Subterranean termites are the most common type of termites in our homes. These tiny pests feed 24 hours a day and, with their massive colony size (into the millions), can cause huge amounts of damage to wooden structures. And unfortunately, they are found in every state, except for Alaska.
Cold temperatures, bright light, and dry air are the only natural deterrents to termites who like dark, damp places to construct their nests and tunnels. Whenever you find a large number of insects in your home, it is essential to determine precisely what you are looking at quickly. In the case of termites, they can often be mistaken for ants and vice versa.
While termites come in distinct classes, reproductive, swarmers, workers, and soldiers that you can usually identify them by the following physical characteristics:
- Long narrow bodies that are oval in shape
- Antenna and six legs
- Swarmers are dark brown to black in coloration with long semi-translucent wings
- Workers are smaller, lack wings, and are light cream-colored
- Soldiers resemble workers with the addition of large mandibles
Dangers Posed from Infestation
The greatest danger from termites is the sheer unimaginable havoc that they cause to our homes. Every year in the US alone, termite infestations cause around $5 billion in property damage. Damage that is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
They destroy floors, walls, and ceilings, weakening supports and causing structural issues. If an infestation goes long enough without treatment, termites can collapse buildings.
Termites can also wreak havoc on those with asthma or sensitive allergies. The dust produced from eating wood and termite feces can often contain proteins and pathogens harmful to humans. Symptoms caused by the presence of termites themselves can include itchy patches of skin, watery eyes, or sneezing.
Their preference for damp environments also means mold can flourish in termite tunnels. Mold spores travel easily through the air and can spread throughout an entire house. Spores often cause headaches, fatigue, or other respiratory issues.
It is always better to prevent termites than to fix the problems that come with an infestation. There are a number of repellents on the market that you can place around your home to protect it for several years. But some simple landscaping and maintenance tasks can help keep your home unappealing or inaccessible to the termites in the first place.
- Make sure water from the gutter and other sources drain away from your home quickly
- Ventilate or dehumidify crawl spaces
- If you notice cracks in a foundation, seal them
- Keep at least a four-inch gap between the ground and wood-built framing
- Keep wood stacks and mulch away from the base of your home
Dealing with Termite Infestation and Damage
The first step in dealing with a termite infestation is knowing you have one. If you have noticed termites in or around your house, there are some signs that will tell you if they have nested in your home. We have gone in-depth on the signs that you may have a termite infestation before, but in general, look out for the following regularly:
- Walk the exterior of your home, basement walls, or look into substructure crawl spaces to find mud tubes connecting the ground to your home
- Look for darkening or blistering on exposed wood or uneven bubbling paint on walls, trim, and floor surfaces
- Unexplained piles of fine dust accompanied by discarded swarmer wings
As soon as you notice a termite infestation, you need to take immediate action. Termite swarms can quickly breed and infest other areas of your home.
Removing an Infestation
Every type of insect infestation requires a tailored solution, and termites are no exception. There are a few different species present in the US, so it is always better to call a specialist to determine the best course of action. Relying on doing spot treatments yourself might kill what you can see but can often scatter the remaining colony further into your home.
Professional pest management services can help address the entire home at once. By doing a thorough inspection, pest management can locate all of the infestation sources, deliver bait that will kill the whole colony, and help provide ongoing prevention knowledge or services.
Like many pesticides, the methods to eliminate termites can involve chemicals that can be dangerous if not handled properly. Turning to a professional to manage the problem can give you the peace of mind that you won’t accidentally harm your family or pets.
If you are in an area prone to termite infestations or have noticed them in your home, call a professional pest management service in your area immediately. For over 50 years, Rid-A-Bug Exterminating has provided affordable and professional pest management services across our service areas in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
No matter the day of the week, we can often have a certified technician on-site to address your concerns within 24 hours. We take a holistic approach to pest management.
After removing the infestation, we will work with you to make your home safe from recurrence with methods that are safe and practical for you and the environment. If you suspect termites, call us at 1-800-682-5901 or fill out our online form.
And for those getting ready to sell or refinance their house, it is essential to have a Wood-Destroying Insect Report (WDIR) completed on the home. Our inspectors are licensed in Virginia and North and South Carolina to complete this necessary report.