What Is The Best Way To Get Rid Of Termites?

February 22, 2021
get rid of termites

Termites are one of the most destructive wood destroying insects that homeowners commonly have to deal with. Since they feed on wood nonstop, a termite infestation can quickly escalate into a major problem. This is why one should always be aware of changes they see in and around their home as well as be knowledgeable in what to look out for.

  • Are There Different Types Of Termites
  • How Do I Know If I Have A Termite Infestation
  • Why You Should Get A WDO Report For Your Home
  • What Is The Best Way To Get Rid Of Termites

Are There Different Types Of Termites

Termites live all over the country but there are specific types depending on which part of the U.S. you live in. Knowing what types of termites live around your area will help you to identify them in case you ever happen to have an infestation.

Subterranean Termites– Subterranean termites are a creamy white to dark brown or even black in color. They are long and narrow with a rectangular head. Commonly found throughout North America, they live in colonies that consist of numerous individual termites. This type of termite is the most common home invading wood destroying insect and the most destructive of all termites within the U.S. They build mud tubes to protect them from the elements and as a way to reach their food source. Mostly active in the spring because they reproduce and start new colonies.

Drywood Termites– Drywood termites are a creamy to light brown color and are also long and narrow like the Subterranean termite. They are commonly found in the southern coastal states of the U.S. Colonies can grow up to 2,500 in number while they chew through wooden structural support of homes and buildings. Their diet mainly consists of house lumber, utility poles, furniture and dying trees.

Dampwood Termites– Dampwood termites are a creamy white to brown color which are also long and narrow like their sibling species. Most commonly found throughout the Pacific Coast and Southern Florida, they live in damp areas, near open water, in rotting wood and mulch. When invading a home they enter at points where wood has contact with damp soil and will produce fecal pellets indicating an infestation. From January to October they will swarm to set up new nests.

Formosan Termites– Formosan termites are a creamy white to brown color. Their head is rounded on the sides and tapered in the front. They are commonly found in Southern Florida, Hawaii and the southern parts of the Gulf Coast states. This species builds large underground colonies but they are also known to establish secondary nests above ground as well.

Subset Of Subterranean Termites– This subset species is the most aggressive of all termite species. They live in all types of structures including trees, utility poles and even boats. The first sign of a subset termite infestation is the visual of swarmers.

How Do I Know If I Have A Termite Infestation

Did you know that it is more likely that your home will be invaded and destroyed by termites than ever catching on fire? Almost every home in the U.S. is vulnerable to termite infestation so it’s important to be aware of what to look for.

Though termites are very small, they can actually make a lot of noise if you listen closely. A quiet clicking or chewing sound can be detected if you place your ear close to the wood that is infested. This is because worker termites are noisy eaters or when the colony feels threatened the soldier termites will bang their heads against the wood and shake their bodies to signal to others that there is danger.

Flying termites will often leave piles of discarded wings. This is typically one of the first things you will see if you have a termite infestation. Some species swarm during the evening hours around light sources while others swarm in the daylight. Drywood termites tend to swarm after it rains during particular times of the year making them stand out amongst their counterparts.

Mud tubes are also an indicator of a termite infestation. These tubes are built near the foundational structure of your home or building making them easy to spot. Subterranean termites are commonly known to build these tubes as a way to provide them access to food sources and moisture. Eliminating moisture rich environments around your home will decrease the odds of attracting these little buggers.

Hollow sounding timber is another indicator of termites because termites eat their food from the inside out. If you knock on areas you believe are infected it may sound hollow or even have a papery sound. Unexplained cracks could also indicate termite activity. If flooring begins to sag or blister or have an extra spring when you step you may want to look underneath to see if there is an invasion of these pests. Since termite activity is within the wooden beams, they are not likely to be easily seen so taking the time to really look for them can pay off if you do happen to have an infestation.

Last, but not least, frass or termite droppings are a sure sign of termite infestation. Drywood termites are known to leave these as clues of an infestation behind. This will be found around the entry of the nest where the termites push the frass outside of their tunnel systems. It resembles a powdery substance that is dark to almost black in color.

Why You Should Get A WDO Report For Your Home

Are you looking to buy or sell your home? If you are you may want to look into getting a WDO report. This report will inspect for all wood destroying organisms and pests. Termites are one of the most common wood destroying insects but there are many others that can wreak havoc on your home without you knowing about it. Keep in mind that though WDO inspections will look for termite activity presently or in the past it is not the same as a termite only inspection as it will cover all wood destroying pests providing you a very detailed report or all wood destroying organisms.

If you do have any wood destroying insects invading your home, you will want to be made aware of this as they can cause a huge amount of damage to the structure of your home, possibly making it unsafe structurally. Termites themselves never stop destroying the wood they are invading so the amount of damage they can achieve can happen in a short period of time. By having this report you will not only be able to fix any damages from an infestation but if you do not have an infestation, you will be able to sell or buy a home with complete peace of mind.

What Is The Best Way To Get Rid Of Termites

If you have a termite infestation the only way to ensure you are getting rid of them is by hiring a pest control company to come out and eradicate them. Self treating termite infestations will almost always result with continued problems as these insects are very secretive and hard to find. A skilled pest control technician will not only know what to look for but will have the most effective products to eradicate the colonies completely.

Prevention however is something that you as a homeowner can do to deter an infestation from happening. Clearing away all debri, woodpiles, bushes and large trees that sit against or within six feet of your home is a good place to start. You do not want to give these pests any reason to be attracted to your home. Keeping the foundational areas free from moisture by ensuring good ventilation, cutting back overhanging branches and storing anything that termites consider food away from your home is key. This will also prevent other pests from being attracted to your home as well. Making sure that all doors and windows are properly sealed as well as checking those a/c units where the water drips down and can corrode exposed wood are all preventative measures. Get rid of recyclables like cardboard and throw away any unnecessary debri. The tidier the exterior of your home is the less likely termites will be attracted to it.

The best way to get rid of termites is to understand how termites function and what you can do to prevent them from feeding on your home. If an infestation has already occurred, calling a professional pest control company that is knowledgeable and skilled in getting rid of termites is the best option in resolving your termite infestation.

Image credit: Flickr @ craig, @ Joshua

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