What are termites?
Termites are wood-destroying insects. While they play an important role in nature, experts estimate they cause $5 billion of property damage each year.
How can I tell the difference between an ant and a termite?
There are three ways to distinguish a swarming termite from a swarming ant.
- Waist: All termites have a “thick waist” where there abdomen is joined to their middle body region (thorax); ants have a “pinched-in waist” at that point.
- Antennae: All termites have antennae that look like a “string of beads”; but all ants have distinctly “elbowed” antennae”.
- Wings: Termite swarmers have two pairs of long narrow, wings with very few clearly visible veins, and both the front and back pair are nearly equal in size and length. Winged ants have two pair of wings with several distinct cross veins, shaped long triangles, and the back pair much shorter than the front pair.
What is a termite swarm?
A termite swarm occurs when male and female winged termites exit the colony on mating flights to start new colonies. Subterranean termites usually swarm between Late February and early May. While drywood termites swarm during the summer months. In both cases, the time of the swarm depends on where you live and the weather. Most people become aware of termites after they swarm inside the home. This means there is a termite infestation in the walls or ceilings. Swarmers emerge from small holes made by worker termites and the swarm will last about 40 minutes.
Are there different kinds of termites?
Yes, the three major kinds of termites in the United States are dampwood, drywood and subterranean. Dampwood termites commonly live in heavily forested areas of the country as they prefer wet wood; while, drywood termites, much more rare in the United States, prefer extremely dry wood. Subterranean termites require moist environments, live mainly in the soil and are the most destructive species.
How do you recognize termites?
Depending on your geographical location, termite swarms should be visible in the early spring. Termite swarms can be confused with flying ants. Telltale signs of termite infestation include soft wood in the home, mud tubes in the interior or exterior of your home (often near the foundation), and darkening or blistering of wood structures.
How much damage do termites cause?
Termites work 24/7 to damage the wood in and around a structure. And, while they cause $5 billion in damage each year, there is no reason to think that termites cannot be controlled.
When does a homeowner see termites?
Termites swarm in the early spring, late February thru early May.
What can a homeowner do to help prevent termites?
The most important thing is to remove the conditions termites need to survive. Termites love moisture; avoid moisture accumulation around the foundation of your home. Prevent termites by diverting water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents. Be sure to remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., left in place after the building was constructed. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building. Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil. An 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal. It doesn’t hurt to routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of termite damage.
How are termites controlled?
A pest control professional will come in and treat the problem so that you can live comfortably in your home.
What is the most effective type of termite treatment?
The National Pest Management Association and the entire industry are committed to providing highly effective treatment options for all pest issues. The most effective type of treatment depends upon the severity of the infestation, the species of termite, and the location and construction of the home or building. A trained and licensed pest control professional can assess each infestation separately and recommend a rigorous treatment plan that will effectively control the termite population.
How difficult are termites to treat?
Termites are nearly impossible for homeowners to treat on their own. On the other hand, pest control professionals have the training, expertise and technology to eliminate termite infestations.
I don’t see termites around my home, does that mean I don’t have a termite problem?
Unfortunately, no! In fact, you may never actually see subterranean termites because they live in the ground. But they can enter homes through cracks and openings as narrow as 1/64th of an inch, about the thickness of a piece of paper. Termites can also enter through expansion joints in the slab, around plumbing pipes and behind stucco, siding and brick veneer. Once introduced into the wood inside your home, termites can cause enormous amounts of damage before you ever know they are there. That is because they eat wood from the inside out making them extremely difficult to detect. The vast majority of their destructive work is invisible.
I live in an all brick home, do I need to worry about termites?
Termites can attack any home because they get in through tiny cracks and crevices located in, under and around your home. Then they seek out the wood or cellulose products inside the walls, attic and other areas of your home. The subterranean termite gets in underneath the home through tiny cracks in your home’s slab and foundation.
How much does a termite treatment cost?
The amount varies considerably, depending on where you live, the construction of your home, and the severity of the infestation.
Are these products safe to kids and pets?
All professional pest control products have been registered for use by the EPA. When they are applied according to label instructions by technicians who have been trained and licensed to use them, they pose virtually no risk.
Why should someone hire a professional instead of attempting to control their pest problems by themselves?
Just as you wouldn’t prescribe medicine for yourself or drill your own cavities – you shouldn’t attempt to control termites – or other pests — on your own. The products and the expertise offered by professional pest control far surpasses what a homeowner could do on their own. Leave it up to the experts for peace of mind. Why risk it?
What kind of termites can I expect in the Memphis area?
In the Memphis and the mid-south we rarely see drywoods or damp wood termites. Generally speaking most termite infestations in this area will be subterranean termite infestations.