and they go back into the soil. Piles of thin, translucent wings in your flower beds, on your window sills, or near your home are cause for concern.
Can I See Termites?
Termites are small, and they spend much of their life in hiding underground, within their mud tubes, or eating. So, they are hard to see, but they’re definitely not invisible. They are about a quarter of an inch in length, and while swarmers are dark-brown to black in color, the workers within the nests are cream-colored. As we mentioned, their wings fall off and those are a key clue it’s time to call termite control.
Can I Hear Termites?
While you won’t hear them while your home is active, ie: the TV is on, conversations are going on, kids and pets are running around, when there’s no other sound, you may hear a low, dry rattling sound. It’s not the sound of them eating, termites communicate through the nest by banging their head on wood, and when there are hundreds or more within your walls, it becomes a rattling sound.
Does Mulch Cause Termites?
While termites may eat the wood in mulch, having mulch doesn’t cause termites. They live underground, so it doesn’t even create a hospitable habitat for them. However, it’s not a bad idea to keep any mulch raked about six inches away from your home’s foundation to make mud tubes more visible.
Do I Have Termites or Flying Ants
Flying ants are often mistaken for termites, but they don’t cause nearly the damage that termites do. While they both swarm in a similar fashion, there are a few key differences when trying to identify them. You may have to get closer than you want to, but you can see the differences between:
- Color: Flying ants are often black or a red color whereas termites in North Carolina are dark brown, cream, or black.
- Wings: Both insects have two sets of wings. Termites’ wings are the same size, but flying ants have one pair that is large, one pair that is small.
- Body: Termites are straight up and down with no real “waist,” whereas flying ants have a “pinched” waist.
Both are unpleasant pests that should be gotten rid of, but again, flying ants aren’t as destructive.
Contact Us for Termite Control in Raleigh
If you’re seeing signs of termites, or you’re worried you may have an infestation, check out our Termite FAQs to learn signs of an infestation, how we treat for termites, and how to prevent them from coming back! Then, reach out to us by filling out the form below or giving us a call at 919-231-3292. We offer quick, effective termite extermination in Raleigh and the surrounding area and will be happy to help you eliminate the problem.