What Are Termites?
Termites are small, winged insects that grow to about half an inch in length as adults. Termites live all across the United States but are most active year-round in the South. Warm year-round temperatures mean that termites can breed throughout the fall and winter. Termite species found in our area are Subterranean, Formosan, Drywood, and Desert termites.
Subterranean termites grow to a length of 1/8th of an inch. Their coloration changes as they mature. Nymphs are lighter yellow or white, and move to a brownish black color as adults. They are the most common type of termites that affects homes. Subterranean termite swarms thrive in areas with excess moisture.
Formosan termites are invasive pests that grow to a length of half an inch. Their coloration ranges from white to brown. They are oval-shaped with long, narrow bodies. They are the second most common termites found in Texas.
Drywood termites are larger than other species of termites. Drywood's can grow up to half an inch in length, and are usually white to brown in coloration. Unlike Subterranean or Formosan termites, they prefer to eat dry, healthy wood.
Desert termites range in size from a quarter to three eighths of an inch. Their coloration ranges from white to brownish as they mature. These termites eat mainly dead grass and are not considered to cause significant structural damage to homes.
Are Termites Dangerous?
Termites can cause extensive damage to a home if left unchecked. Determining if your home has termites can be difficult for new homeowners, as most termite activity takes place below the surface of the home.
Subterranean Termites Versus Carpenter Ants
Differentiating between carpenter ants and termites can be difficult for homeowners. The main difference in behavior between the two insects is that carpenter ants do not eat wood. Instead, they shovel it out of the way to create more burrowing space. Termites eat the wood itself. As a general rule, if you see wood dust around an affected area, carpenter ants may be the cause. If you see pellet like dropping, look for other signs of termite activity.
What Are the Signs of Termites?
When termites move into your home they will construct mud tubes along travel routes. You should look for these tubes and excrement on vertical surfaces, such as walls and pipes.
The next step is testing affected areas for signs of termite activity below the surface. To test for termites, knock on sections of the wall or woodwork, and listen for a change in tone. Areas that are affected by termites will sound hollow.
Finally, look for swarms at night using a bright light. Large swarms tend to stay near their nests.
How Do I Get Rid of Termites?
Termites will cause extensive structural damage to your home if left unchecked. We recommend calling a professional as soon as you suspect that you have termites. Family has more than thirty years of experience exterminating pests. We offer aliquid termite treatment that eradicates Subterranean and Formosan termites.
Preventing termites can be tricky, as they are considered 'silent' invaders. There are a few things you can do to help keep them out of your home and off your property:
- All four species of termites we have discussed are found in areas with access to excess wood litter. We recommend that firewood and brush are stored or moved at least twenty feet from your home. This will help to avoid attracting termites, especially in damp weather.
- Homeowners should inspect areas that are prone to moisture control issues, or excess humidity, on a regular basis. These include areas such as basements and crawl spaces.
- At the first sign of damp or decay, begin looking for signs of termites. Early detection is the key to stopping an infestation.
- Conduct regular checks around the exterior of your home. Focus on finding cracks in the foundation, and around window frames and eaves. Any gaps or crevices you find should be filled or caulked immediately.
- Finally, consider scheduling a seasonal inspection by one of our trained professionals. This will help to ensure that your home remains termite-free.