Termite FAQ

by | Mar 18, 2020 | Articles, Newsletters | 0 comments

 

When are termites most common?  Once a colony is established, termites are a year-round problem. However, there is an increase in colony expansion activity during warm weather. 

What Do Termites Look Like?  When we talk about termites, we usually speak mostly of the subterranean termite. It is responsible for 90% of all termite damage.  If you were to find a termite infested stump on your property and split it open, you would immediately notice two distinct termites:  the worker and the swarmer. The worker will appear pale and worm-like from a distance, but up close you will see the six legs and two antennae that distinguish it as an insect. The swarmer will appear black in color and have white wings that layer on top of each other and appear as one.

Do Termites Have Wings?  In a termite colony, only the swarmer termites, also known as reproductives, have wings. Swarmer termites quickly shed their wings after mating and go on to become the queens and kings of newly established termite colonies.

When Do Termites Swarm?  Termite swarms can happen any time of the year, but often occur in spring when temperatures warm up.

What Attracts Termites?  Subterranean termites are attracted to moisture, especially moistened wood. If you have mulch, bushes, shrubs or dead stumps near your home, you will invite termites in close to your exterior walls. Termite swarmers are attracted to light, so it is important to keep lights off at night or switch white light bulbs to yellow, insect-resistant bulbs.

My Neighbor Has A Termite Problem, Should I Be Worried?  If you don’t have termite protection around your home, you should be worried. When the termite colony in your neighbor’s yard or house becomes mature, it will produce hundreds of termite swarmers. When this happens, your home is at great risk of a termite infestation.  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.

What are common signs of termites?  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.

How can I identify a termite?   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 pairs 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 pairs of wings that differ in size and shape (front are much larger).

Can termites make their way through concrete?  Termites cannot go through solid concrete, but they can get through a crack only 1/32nd of an inch wide. Openings this size or bigger often occur where two pieces of concrete about – like when poured separately – and around plumbing penetrations through the concrete or where the concrete has cracked.

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 inside my property?  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 1/32nd 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.

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.  Preventative action makes good sense in any termite-prone area and you should also consider implementing 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.

My house does not have termites – should I still get a termite treatment?  Yes. Without an effective prevention program, like a barrier bait station plan, your home is open to termite damage, which could remain unnoticed until it becomes a serious problem.

How much damage do termites cause?  Termites feed 24/7/365, they never sleep, meaning damage to wood in and around a structure can happen very quickly. In fact, the NPMA estimates that termites cause $5 billion in property damage each year. The good news is that termites can be controlled and killed. 

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