Frequently Asked Questions about Termite Control

Soil-dwelling or subterranean termites are very serious pests of structures and usually need attention from professionals. But termite control can be pretty confusing, and property owners typically have tons of questions. Some of the most common questions are answered in this article.

Why do people need to worry about termites?

These pests cause millions, even billions of American dollars in damage every year in the United States. They usually feed on wood but also damage swimming pool liners, filtration systems, insulation, books, and paper. These insects can injure living shrubs and trees, but more often, these pests are a secondary destroyer of woody plants that are already in decline.

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While they may infest buildings any time, they are relevant when purchasing or selling a house, since termite infestation and inspection reports are normally a strict sale condition. Besides its monetary impact, tons of winged termites emerging inside your home are an emotionally challenging experience – not to mention the thought of insects silently feasting on your most significant investment.

Why infestations are usually discovered during springtime?

Spring is when massive numbers of winged mites or swarmers emerge inside houses. In nature, these insects swarm to disperse, as well as to start a new colony. It is triggered by rainfall and warmer temperatures, and they emerge from the colonies and fly into the air.

Then these insects drop to the ground, molt their wings, find a mate, and attempt to start a new settlement in the soil. Swarmersthat are coming out from inside the house are incapable of damaging things and only live for more or less 24 hours. Removal can be accomplished with a vacuum or broom.

How will property owners know if their building or house is infested?

Discovering a winged termite inside a property is an almost surefire indication of an infestation and needs to be exterminated and treated. Since these swarmers are attracted to bright lights, they usually are seen around light bulbs, doors, or windows. Property owners often confuse ants with winged mites, both swarms at the same time of the year.

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Termites have thickened waist, straight antennae, constricted waists, as well as equal-size wings. Conversely, ants have longer front wings than hind wings, constricted waists, and elbowed antennae. Termite swarms coming out from tree stumps or woodpiles are not necessarily a cause of concern and don’t automatically mean the property is infested.

On the other hand, if these things are coming out next to the property’s foundation or from patios or porches, there is a good chance that the house or building is infested as well. Other tell-tale signs of mite infestation are mud or earthen tubes extending over the foundation wall, still plates, support piers, and floor joists.

The tubes are about the diameter of a regular pencil but sometimes can be more prominent and thicker. These pests construct the tubes as their protection or shelter as they travel between the structure or building and their underground colony.

If property owners want to kill termites and their colonies or help find out if the infestation in the property is active, the mud tubes may be checked for the presence of creamy-white and small worker mites. If the tube is vacant, it doesn’t mean that the colony is inactive. These pests usually abandon sections of the tube while looking for a new section of the structure to colonize.

Wood in the structure that is damaged by these pests is hollowed out with bits of dried soil or mud lining the feeding galleries. Wood that is damaged by moisture or other kinds of insects like ants will not have this appearance. Occasionally, mites also bore small holes through plaster and drywall, accompanied by the soil around their margin. Sunken or rippled traces behind the wall covering can also be an indication of mite tunneling.

Often there will be no visual indication of mite infestations. They are cryptic insects, and their infestation can go undetected for months or years, hidden under floor coverings, behind walls, insulation, as well as other obstructions. Damage and feeding can go undetected in exposed wood, since the outer surface of the structure can remain intact. Confirmation of infestation often needs the keen eye of a reputable professional, but even the most experienced ones can overlook some signs that are hidden in plain sight.