Termites are known as pests for a reason. They are soft, white insects that live in groups, eat wood, and cause a lot of damage to wooden structures. Once termites enter any household they have the power to wreak havoc and leave a trail of destruction behind. Year on year they cause over $5 billion worth of damage to properties! That is a lot of damaged wood.
Termites have wings and they shed them when they find a place to build their nest. They eat away at wood and other wood based debris nonstop. Known as “silent destroyers” they have the capability to eat through wood, wooden flooring and foundations and even wallpaper without being discovered.
There are four kinds of termites that can Infestation in your house at any time. The categories are as follows:
what do termites look like
This type of termite is bigger in size compared to the other termite categories. Their diet mostly consists of feeding on moist wood – hence, the term “Dampwood Termite”.As their diet and habitat is a moist one, thesetermites live in damp wood that is either dying or in houses with leaky pipes that keep the moisture in the wood intact.The impact of these termites is usually low, as there is low moisture content in wood on a general basis. They do not carry diseases either so these are the least bothersome termites.
These termites swell to over 2500 members in any given colony. These termites live on (dry) wood, plant based clothing, wallpaper and even plastics.As the name suggests, these colonies spring around dry wood and are not in need of moisture or soil.As Drywood Termites feed on more items as well as wood that has no moisture, buildings are susceptible to greater damage. They can dig tunnels through buildings and eat through load bearing beams which may cause the house to lean or even collapse.
With colonies spreading beyond 300 feet, the number of termites in any given colony can go up into tens of thousands. As the numbers are so great, their destruction is great too.Although they are very destructive, second only to the Subterranean Termite category, they help the environment by creating more space for new plant life by eating away dead trees from the fauna. Wood and clothing from plants are also part of their diet.Like the Drywood Termites, Formosan Termites can also damage property beyond repair. As their number is greater, so is their spread of destruction.
Subterranean Termites reproduce to over 2 million members! That is a lot of termites within one colony. Their diet is much the same as the Drywood Termite.Coupled with their huge numbers and their varying diet, Subterranean Termites are the most destructive within all the termite categories. Their impact is spread not only within the house but outside as well. From wooden floors to insulation, from plastic pipes to even swimming pool liners, these termites leave nothing intact in their wake.Formosan Termites eat away dead trees; Subterranean Termites eat living trees and shrubs as well.
Five Signs of Termite Infestation
There are several ways to know that you have a termite infestation. Read on to learn of the five signs that you need to keep a look out for.
- Number One – Wood That Sounds Hollow
- Number Two – You See A Lot of Wings
- Number Three – You Notice Cracked Paint on Wood
- Number Four – Mud Tunnels on Wooden Surface or Walls
- Last Point – Frass
- Prevention And Cure
- Fumigation is one way of terminating Drywood Termites. Borate preservative is another solution in which it can either be used on untreated wood as a preventive measure, or the poison poured into holes drilled in affected wood as a curative one.
As termites prefer dark places, they usually do not eat the outer surface of the wood. Rather their work goes on out of sight of humans. They can be doing a lot of damage within wood that would otherwise look perfectly fine and smooth. To check whether termites are busy chewing away at your wooden doors or furniture, knock on the surface and keep an ear out for any hollow sounds. If the wood sounds solid, it is safe; however, if there is a sort of echo to the knock, it means the wood is being eaten away from within.
Termites that reproduce are known as “swarmers” and they keep on flying around to look for new places to begin colonies. If you see a swarm of winged insects or large amounts of wings that are casted off, it is best to call in termite specialists or fumigators who would determine whether indeed you are infested with termites or not.
If there is warped or distorted paint on surfaces that was previously not there, you may very well have a termite infestation. Drywood Termites do not need a lot of space to inhabit. They can wiggle through the smallest of openings. So it is best to cover any vents and openings around the house to prevent such an occurrence from happening.
These tunnels or tubes provide moisture to the Subterranean Termites and it is best to keep firewood and wood chips away from the house. These types of wood create an area rich in moisture and allow such termites to thrive and multiply.
Frass are the droppings of termites and are wood-colored. If you notice these around your dwelling then it is best to have it inspected and treated before the problem worsens. Other measures are to keep all gutters clean and remove cellulose materials that are the main diet of termites.
As already stated prevented measures include keeping dry and moist wood storage away from the house. These are the thriving grounds for any termite. Repair or replace damaged wood or wood that has a lot of moisture.
For curing these pest problems, it is best to call in specialists who know their way around termites.
Common procedures for Subterranean Termites are application of liquid repellants in the area surround the house and termite baiting. The latter is when stations with poisoned “food” are setup for the termites to ingest. This food is then shared among the colony and a means of killing off the termites in an easy and swift way.
Whatever the measures taken, homeowners need to learn of preventive as well as curative methods to avoid infestations of termites. They can create a lot of expensive damage within a house which is usually not even covered within any insurance policy. Homeowners need to be constantly vigilant of termite activity to avoid costly repairs.