Have you ever picked up a dead branch in your yard and found tiny, pale bugs on it that you thought were maggots at first but then realized that the maggots had legs? This is actually a common occurrence. People often see termites and don't realize what they're looking at. They mistake them for maggots, pale ants, or some other nasty little bug. We hope you haven't done this. Subterranean termites are destructive insects that can eat you out of your house and home. Here is a complete guide to subterranean termite control in Merrimac, starting with a few quick tips to help you with identification.

termites eating wood
termite damage

Termite Identification

  • Maggots don't eat wood. They eat rotting organic matter or feces. You're not going to find them on a branch in your yard. If you see pale bugs on a branch, always take a closer look.

  • A termite worker is only about ⅛ of an inch. That's crazy small. So, it is easy to think that termite workers are white ants mistakenly. There are no white ants in Merrimac. If you see white insects, there is a good chance they're subterranean termites.

  • Another helpful way to identify termites is to watch as they disappear into the wood. These insects prefer to be hidden inside wood or soil because they dry out easily. If you're looking at ants or maggots, they won't try to get back inside the wood.

Inspections Are The Key

There is no better way to protect your Merrimac property from subterranean termites than to do routine inspections. It's hard work to get into all the places you need to inspect, but it is well worth the effort, especially if your property doesn't have professional termite protection.

Where To Inspect

  • On foundation walls and wood surfaces underneath your deck, porch, patio, and stairs.

  • On foundation walls behind landscape vegetation.

  • Underneath logs, construction materials, firewood, and other wood products. While we hope you don't have any wood that touches the ground, this is a good place to find termite activity.

  • The base of wooden posts that enter the ground.

  • Underneath mulch.

  • On foundation walls inside your basement, cellar, or crawlspace.

  • In spider webs.

What To Look For

  • The presence of termite workers, soldiers, or alates (winged termites).

  • The presence of mud tubes. These can look like one wiggly line or several lines branching off of one line that comes up from the ground to the wood of your home.

  • Shed wings left by male and female alates. You may know these insects as swarmers.

  • Wood damage. Termites create tunnels inside wood. When exposed, these tunnels look like trenches. If termites have made the tunnels, they should feel gritty to the touch. Subterranean termites can also cause wood to splinter.

  • Swarmers. In spring, termite nests release swarmers. If you find black insects with long white wings crawling around inside or outside your Merrimac home, that is a warning sign that your home could be damaged. A swarm of termites is rarely a sign of an impending infestation.  

Subterranean Termite Prevention

These insects are going to be attracted to a yard that has food sources. One of the most important things you can do to protect your property is remove food sources.

  • Get rid of stumps and logs.

  • Remove branches from your property or burn them.

  • Elevate firewood and construction materials to get them off the ground.

  • Address wood-to-soil contact on your deck or other structures.

  • Remove leaf piles as soon as possible.

  • Don't allow cardboard to sit on the ground.

  • Refrain from burying wood on your property.

Another attractant for subterranean termites is moisture. Workers are drawn to moist soil because they need moisture to keep their thin skins hydrated. They may also know that water is a catalyst for wood rot and that decaying wood is likely to be in areas with damp soil.

  • Have your gutters cleaned.

  • Repair any damage in your gutter system or to downspouts and splash blocks.

  • Address areas of dense vegetation in your landscaping.

  • Remove unnecessary vegetation from your landscaping.

How Freedom Pest Control Can Help

Subterranean termites are incredibly sneaky. These insects can evade detection, even if you take the time and do the hard work of looking for warning signs. The best way to protect your Merrimac property is to invest in professional termite control. We can assist you with this. At Freedom Pest Control, we guard Merrimac properties against termite damage with industry-leading termite control and prevention services. We would love the opportunity to talk with you about the available options. Connect with us today and schedule a visit with one of our licensed pest professionals. We're here to help you address all of your Massachusetts pest concerns. Don't allow subterranean termites to be out of sight and out of mind.

Athleticism

A mouse can jump more than a foot in the air and scale some walls like they're running across the ground. They can also jump across gaps that are several feet. When a mouse explores your exterior, don't expect it to settle on entering through points near the ground. They can work their way up through your downspouts and get on your roof. They can climb a nearby tree and jump down onto your roof. And, on some houses, they can scale exterior walls to get to the roofline and ultimately the roof.

Strong Teeth  

A rodent has teeth that never stop growing. These teeth must be filed down. One way rodents file their teeth down is by chewing on trees and the bark of trees. When they come to your home and find a spot that is rotted, they are inclined to chew on it. If this yields access to a void, they're likely to investigate.

Rodents will chew on other building materials as well. If a mouse finds a secluded spot to chew on a door sweep or weatherstripping, it may do so. This can be inspired by something leaking out from the inside, such as the scent of food, heat, or cool air.

Now that you understand the unique qualities that allow mice to get into your home, you'll better understand why mice commonly use the following entry points.

How Mice Get In

  • Gaps in door sweeps or weatherstripping on exterior doors. These may already be present, or they may be created.

  • Holes in the wood frames around exterior doors and windows. These may have been created by other wood-destroying pests and finished by mice or entirely created by mice.

  • Cracks in foundation walls and slabs.

  • Openings around water and sewage pipes or the PVC wire conduits that enter your home. It doesn't take much of a gap to allow a mouse in.

  • Damaged screens, broken window panes, and damaged window frames.

  • Areas of rotted wood, such as the sole plates of your home. They may use holes that carpenter ants, termites, or some other pests have started or create them entirely independently.

  • Gaps in your soffit or roofline. They may use damage caused by squirrels, carpenter bees, and other pests or make these gaps themselves.

  • The seals around foundation penetrations, such as exhaust pipes, skylights, and chimneys.

Once a mouse has breached your foundation or exterior windows, doors, or walls, they find themselves in the interior voids of your home, where they use their impressive abilities to make their way all the way up to your attic or all the way down to your first floor, pantry, or cellar. They'll make access holes through soft materials, such as sheetrock, and hard materials, such as baseboards. These access holes are what they use to come out and run along walls in your common areas. 

If you see a mouse, it has likely been living with you for quite some time. Mice are typically quiet guests. If you hear them in your walls and are disturbed by their presence as you go to sleep, you may want to thank the mouse, or mice, for making those thumping and scratching noises. Mice can damage your home, destroy your belongings, and make you sick. It is nice if they are loud enough to let you know that they are there.

The Best Way To Get Mice Out

Now that you know how mice get into your home and what tools they use to do this, it is time to consider how you can get them out. In light of their unique skills and ability to cause property damage and health issues, we recommend professional pest control. 

If you live in Merrimack, you are in our service area. Contact Freedom Pest Control today and tell us about your rodent problem. We can help you address this frustrating and potentially hazardous pest issue.

 

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