There are many ways you might notice termite activity, but only a few ways you'll deal with termites when you find them. You may immediately contact a pest control service provider for termite pest control in Merrimac or you may shrug them off. These are the two ends of the spectrum. On one side, you get the best possible protection for your property. On the other, you take the chance that termites aren't as bad as you've heard. Many residents find themselves somewhere in the middle. They use a variety of control methods to try and stop termites. Some use over-the-counter control products while others search on the internet for professional-grade products. In both cases, DIY termite control often falls short. The failure of the products has less to do with how effective they are (though some don't work well), and more to do with how they are applied. There are many factors that can hinder termite control. We can't tell you what you should do about termites when you find them. The best we can do is provide the facts that will help you make the best decision for you. Join us as we look at how to detect signs of termites in your yard and home, what you can expect from termites, how to deter them, and how professional termite control can help you avoid termite damage.
Easy-To-Spot Signs Of Termites
The termites in Merrimac are subterranean termites, the most destructive termites in the United States. They live in the ground and attack homes and businesses from the ground. You can have a million of these termites in your yard and not know it. We're not exaggerating. These insects stay hidden most of the time. There are a few exceptions. These exceptions may help you easily spot termites on your property.
- Swarmers. The most obvious sign of a termite problem is finding a termite swarm in your house. Unfortunately, it is rare for these termites to emerge inside. Most of the time, they emerge outside, gather in a swarm for less than thirty minutes, and go back into hiding. When you find them in your home, it is a warning sign of a severe infestation because it is an indication that the nest is close to your exterior walls or underneath your home. Swarmers are black insects. They are about ⅜ of an inch long and have long white wings—long compared to their bodies.
- Wings. Termite swarmers shed their wings when they mate. While it is difficult to catch termites swarming in your yard, you might find their wings. Look for them on the ground, on structures, or in spider webs. These wings will all be the same size.
- Shelter tubes. Subterranean termite workers create above-ground tunnels called shelter tubes. They do this to get from the ground to the wood of your home without exposing themselves to the air, which acts as a desiccant. You might find these shelter tubes on your foundation walls, exterior steps, concrete piers, and interior walls.
- Worker termites. You might get lucky and see termite workers. When you do, we hope you recognize them. You may see termite workers when you pick up dead branches, move stacks of wood, or when you clean up cardboard from the ground. You may also see them if you remove a stump, cut into a dying tree, or do home improvement. A worker termite is pale, has six legs, and looks like a fat ant. The species in our area are about ⅛ of an inch in length.
- Damage. While rare, you may see termite damage. When termites find a damp or humid location, they may do surface damage. You're likely to find this damage near the ground, under your deck, or in a crawl space. The damage will have mud associated with it. Subterranean termites bring soil up into their tunnels.
When you find evidence of a termite infestation, the next step is to decide what you're going to do about them. While you know you have active termites, you may not think the termites are actively feeding on your home. You might be right. It is also possible that you might be wrong.
Termites Silently Destroy The Structural Integrity Of Your Home
We can't tell you how much damage termites will do to your Merrimac home. All we can do is tell you how termites behave.
- Worker termites are the only termites in a colony that eat food. All other termites get their food from the workers through an exchange of fluids called trophallaxis.
- Worker termites are the most plentiful termites in a termite colony by a significant margin.
- Worker termites are simple organisms. They do not need to sleep. A termite can feed twenty-four hours a day, all year long.
- The species of termites we deal with most are Eastern subterranean termites, which can have colony sizes between 60,000 and almost a million individual termites.
- Termites travel a long way for a bite to eat. You can have more than one colony of termites feeding on your home at the same time.
- Termites don't focus on one food source. When food is found, only a portion of the workers are recruited to feed on the source. All the other termites continue to look for food, which means they can feed on your home while they're feeding on a stack of dead branches in your yard.
- Termites are quiet when they feed on wood. Your dog or cat may hear termites, but you won't.
Do you see what you're up against with termites? They are relentless wood-eating pests. Is there anything you can do about them? Yes. There are many steps you can take to make your property less interesting to worker termites.
Factors That Attract Termites To Your Home And Yard
Termites are not equally attracted to every Merrimac property. There are factors that invite workers into a yard and inspire a colony to grow quickly in response to available food sources. Here are a few ways this might work.
- Dead branches are a preferred food source. Store these sticks in a plastic or rubber bin rather than on the ground where they can rot, and where termites can easily access them.
- Firewood is a great source of fuel to heat your home, but stacked wood on the ground is a strong attractant for termites. Consider putting something between the wood and the ground such as a rubber mat or an elevated platform. When termites attempt to access the wood, you'll see their shelter tubes.
- Burying wood can seem like a good idea when you have scraps left over from a construction project but wood rots in the ground and will provide a perfect food source for termites. It is best to remove wood scraps from your property or burn them.
- A wood fence provides beauty for your home, but wood decays over time. As it decays, it becomes more and more delectable to termites. Consider replacing your wood fencing with vinyl fencing. There are vinyl products that look like real wood, without being a real food source for termites.
- A moisture problem can lead to wood rot, which is why homes have gutters. Make sure your gutters are unobstructed and free of damaged areas that allow rainwater to leak out. Along with causing wood rot (which is attractive to termites) rainwater that isn't channeled away from your home can make your perimeter soil damp. Termites are drawn to damp soil.
Rotting wood and moisture problems increase the chances that termites will select your property. When you stay on top of removing these attractants, you're well on your way to safeguarding your home against termite damage.
Contact The Professionals At The First Sign Of Termites
Now that you know more about termites, we hope you see the benefit of contacting a professional when you first see warning signs. If you're in Merrimac, reach out to Freedom Pest Control. We use the award-winning Sentricon® System with Always Active™. Sentricon® works in two ways. It actively prevents termite damage by using worker termites against their colonies. Remember when we said that termites never stop looking for food? When workers explore your property, they are sure to find the best food inside your Sentricon® bait stations. When they do, it is all over for those termites. The second way Sentricon® works for you is that it makes detection easy. When termite workers take the bait, your pest control technician will let you know. Feedback like this is invaluable. It lets you know that your money was well spent. You're not going to get this feedback from a liquid termiticide barrier treatment.
Do you have any questions about termites that were not addressed in this article? We're here to answer them. Reach out to Freedom Pest Control any time. We want to help you find the right solutions to all of your pest concerns. Connect with us today to find answers or to schedule a service visit.