Take Care of Termites (The First Time)
Don't let termites overtake your home! Get rid of these unwelcome pests with the help of a termite control service.
Did you know that termites are one of the top home intruders? Don't let your home fall victim to these ravenous vermin; catch them before they cause severe damage to your house and any other hardwood in your home. Whether you're dealing with ongoing termite troubles or starting to suspect insect activity, err on the side of safety with proper termite treatment. So say "sayonara" to those unpleasant houseguests and let the pros help you reclaim authority over your home. Take our word for it, this is one pest problem you won't want to wait on!
Get to Know Termites
Termites are infamous for their frenzied feeding habits, but how much do you actually know about these bothersome bugs? Most people believe termites exclusively feed on wood, however, they actually will feast on any cellulose or plant-based material, including drywall, sheetrock, and insulation. Unfortunately, these materials can be found in any home, regardless of construction type.
There are three main types of termites found across the United States: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. Termites are classified based on their required living conditions, but no matter where they are in the country, they can always be found lurking around wood that has been left alone. Subterranean termites take shelter in moist, underground areas; drywood termites require little moisture, settling down in drier locations like attics; and dampwood termites nest in (you guessed it) damp, decaying wood usually found on the ground. Depending on the species, termites can get as large half an inch in length and range from white to light brown in color. There are winged and wingless varieties, but you are more likely to spot flying termites (or swarmers) in and around your home. Not to be confused with ants, termites can be differentiated by their straight antennae, uniform waist, and equal-sized wings.
Social hour for termites is the end of spring and beginning of summer, when the rainy season has ended and newly hatched pests are trying to find a home. Triggered by warmer temperatures and rainfall, the swarmers emerge from the colony for the sole purpose of finding a mate and new territory to expand the colony. Regardless of species, most termites take flight the day after a good rain when it's overcast and humid -- the perfect storm in termite terms.
Signs of a Termite Takeover
If you've encountered any winged termites -- inside or outdoors -- you may want to have your home checked for termites. Termite swarms are the most common sign of a termite infestation, particularly when they are around windows, doors, and rotting trees and plants. However, swarming termites indicate that you've probably already had a colony problem for a while.
Additional red flags include small mud tunnels underground and along foundation walls. Termites also hide in between walls and floors, which should be carefully inspected every so often for rippled wallpaper, bubbling or peeling paint, hollow wood, and sagging surfaces, as well as small holes or mazes accompanied by bits of dried mud. In severe cases, you may even be able to hear the termites tapping through your walls while they build their tunnels. These stealthy destroyers can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor covering, insulation, and other obstructions; if you suspect an infestation, it's important to contact a pest control service ASAP. The pest control service will complete an assessment of the damage that will either put your worries to bed or brace you for extermination.
Treatments for Termite Infestation
A termite infestation is a big problem to take on yourself -- it's best to have the pros handle this task. Termites can cause severe structural damage if treated improperly and require specific methods to remove based on species. There are two general methods for getting rid of termites: liquid termiticides and baiting.
Soil-applied liquid termiticides provide a long-lasting chemical barrier that prevents termites from entering a structure. Liquid treatments also prevent termites already inside the structure from returning to the soil for much-needed moisture. Termites can detect even the smallest gap in treated soil, so spot-on application is necessary for complete removal. This method can keep termites at bay for several years if done correctly the first time.
Termite bait lures in termites with palatable food, like paper and cardboard, combined with a slow-acting, lethal substance for the insects. The baits are placed directly into the ground around an infested structure, where the termites will find it, feed, and die. Termite baits can also be placed indoors over mud tubs and other active areas. In some situations, baiting is the only solution due to either location or local pesticide laws.
Better Homes & Gardens Tip: You can prevent future termite infestations with a perimeter treatment by using a non-repellent liquid termiticide or spot treatments on previously treated areas. Keeping firewood away from the foundation, removing rotting stumps, and repairing leaky faucets, pipes, and appliances will also reduce your chances of a termite takeover.