Termites are a type of ant identified by their smaller size and foraging behavior below ground. They feed on cellulose in plant material, grass, leaves, paper, and wood. Termites do not actually live inside wood; they live in and digest it from the outside with their powerful saliva and gut bacteria. When termites chew through wood, they leave behind a sawdust-like material composed of fragments of their food and enzymes which cause the wood to soften and break away.
Termites are a destructive force of nature and are responsible for causing over $5 billion in damage in the United States each year. If you suspect the presence of termites in your home, you need to act quickly. Call the experts at Stomp Pest Control today for a free termite inspection.
Types of Termites
There are four main types of termites in the United States: dampwood termites, drywood termites, subterranean termites, and Formosan termites.
Dampwood termites live in the root crown of a tree or in damp wood near a water source. These colonies can be large, containing more than 12,000 adults and 1 million other individuals during their peak populations. Dampwood termites allow sap to drip from trees onto wood they are consuming, causing discoloration and decay. They do not have a swarm stage but rather reproduce slowly by budding off other termite colonies.
Drywood termites live in exposed, dry wood with little to no contact with the soil. Dry wood can be found inside homes or furniture as well as exposed beams in the attic or subfloor. Because they are not constantly fed by sap like dampwood termites, the dry wood variety reproduces much faster than dampwood termites. They can lay up to 10 eggs per day and grow their colonies to contain more than 1 million individuals during their active periods.
Subterranean termites live and thrive in the soil and feed on wood that has been in contact with it, such as fence posts or other structures buried below ground. They are not able to digest cellulose found deep inside wood, but they use powerful enzymes to bore through wood grain to access their food source. Subterranean termites swarm once a year during the warm summer months and can produce up to 15,000 swarmers a day.
Formosan termites are an invasive species found only in the United States. They were first discovered in Hawaii and have since spread through much of the country, including Florida and Texas. Formosans build their nests from tiny pellets of soil that they create within their colonies. They need water to survive and build tiny mud tubes along window sills, door frames and any other area where there is frequent contact with wood or moisture.
What Attracts Termites?
Termites can cause damage to your home before you know it. They are attracted to places where there is wood, moisture and warmth. Termites are most commonly found in wooden structures that are close to the ground, such as decks or house foundations. They can also be found in damp areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, near water heaters, under roofs with insufficient ventilation, and behind walls, because they provide a humid environment.
Moisture is one of the most important factors that attract termites to your home. Wood should never be kept wet for an extended period of time and it’s advisable not to use rain gutters or leave hoses unattended near wood structures. Termites can fit through small cracks in window sills, door frames and any other area where there is frequent contact with wood or moisture.
Wood That’s in Contact With House Foundations
Termites feed on wood near or in contact with foundations because it is easily accessible. It also offers the termites a somewhat protected environment from predators and other environmental hazards. This means that any wood along your foundation, such as fence posts, supports for roofs, decks, and other areas should be at least 18 inches away from the exterior walls of your home.
Cracks in Building Exteriors
Cracks in building exteriors can be a risk for termites because they are an easy way to access the wood inside. Termites will use these cracks as entry points into your home and then work their way through the rest of the structure using moist wood that is in contact with it. These entry points should always be sealed.
Examine wooden structures for any signs of termite damage, such as tiny piles of sawdust on windowsills or door frames, swarming insects around potted plants, and moist, spongy, or rotting wood. Keep wooden structures at least 18 inches from your house foundation and replace any termite-damaged wood immediately.
Avoid using rain gutters, never leave hoses unattended near wooden structures and inspect wooden parts of your home every month for signs of damage or swarming insects. If you have a termite infestation that you cannot control, call our pest control company, Stomp Pest Control, and ask for an inspection.
How to Remove Termites
Once termites have entered your home, there are steps you can take to remove them. First, isolate the area they are entering into by covering all entry points with metal sheeting or caulk. Then use a liquid chemical that is very fast-acting to kill the termites before sealing up these points again so they cannot come back in through the same place. If they are already inside, you will need to use a slower-acting chemical that works over several days.
Once these chemicals have done their job, you can keep termites off your property by keeping wood at least 18 inches away from the foundation of your home and making sure there is no moisture seeping through it.
It is important to note that contacting pest control experts is the most effective way to treat termite infestations. Not only that, but Stomp Pest Control will also help you prevent further termite activity.
Contact Us For Effective Termite Control
Contacting Stomp Pest Control is the best way to keep termites out of your home. Our team has more than ten years of experience in pest control and will provide you with effective solutions for preventing all kinds of pests, including termites. All it takes is one phone call to get started with our superior service. Call us today at (919) 231-3292 for a free quote.