CAN WE ERADICATE TERMITES?
Having termites is really very painful; I am not talking in terms of the physical, instead, I am talking about in terms of my bank account. When you look at a termite, they do not look like much. They look innocent and harmless. They are just tiny little insects, yet these tiny insects have caused billions of dollars in structural damages yearly in the United States alone, plus more costs repairing these structures. My home included. And unlike with some pests which is much easier to control as compared with the termites, a home’s value quickly decreases once it is found out that it is infested by termites.
The reason termites attack our homes and buildings is because these structures contain cellulose-based materials. Termites eat cellulose-based materials; they prefer wood for food, but they also eat paper, boxes, cardboard, important documents that you keep, books, and insulation.
If find that you have a termite infestation in your home, it would be best to contact the professionals. If you are from North Carolina, you would be better off if you choose the termite inspection in charlotte NC, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Overview of termites
There are at least 2,000 termites species all over the world. Out of this number, only 40 are in the United States, yet the damage they have caused is immense. They are small insects, measuring only about 4 to 15 mm in length. The queens are larger though, as they measure 10 cm. Their bodies have 3 segments namely the prothorax, mesothorax, and the metathorax. They have a pair of legs on each segment, giving them 6 legs. Most worker termites are blind and use only their antennae for detection. There are some species that have compound eyes, like the Hodotermes mossambicus. Their antennae have plenty of uses; it is as a sensor for touch, taste, odor, heat, and vibration.
Most species of termites live in a colony. A colony consists of the queen, the soldiers, the workers, and the males.
A queen’s sole function in life is to reproduce more offspring so that the colony would survive. The soldier ants protect the nests from the attacks of other insects. Worker termites take care of maintaining repairing the nests. The male’s only purpose for being is to mate with the queen.
Difference between termites and ants
Termites and ants, at first glance, look alike. For this reason, some people confuse termites with ants. To differentiate, termites have no narrowing at the waist, and are rectangular in shape, while ants have narrow waists. They have antennae attached to their heads, four wings, and are translucent, almost clear to light creamy color. One type of termites, the soldier termites are blind and use their antennae to sense vibrations, touch, taste, and odor.
Not all 2,000 species of termites are in the United States
Termites are one of the most successful insect stories in history. They can be found in all parts of the world, save for Antarctica. In the United States, only 40 species can be found, yet their damage is immense. Below is a rogue’s list of termites that are common here.
Subterranean termites – Subterranean termites are the biggest contributors to the billions of dollars in structural damages. They ruin buildings quicker than any other termites, except maybe for the Formosan termites which we will discuss later. Subterranean termites can be described as having mouthparts consisting of sharp teeth and strong jaws which allow them to eat wood, books, paper, and other cellulose-based material. Their nests are usually touching the soil. They like to live in dark places with high humidity. Finding them can be very difficult because when they always live underneath the outer casing while feeding on the structural wood, and when homeowners find out, it usually becomes too late. The outer casing always remains intact, so you would think everything is normal.
Subterranean termites live in a network of tubes and holes that they also use for storing food and keeping their larvae.
Formosan termites – As far as being aggressive, nothing beats the Formosan termites. They measure about 1/2 inches in length. Their nests can contain millions of Formosan termites. Due to their large numbers, they destroy structures faster than any other termites. Like the subterranean, Formosan termites live in a network of tubes and small rooms to keep food and larvae safe.
Drywood termites – Drywood termites infest dry wood like lumber, utility poles, fences, decks, furniture, and dead limbs on trees. They have smaller colonies as compared to the colonies of other termites. They are equipped with large mandibles with teeth. They have two sets of wings and are 12 mm long. Drywood termites nest in wood, unlike other termites that nest in the soil. They prefer to nest are mostly above ground. Drywood termites eat wood by cutting across its grain. A chamber-like pattern on the wood would give away their presence because of this. Some of these chambers are filled with fecal pellets, which they expel once in a while through small openings. This is one of the signs that they are present under the wood’s casing.
Dampwood termites – Unlike the dry wood termites, damp wood termites prefer to live in places with high moisture; they are attracted to wood that is damaged by water. They are much larger in size than the subterranean termites. Keeping them out requires that you control moisture in your house.
Signs that you have termites
It is difficult to detect termites, but it is not impossible. Here are some signs that you have a termite infestation in your home:
- Termites eat the middle part of the wood and leave out the outer case. Knock on any exposed wood in your house and listen for a hollow sound. Hollow sounds mean that termites have already eaten into the inside part of the wood.
- If you find discarded wings near doors, windows, and other places that can be entry points, you might have termite problems.
- Mud tubes in areas where the ground meets the house.
- Seeing an actual termite in your house.
What attracts termites into homes?
- Termites are attracted to wood and cellulose materials. Examples of these are lumber, firewood, paper, cardboard, boxes, and other cellulose materials are part of the termite diet. Keep these materials as far away from the foundation as possible. Otherwise, termites would have easy access to them. Next thing you know, they are inside your house already.
- Termites like warm, dark places where they will be left undisturbed.
- Except for the dry wood termites, termites are attracted to moisture. Plenty of moisture can be found on the soil that your house is built on. Make sure you fix leaking pipes to prevent this
Preventing termite infestation
Termites are our enemies. They do no good for us whenever they attack our homes and only cause damage – costly damages. Here are some ways you can control their population:
- Use juniper, cedar, and redwood when you are just starting to build your home or office building. These are termite resistant materials.
- Do not allow wood scraps to be stored near the foundation.
- Using 16-grit sand, seal cracks and repair broken seals in the foundation of the house.
- Seal wood that is exposed to moisture with a weather sealer.
- Remove standing water and moist soil near your home. Not only will you keep away termites, but also the deadly mosquitoes too. Termites and mosquitoes are attracted to wet areas.
- As much as possible, avoid buying furniture made of wood.
- Use boric acid on furniture. This can kill termites. Spray it on wooden surfaces.
- Clean your house regularly. Just as with any other pests, termites are attracted to dirt. Cleaning the house is one good deterrent.
- Use foundation wall vents to keep the crawl space dry. Make sure to maintain it too.
Have your house inspected by a pest control expert. For termite inspection in charlotte NC, contact Go-Forth Pest Control. You may even request them to issue a Wood Destroying Insect Report for you. Go-Forth Pest Control can surely eradicate termites in your home.
Go-Forth is simply the best
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned company that provides modern pest control services and techniques, using the latest and most advanced technology in the business, making our service to you more efficient, safer and more convenient. We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments all throughout North and South Carolina. Our expert experience in exterminating pests like cockroaches, wasps, weevils, mosquitoes, mice, flies, termites, ants, and spiders can really make you say goodbye to these pests in your home. You may check us on Facebook or Google us to see what our satisfied customers have to say about us.
Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.