Termite Problems

Termites are becoming a big problem in the United States. This article will help you to identify the termite itself and also signs of infestation.

There are three main types of termites in the United States. The subterranean termite, the drywood termite and the formosan termite. Each of these species attack homes all over the country and if they are not eliminated, they can destroy parts of your home.

In the spring and fall, reproductive termites swarm. If you find small, large winged insects flying around your lights or lying dead on the floor or window sill, you may have an infestation.

All reproductive termites are small with 4 large transparent wings, no waistline and straight antennae.

Subterranean Termite: The reproductive subterranean termite is brown to black in color. This termite is the most common species. It feeds on the wood in your home but must return to the ground for moisture. They form their colonies deep under ground and one small yard can facilitate millions. There are many queens, many workers and many reproductives within the colony which allows them to thrive comfortably next to your house.

Drywood Termite: The reproductive drywood termite is light brown to red in color. This termite does not require much moisture and actually lives in the wood, building its galleries inside the walls of your home. The drywood termite is more destructive because of this and is not easily revealed unless you are renovating or rebuilding.

Formosan Termite: The reproductive formosan termite is light brown to red in color and was recently introduced to the United States from the Orient. This termite infests and builds galleries in the wood as does the drywood termite but is much more aggressive. The formosan termite can destroy a small house in the space of six months. This termite is very destructive and needs to be eliminated as quickly as possible.


Soil Treatments: The soil treatment is used to control subterranean termites. A small trench is dug around the foundation of your house. A chemical is poured into it which forms a barrier. The subterranean termite is repelled by the chemical and cannot get access to your home. These treatments must be repeated every five years to be effective.

Fumigation: This is the most effective treatment for drywood and formosan termites. There is a period of at least 74 hours when the house must be empty. All foods and edible matter must be removed and mattresses and pillows must be wrapped in plastic bags or film. A specialist has to test the air before re-entry can be gained. This will kill all the termites infesting but the dead termites will attract other insects who will feed on them.

Bait Treatments: These SHOULD be used as extra protection against infestation by subterranean termites. Stations containing a wood chip are placed in specific regions of the yard and around the foundation. When the termites attack the wood, it is replaced by a bait which the termites then transfer to the colonies, killing the termites in the ground.

Microwave treatments: This treatment is effective in killing termites inside the walls. A large flat microwave machine is placed next to the exterior wall and when it is switched on it kills any termites living inside.

Wood treatments: The wood treatement is a very effective preventive measure against infestation. If you are building a new house, the wood frame and any other wooden components can be treated directly as it is being built. The chemicals used in wood treatments do not volatilize out of the wood and will protect it from infestation for about 20 years as long as the wood is not exposed to sunlight. This treatment together with a soil and bait treatment is excellent in preventing an infestation.

Other signs of infestation include: mud tubes, usually on the foundation, but can be found anywhere in the house. Small holes in the siding can be a sign of drywood termites since they tend to push fecal pellets through it. Staining on the walls and ceiling and rotting wood.

It is important to check for plumbing leaks as this allows termites to live in the wood freely. Try to eliminate any wood to ground contact, such as an attached wooden fence, or a wooden porch affixing the house. Don't pile firewood against the house and if your house is on piers, clear any wood debris that may be underneath the house. Quickly replace any decaying wood and have your house inspected yearly. If you are buying a house, request a wood-destroying insect report from a local pest control company, you may find more than you bargained for.

If you suspect that you have an infestation, have your house inspected. Don't panic, your house is not doomed to destruction. Get some estimates for treatments from pest control companies' prices and warranties vary. After your house has been treated, make a habit of checking for reinfestation and make sure you have it inspected once per year. Don't forget that just like any other insect, termites can and will reinfest if given the chance.

Trending Now

© High Speed Ventures 2011