Termites are a pest that causes expensive damages in houses and many of these are usually not covered by insurance companies. In just a few years they can damage the foundation of your house, the structural beams and columns, the insulation, the furniture, and property outside your home. These insects can become a serious problem and they have to be detected and exterminated as soon as possible.
What do termites look like? They look very much like ants with wings. It’s a little hard to distinguish between the two because there are many species termites. However, one difference is that ants have bent antennae while termites have straight ones. Also, both have four wings, but the wings of termites have all the same length while ants have the two hind wings shorter than the two front ones. Termites have much bigger wings (with respect to the size of their bodies) than ants. Another important difference is in the shape of their bodies: ants have a thin waist while termites have a fatter, elliptical body.
What Are the Signs of Termites in Your Home?
There are several signs that can determine if you have termites in your house. Finding piles of termite wings in your windows or porch are a sign that you have termites. Another sign is to find wood that sounds hollow when you tap on it or whose surface can bend like a piece of paper. Finding tiny tunnels in the wood can also be a sign of termites. If wooden windows or doors become jammed, it could be a sign of termites. If you see piles of small particles, similar to sawdust (frass), your house could have termites. Mud tubes or drop tubes are a sign of termite activity. Some of these signs can be caused by very different reasons, so call a professional pest control company to inspect your house as soon as you detect any of these signs.
How Do You Get Termites?
The ways termites enter a house vary, depending on the species of termite. Subterranean termites build their nests underground. They enter through any wooden object that touches the ground (door frames, deck supports, wooden outdoor steps, etc.), cracks in concrete elements (expansion joints, concrete slabs, foundations, brick mortar, etc.), bath traps, mud tubes that they build from the ground, and wall claddings that reach the ground.
Drywood termites build their nests deep inside the dry wood of a house. They can enter the house by flying inside through cracks in the facades and roof, vents that are not screened, and infested wooden objects that are taken inside the house.
Dampwood termites have their nests in chambers they build in damp wood inside the house. They can enter a house through very humid areas, like mulch and infested damp wood taken in the house.
How Do You Kill Termites in Your House?
Termites pose a very serious threat to the structure of a house. If you try to kill them on your own and you fail to kill the entire colony, time is running and they could be eating and ruining the wooden structure of the house. You should call a pest control company to kill them right away.
These people are experts that will identify the species of termite that is posing the threat and they will have everything they need in order to kill the entire colony. At some point during the process, they will probably drill small holes in the walls, inject the insecticide in them, and seal them. The holes have to be spaced about 18 inches from each other and at a similar height from the floor, too.
What Attracts Termites in Your House?
Many things can attract termites inside a house, but mostly wood and cellulose. This is why it is recommended to store firewood away from the structure of the house and get rid of decayed lumber and wood debris. They normally tend to like dark, damp, and undisturbed places. Sources of moisture, like leaking outdoor faucets, streams of water, and clogged gutters, contribute considerably in attracting some species of termites. Mulch that is cluttered near the foundation of the house could attract dampwood termites, too. Tree branches that touch the roof of your house can become the pathway for termites to enter your house.
What to Do if You See Termites in Your House?
The best thing you can do if you see termites inside your house is to call a pest control company to take care of the problem right away. The service might be expensive, but the result is guaranteed. Since your house is expensive and the damage that the termites can cause could be very difficult to repair, it can be considered money well spent. Call the pest control company and let them inspect the house to make a diagnosis of the problem. Then let them do their job and follow any indications that they give you in order to prevent any future problems.
Are Termites Hard to Get Rid of?
Termites are very hard to get rid of. Only a professional pest control company can remove them quickly and permanently. Part of the reason is that they reproduce very quickly. A termite queen has an enormous abdomen (about 25 cm long) and can lay millions of eggs during the 15 years it can live. You need to know what method to use in order to kill the entire colony and not just a few termites that will soon be replaced. You also need to act quickly before the problem grows exponentially.
Another problem is that their nest can be very hard to spot. For example, subterranean termites sometimes extend into the second story of a house by forming secondary colonies. Another example can be a nest of drywood termites that could be very hard to find because it is found deep inside the dry wood.
Spraying for Termites Yourself
If your house is infested with termites, you should never treat this problem on your own. It is always important to look for professional help from an expert right away before the problem grows much larger. For example, the mud tubes that are visible are like the tip of the iceberg. There is nothing that you could do to them that could affect the entire colony. Putting a trap with a bait will kill less than 1% of the termites that live in your house, will not solve the problem realistically either. All you can do on your own is prevent the problem from happening. However, once the problem has started, it is too late and you need professional help.