Termites infesting a home


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Termite Control

If you live in a home constructed primarily of wood (which would be most homes in North America) then the word "termites" probably sends chills up and down your spine. Termites are known as silent destroyers because colonies can exist for years in some homes and surrounding areas, slowly and quietly chewing their way through wood and wood structures. Some colonies can grow as big as a football field and contain millions upon millions of these tiny, destructive insects that cost the United States an estimated $5 billion a year in property damage!

There is no denying termites are destructive and why termite control services are often needed. They feed on the cellulose that comprises wood and other plant materials. Termites need cellulose to exist and find the wood we use to build furniture, flooring and the rest of our homes particularly tasty.

If you think you have seen signs of termites in your home the first step you need is to call in a professional to confirm it and then they can provide you with your termite protection and treatment options.

Termite Fact: Termite queens are constantly laying eggs and it is estimated that they can lay between 20,000 to 30,000 eggs a day.

What Are Termites?

Termites are highly organized insects in the Isoptera order. They form large, strong colonies with queens, kings, workers and soldiers, all of them with their assigned duties. There are two common forms in North America:

Subterranean - the most common type throughout North America, but particularly in states like

These live in the soil and build mud tunnels often found near homes and even inside spaces within the walls. These include the formidable, but rare, Formosan Termites.

Drywood - common in California and Florida. They do not come from the soil but spend their entire lives in the wood they eat.

What do termites look like? Sometimes termites are confused with ants because they somewhat resemble them, but there are some key differences:

  • Straight antenna - while ants have bent antenna
  • Straight waist - ant's waists look pinched
  • Wing length - flying ant wings look different sized

Signs of Termites

Termites want to go unnoticed. They can go for years without being spotted on property, creating untold amounts of damage in the meantime. It's also why it's so important to get a trained professional out to your home to determine if termites are at work. Some signs of termites include:

  • Discarded wings - swarmers, or winged termites, are usually the first signs of a termite infestation. Swarmers fly away from the colony to mate and set up new colonies. They shed their wings and you can often find them around windows.

  • Hollow sounds - termites carve out a network of tunnels, known as galleries, in wood and that causes the wood to sound hollow.

  • Damage to wood structures - termites love to eat joists, wood floors, rafters, ceiling tiles, and the wood that helps connect your home to its foundation. If it's falling apart or the flooring feels weak and yielding, you might have termites.

  • Frass - these are termite droppings. Termites try to keep their colonies clean and will push out their droppings, creating piles that look like heavy grain sand beneath holes built specifically for this purpose.

  • Mud tubes - subterranean ants build covered tubes out of mud and other materials to protect themselves while moving from one place to the next. You might find them on exterior walls, close to the ground.

  • If you find these signs, call the professionals fast.