The Importance of Treating a Termite Problem
March 23, 2015
Termites are without doubt the most structural damaging pests in the world. Commonly referred to as white ants, these pests can devour huge amounts of wood and other materials containing cellulose. Although certain structures are more susceptible to termite attacks, every home is prone to a termite infestation at some point in time. While most homeowners will worry more about flooding or fire, termite damage can be a more common and prevalent problem than one would think.
Even if your home is built of bricks or stones, the risk of termite attack on structural support and other crucial building elements constructed of wood and cellulose containing material is real.
Termites are very covert pests. This means that they can come unannounced without an invitation and work stealthily, such that by the time you realize them, damage will already have been done. Termites can damage and weaken wooden structures, and repairs can be a very costly affair. Subterranean termites are probably the most common types of pests to devastate structures.
What Are Subterranean Termites?
Termites are social insects that live in large colonies. They come from the soil and will generally find their way into structures without detection through concealed pathways called “mud tunnels” often in foundation floors and walls. They mainly live in the soil and will come out mainly to search for food.
While subterranean termites are a menace, they can be beneficial to the environment in that they breakdown dead plants and convert them into humus. Just as with any pest, termites become an issue when they find their way into your home and wreak havoc.
How Do You Know If You Have A Termite Infestation Problem?
The most visible signs that you have a termite problem include:
- Swarmers – Usually just before and soon after the annual rainy season, reproductive winged termites, known as Alates, emerge from the ground and begin their short mating flight. Bright light normally attracts swarming termites and hence why they can be found near windows. Once mating is complete, they shed off their wings—another indication of termite presence.
- Shelter Tubes – Termites are sensitive humidity changes. This is why they construct mud tubes for protection against predators, sunlight and ensure optimum humidity levels. These mud tubes are also a good indication of an ongoing termite problem.
- Damage – While worker termites devour wood, they form honey combed galleries that run parallel to the grains of wood. At first sight, there appears to be less damage than thought and this is because of the secretive nature and lifestyle of termites and their ability to consume wood from the inside out.
Termites are more often than not confused with winged ants, more-especially when they swarm.
Major differences include:
- Winged ants have bodies that have narrow waists or constrictions, termites however don’t.
- Termites have wings of the same length, while ants have a long pair and a short pair of wings.
- Termites have straight antennae while ants have elbowed antenna.
While it’s not as easy to identify these differences, close and proper scrutiny of these insects will help identify the differences.
Termite Control Treatments – Getting Rid of Termites
It is understandable that people become very concerned when they discover a termite problem in their homes. Fortunately, innovations in termite control technologies have made massive strides in the last couple of years. Technicians have also been upgraded on how to use such technologies to effectively deal with termite infestations.
Most of these technologies are environmentally friendly and will not pollute or affect surrounding ecosystems like other toxic chemicals
Termites are very challenging and persistent customers to deal with, and in addition to the amount of damage they can bring about, many homeowners are often left reeling and devastated from the onslaught. Homeowners are advised not to attempt resolving termite problems on their own.
If you discover that you have a termite infestation in your home, the following will help you get by.
- Don’t panic
- Have a pest management professional inspect your house
- Do not rush into putting matters into your hands about dealing with termites on your own. You could just scatter the colony or make them immune to treatment.
If you have a contract for termite protection, get in touch your pest control company and arrange for them to come and check out the termite problem. Make sure you do this the moment you discover the infestation to deter any further damage. If you don’t have a termite contract, have a pest control company inspect your premises. Find out about their rates, recommendations, reviews and what action they will take to deal with your problem.
Most of us tend to regard termites as only hungry wood feeding and injuring pests. Termites will feed on anything that contains cellulose, which is the main component found in wood, paper products, wood paneling, art canvases, carpeting, cardboard boxes, etc. When feeding and foraging, termites may drill through non-cellulosic materials, like foam board and plastic. Based on study research, a colony of termites with 60,000 workers can consume the equivalent of one foot of a 2 x 4 inch piece of lumber in just over 6 months. In general, the amount of damage termites can inflict depends on a number of factors. In areas that experience cold temperatures, termite activity is normally low but it doesn’t stop. If they have adequate protection from the cold, such as being under a slab, then their activity (feeding) can run right through the whole year. In a more practical sense, severe termite damage can occur for about 3-9 years.
These signs are an indication of termite activity:
- Soft wood that can be easily probed with a screwdriver or knife
- Hollow sounding wood when tapped with a screwdriver
- A thin gray-brown film that develops on the surface of the affected material.
There’s no accurate method to determine the age of discovered damage. You always need a reference point to start from, i.e., a point in time when you know that there was no damage to a particular area. This is why performing annual inspections and keeping a record of these inspects is very important.
Keep in mind that your inspections don’t serve as a guarantee that there are no termites or damage to other areas that are visually inaccessible, like in the insides of walls and floors. However, such inspections can reveal underlying conditions that may otherwise suggest that there’s damage and further scrutiny and investigation is required.
How Termite Bait Systems Work At Eliminating Termite Colonies
It goes without say that termites cause a lot of confusion and damage. Many homeowners have little knowledge about these devastating critters as well as how to effectively get rid of them. It is widely understood that termites have progressed significantly in recent years.
Newer and innovative management tools have emerged, and a good number of pest control services are now using bait systems as alternative forms of treatment. This article will help homeowners know more about bait systems so they can make informed purchasing decisions.
Waiting for termites to actually strike before you can eliminate them is probably one of the biggest and most detrimental mistakes homeowners can make. Your home is your sanctuary and an important dwelling. The potential damages posed by a termite invasion are too great and overwhelming for you to employ a sit and wait strategy.
A termite bait system is an in-ground monitoring system that is specially designed to eliminate termite colonies. The termite bait system is made up of several components that work collectively to control termite problems. The bait system comprises of a termite bait station, termite monitoring base, termite bait cartridge and termite inspection cartridge.
The termite bait station houses all the bait system’s components. It has a Quick-Lock Cap that protects exposed portions of the station. The station can only be accessed using a tool known as a “Spider” which unlocks the tamper-proof lid covering the station.
If the termite inspection cartridge indicates the presence of termites, the termite bridge cartridges will come into place instead of the termite inspection cartridge to begin the bait process. Termite bait cartridges contain Puri-Cell tablets that are mixed with a potent termiticide Diflubenzuron which has about ¼ of the bait’s weight.
Termite monitoring ensures that your home is kept termite free throughout the day, and normally a technician will follow up and regularly check whether or not there are termites. Termite monitoring stations can be installed in strategic locations across your home, and they contain a toxin substance called Puri-Cell, an active ingredient that termites find irresistible than wood.
If termites do find their way into your home, the monitoring system will be your first line of defense. Make sure your home is safe by contacting Alliance. Alliance Pest Services is your local termite control expert in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Call us today for free home inspection for all your termite questions and concerns.