When it comes to pests that can get inside your home or business, termites may just be the worst. Their eating habits present a risk to any structure that has wood because wood contains cellulose, which termites eat. When you also consider that termites feed on wood silently, grow large colonies, produce dozens of swarmers that leave the nest to create new colonies, and apply ever-increasing pressure on man-made structures as the number of colonies multiplies, it is easy to understand why total control is the best solution. Okay. So, what is required to avoid a termite infestation in Columbia? Join us as we look at all the steps needed to guard your property and reduce the chances of termite damage. We'll look at how to detect the subtle warning signs, how to evaluate the risk factors, what factors are within your power to correct, and what time is the right time to contact Columbia pest control. When we're done, you may just be a termite expert. How does that sound? Great! Let's get started.

termite walking on wood
termites in nest

Know The Warning Signs Of A Termite Infestation

At the heart of termite control is the ability to detect the little homewreckers. Most of the time, these insects don't make it easy. Why do we say, most of the time? Because you don't have to wonder if you have a termite infestation when you find a termite swarm in your house. Unfortunately, an interior swarm is a terrible way to find out that you have termites. It means it is likely that the termite nest is close to your foundation or under your home and that they have quick access to the wood of your home. It also means you've had an infestation for years. Termites don't create swarmers at first. It takes several years for a colony to mature and produce these winged reproductives. If you want to guard your investment, you need to know how to catch the early warning signs. Here's what you're looking for.

One Swarmer: It is bad to see a swarm of termites, even outside, but good to catch a glimpse of one termite swarmer. If you see only one, you may not have a termite nest on your property or damage within your home yet. That's the good news. The bad news is that termite problems are coming. These insects encroach. But, catching a winged termite can alert you to the danger. Swarmers are black insects with long white wings. The length of a swarmer is about ⅜ of an inch in length, wings included.

Swarmer Wings: After termites mate, they shed their wings. You may find these white, equally-sized wings lying on the ground in your yard. Check under structures, within landscaping, and near light sources. 

Shelter Tubes: Worker termites create structures made of soil and saliva. They look like wiggly lines of caked-on mud. Check your foundation walls and other hard surfaces near the soil. If you have a crawl space under your home, make sure to check that space for shelter tubes because workers are prone to creating shelter tubes in areas of high humidity that have no direct light from the sun or moon.

Termites Hiding In Wood: If you have a termite-infested tree, log, stump, campfire wood, or fence, you may have an opportunity to catch worker termites in the act. If you can cut a piece off, you can peek inside the wood to check for tunnels, worker termites, and soldier termites. 

Termites Hiding Under Things: Workers or soldiers are sometimes seen when picking up dead branches and other wood debris in the yard. Workers are pale-colored insects that look like fat ants. Soldiers are larger and have orange heads with black pincers.

These are the best ways to detect termite activity. But you may have noticed, we didn't mention termite damage. Why? Because we've devoted a whole section to it. Let's take a look.

A Termite Infestation Can Cause Extensive Property Damage

One way to tell that you have a termite problem is to look for damage. But termite damage is mostly found on the inside of wood, where you can't see it. One of the main reasons termites cost property owners so much money is that they secretly feed on wood for years without being detected. So, looking for termite damage isn't a great way to catch termites early. It is also not a great way to catch them before they do damage since they have to cause damage before you can find damage.

If you want to prevent extensive property damage, you need to know a bit about how to detect damage. Here are a few ways a professional does it.

  • Termites often target wood that is damaged by moisture. A moisture meter can help a professional zero in on where termites are located.
  • Termites don't make sounds you can detect with your ears, but the sounds they make are detectable with devices that are made for amplifying subtle sounds.
  • Termites come up from the ground to damage structures. A a professional will start by examining wood that is close to the soil, and in dark locations that are high in humidity.
  • Termites eat tunnel upon tunnel inside wood timbers. The process leaves the wood sounding hollow. A professional will tap on certain wood and listen to see if the wood is being hollowed out.

There are other ways to detect termite damage, but they won't help you catch termites early. Over time, termites will cause damage that is easy to detect, such as floors that sink down and are springy when you walk on them, walls that bulge out, ceilings that look like they're holding back a pool of water upstairs, or windows that stick. When damage like this is detected, you'll know it is time to get a termite treatment. But we hope you don't wait until you see damage to take steps to stop termites.     

Reasons And Factors For Termite Infestations

Why do Columbia property owners get termites? Is one structure at greater risk than another? The answer is a resounding yes. There are many factors that increase the risk of termite damage. These are outlined in a WDO report, which is issued when your home is inspected by a certified termite control professional. Here are a few factors you can address.

  • A brush pile is a magnet for termites. Dead branches are like termite ice cream. Picking up branches in your yard and removing them or storing them in some form of container will keep them off the ground and out of the reach of termites.
  • A junk pile can attract termites. Worker termites don't just eat wood. They'll eat cardboard, other paper products, fabrics, and more. These all contain cellulose, which is the same food termites feed on inside wood. Put junk in a bin or dumpster.
  • Logs, stumps, scrap lumber, campfire wood, and other wood on your property are food sources for termites. Remove them or move them off the ground to keep termites from finding ample food in your yard.
  • Worker termites are attracted to moist soil. One way to reduce soil moisture is to make sure your gutters are in proper working condition.

These all-natural solutions will have an impact on termites. Are they the best way to guard your property? No. But it is better to do something than nothing at all. Combine these with routine, thorough inspections for even greater protection.   

Contact Us For Termite Control Done The Right Way

Whether you need help inspecting your property for termite activity, service options to address a current termite infestation, or information regarding proactive termite prevention, your local termite company can help. You don't have to battle termites alone, nor should you. A property investment is no small chunk of change. And your property insurance isn't likely to cover damage caused by termites. If you're wondering if your policy protects you, we can tell you with almost certainty that it does not. If you have a termite damage provision, it is because you asked for it. That is why it is so important to contact a trusted pest control service provider. Your service provider can set you up with a termite bond, which acts a lot like a termite insurance policy, but better. While insurance just sits and waits for the damage to happen, a termite bond comes with active damage prevention. 

What is the best termite control company for your Columbia home or business? We hope you'll consider Go-Forth Pest Control. We use the award-winning Sentricon® System with Always Active™. It uses termite bait to arrest current infestations as well as proactively prevent termite damage. Sentricon® is also an easy method for monitoring your property for termite activity. No other termite bait has as much scientific research and university studies done on it. It also has more than two decades of real-world success. There is no better solution for termite colony elimination and termite damage prevention.

Would you like to learn more or do you need to schedule a service visit? We'd love to speak with you. Reach out to Go-Forth Pest Control today for assistance in Columbia and the surrounding area. There is no time like the present to protect your property from termites.


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