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The Best Pest Control Treatment For Termites


Termites may be quite small creatures, but that does not mean they are harmless.  

Looking at a single termite, it does not seem to amount to much. In great numbers comes great destruction, however.  When talking about termites, do not let looks deceive you.

Termites, though small, have caused billions of dollars in structural damage each year here in the United States alone. They do billions of dollars more in the rest of the world. Our houses and buildings contain cellulose-based materials, materials that termites really like. Termites eat cellulose-based materials. They prefer wood for food, but they also eat paper, boxes, books, and insulation.  

If you are looking to sell your own house sometime in the future, it would be of interest to know that the presence of termites can also affect the sale of a home.  Termites and other wood-destroying insects make structures very weak. That is why buyers are always wary of them and would make due diligence. A buyer would normally have your house inspected for termites. If found to be infested, a sale may not be closed. Usually, a Wood Destroying Insect Report would be needed.

A Wood Destroying Insect Report is a report that informs buyers of their presence in a house or building they wish to buy. We will discuss a bit more about this later in this article. They have a habit of remaining hidden, resulting in them being undetected while doing their own thing. They continue to do this until the timbers weaken and severely damaged. 

Truly, termites are an expensive problem for all homeowners.  

About Termites

Termites are eusocial insects, meaning they show an advanced level of social organization, that belong to the order Isoptera.  They are detrivores. There are more than 2,000 identified termites species all over the world. In the United States, there are only 40 of their species crawling around. Their size is only about 4 to 15 mm in length. Their bodies have 3 segments namely the prothorax, mesothorax, and the metathorax. Each of these segments has a pair of legs.  

Ants Vs. Termites

Some people confuse termites with ants.  Despite their physical similarities, they are not closely related to each other. Termites first emerged 150 million years ago, from a group of cockroaches. Ants are much, much younger. They emerged only 50 million years ago along with other eusocial Hymenoptera which includes bees. They belong to a very distant branch of the insect family tree.  

Termites have no narrowing at the waist, and are rectangular in shape, while ants have narrow waists. They have straight antennae attached to their heads, four wings, and are transparent, or light creamy color. Soldier termites are blind and use their antennae to sense vibrations, touch, taste, and odor. They feed on dead plant materials, typically in the form of wood, soil, or leaf litter.  

Termite Colonies

Termites are a highly social type of insect, living in a colony that can reach a population of up to several hundred, and even several million upon maturity.   They are a good example of working as a team, with a self-organized system that uses swarm intelligence. To explain what swarm intelligence means, it is an apparent intelligent behavior that emerges from the collective behavior of a large number of termites, in this case.  A colony is made up of a queen, soldiers, workers, male ants, and nymphs.  

How You Might Get These Termites

Termites enter homes through cracks, holes, and other openings around pipes and wires. They form colonies within the perimeter of the house and crawl across the yard to get to your house.

Common Types Of Termites

As we mentioned earlier, there are more than just one kind of termite.  Of the more than 2,000 known species of termites, there are only 40 of them here in the United States.  We can further trim that down to these termites listed below, for they are the most common ones.  

  1. Subterranean termites -  This type of termites cause the most destruction to American homes.  They destroy buildings faster than any other termites. Well, only the Formosan termites can do it faster.  They have sharp teeth and strong jaws that enable them to cut through wood. These mouthparts allow them to eat not just wood, but books, paper, and other cellulose-based material as well. They thrive in dark places with high humidity. Finding them can be very difficult because they always live underneath the outer casing while feeding on the structural wood, always leaving the outer casing intact.  It usually becomes too late once the homeowners find out about their presence. Their nests are usually in contact with the soil. 
  2. Formosan termites - Formosan termites cause the fastest damage because they are aggressive types.  Their size is about 1/2 inches in length. The queens reproduce millions of eggs. Their nests can contain millions of Formosan termites upon the maturity of the colony.  They multiply quickly, and because of this trait, they destroy structures faster than any other termites.  
  3. Drywood termites -   Drywood termites infest dry wood like lumber, utility poles, fences, decks, furniture, and dead limbs on trees, hence their name.  They have large mandibles with teeth, with two sets of wings. They measure about 12 mm long. Drywood termites attack houses each time they spot exposed wood.  This type of termites nest in wood, unlike most other termites that nest in soil. Their nests are located mostly above ground. Drywood termites eat wood by cutting across its grain, leaving a chamber-like pattern on the wood.  Some of these chambers are filled with fecal pellets. The dry-wood termites once in a while expel these fecal pellets outside the nest through small openings making it a clear sign of their presence under the wood’s casing. The queens do not produce as many eggs as compared with other termites, thus they have smaller colonies relative to other termites.
  4. Dampwood termites - Dampwood termites are the opposite of dry wood termites due to the fact that they prefer to live in areas with high moisture.  They are creamy-white to brownish in color, are ½ inch to ⅝ inch long, with narrow and oval-shaped bodies, and six legs. They are attracted to wood that is damaged by water.  They are much larger than the subterranean termites physically. They do not usually infest structures because they need excessive moisture. Still, be careful not to attract damp wood termites as they can cause plenty of damage.  Keeping them out requires that you control moisture in your house.

Signs That You May Have Termites

Termites work quietly beneath the casings of the structural wood, thus if you ignore the signs it might be too late.  The damage would have been done. They would not be called the “silent destroyers” for nothing. If you have these signs of termite infestation listed below, then get ready to take action.  

  1. Wood that sounds hollow when tapped.  Termites might have ravaged the wood underneath the casings.
  2. Presence of mud tubes on walls or beams.  There is a good chance termite might have caused them. 
  3. Presence of fecal pellets or termite droppings.
  4. Discarded wings of termites that may be scattered around.
  5. Actually seeing a termite.  There might be more hidden around the house.  

Effective Termite Management

Thankfully, there are some things we can do to get rid of termites.  According to the termite inspection company in Raleigh NC, here are a few easy ways to do it. 

  1. Fix sources of moisture.  Look for leaky pipes and faucets and fix them.
  2. Seal off cracks, crevices, and holes around the house by caulking. These can be used as entry points by the termites.
  3. Practice good housekeeping.  Clean up all the dirt as termites are attracted to it.
  4. As much as possible avoid buying furniture made of wood so that you would not have to add more items that would attract termites. In case you already have wooden furniture and are infested with termites, bring it out to the sun. The heat from the sun can kill termites too.
  5. Make use of beneficial nematodes.  These are worms that are natural predators of these termites. You can buy these at a local gardening store near you.
  6. A wet cardboard trap can do the trick. Cardboard is made of cellulose material that termites always look for to eat.  Add some water on it just to make it damp enough to attract termites. Place that wet cardboard in areas that are near the termites.  If you think you caught enough termites on the cardboard, you can grab the cardboard and burn it along with the termites.  

Follow these effective steps so that you can save your house and yourself from having to spend thousands on house repairs.  

Get Help From Go-Forth Home Services

Better yet, if you suspect having termites in your house, then you may call the best pest control experts in North Carolina, Go-Forth Home Services

Go-Forth Home Services is a family-owned company that has expertise in pest control.  We have been trusted by residents and local businesses alike in keeping their properties pest free for 60 years now.