Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. Because they work from the inside out, infestations are often not found until significant damage has already been done. Spring marks the beginning of the termite swarming season and these destructive pests are found in most of the United States (except for Alaska). What do you need to know before swarming season starts to help control termites? Find out the answers to many of your termite questions below.
What Time Of Year Do Termites Come Out?
Termites swarm as the weather begins to warm, usually at the beginning of spring or summer and usually after a rain event. Termites swarm when they go in search of a location to establish a new colony. Colonies typically don’t produce a swarm until they have been established for at least 3 years.
Do Swarming Termites Mean An Infestation?
If a swarm happens inside your home, most of them will not survive to establish a new colony but it does mean that your home is likely infested. If a swarm happens outside your home or if you notice just a few stragglers inside, your home is most likely not infested but a colony (or multiple colonies) are present nearby.
Do Swarming Termites Cause Damage?
Swarming termites have one purpose – to reproduce and establish a new colony. In fact, they don’t have biting or chewing mouthparts to cause damage to your home. Several hundred swarmers are produced by each colony but only a small percentage of these actually survive to start the new colony.
What Is The Difference Between Swarming Termites And Flying Ants?
Termites have straight antennae and wide bodies without pinched waists. They are usually black or dark brown in color. Swarming termites have wings that are the same length and clear in color. Termites are found in decaying stumps, trees, wood debris, lumber, and other wooden structures. They cause structural damage by eating wood and other cellulose-based products like paper.
Flying ants (also known as carpenter ants) have elbowed antennae and pinched waists. They can be black, brown or reddish in color. They have 2 pairs of wings that differ in size and are tinted brown in color. Carpenter ants also inhabit wood and wood structures; however, they don’t eat wood and therefore do not usually cause any structural damage. They do eat nectar, seeds, other insects, and food debris in and around your home.
The main attractant to termites is food. Termites love to eat anything wood or cellulose-based including lumber, firewood, newspaper, and more. They also like warm, dark places that are undisturbed such as your crawlspace. They also thrive in moist soil, especially around your foundations.
What Is The Most Effective Termite Treatment?
While there are some do-it-yourself options you can do around your home, these are more suitable for termite prevention rather than termite control. Getting rid of termites is a job best left to the professionals. Some things you can do around your home to help prevent termites include:
Getting rid of decayed lumber and firewood and moving wood products away from your foundations.
Reduce moisture in crawlspaces.
Repair leaky faucets and pipes.
Divert excess water from foundations with properly functioning gutters, downspouts, and splash blocks.
Position sprinklers to spray away from foundations.
Liquid termite treatments have been around for years. Their purpose is to provide a long-lasting barrier in the soil that keeps termites from entering and infesting buildings. This treatment also helps eliminate termites that are already inside structures as it prevents them from getting back to the soil for supplemental moisture.
Bait termite treatments use a cellulose-based food product combined with a slow acting pesticide. The bait stations are installed below the ground where termites eat the bait and share it with other termites in their colony. This leads to a gradual decline in the termite population infesting the structure.
It is estimated that termites cause billions of dollars worth of damage in the United States annually. While they primarily feed on wood, they can also damage books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners and filters. They can wreak havoc on trees and shrubs and are particularly fond of plants that are in bad health. Termites can infest buildings at any time. This can be particularly troublesome when buying or selling a home. A termite inspection and report are usually required as a condition of sale of a home.
Types Of Termites
There are several different species of termites but the two most common are drywood and subterranean termites. Formosan termites are the most prevalent species of subterranean termites in the southeastern US. Drywood termites don’t cause the extensive damage that subterranean termites do. Drywood termites cost property owners hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and repairs each year; subterranean termite damage is in the billions. This is due in part to drywood termites having smaller colonies, so it takes them longer to cause damage. Drywood termites are also more visible than subterranean ones – they tend to kick their dried feces out onto surfaces as they eat, making them easier to spot. Subterranean termites keep their droppings inside their tunnels so they are more likely to go unnoticed. Subterranean termites can also have multiple colonies near a home which can all feed on the same home at the same time, exponentially increasing the number of termites infesting the structure.
Termites destroy homes by eating wood and wood products. They have special enzymes, bacteria, and protozoa in their guts that allow them to digest cellulose (organic fibrous material in wood and plants). The largest subterranean termite colonies can eat up to a pound of wood per day. This damage, however, often goes unnoticed for many years. Because they slowly eat away at the wood inside your home, often without your knowledge, termite damage often severely impacts the structural integrity of your home. Termite colonies can take 3 to 5 years to fully mature. While there is no accurate way of calculating the exact age of an infestation, there are ways to make accurate predictions of their age. It can take anywhere from 3 to 8 years for termite damage to show up depending on the size of the colony.
Signs Of Damage
When signs of termite damage surface, there has often been an infestation for years with extensive damage already sustained. Some signs of a termites in your home include:
A hollow sound made by tapping on wood with a heavy object
Painted walls that bubble and peel
Small entry holes where they tunnel through drywall
Subterranean termites can leave dirt on the wall where their bodies have come in contact with soil
Buckling ceilings and walls
Appearance of water damage
Maze-like designs in wood structures
Mud tunnels on foundations
Seeing swarms of termites, especially in spring
Significant damage from termites can have an effect on the structural integrity of your home and can even cause ceilings and floors to collapse. Termites can also ruin furniture, carpeting, and flooring.
There is no central agency that monitors or tracks termite damage data. Many pest control companies report their data to state agricultural and academic experts but there is no system in place for uniform tracking across the country. Therefore, most damage cost estimates are based on estimates. It is estimated that:
Approximately 600,000 homes are damaged by termites in the US each year
$5 billion dollars are spent annually by US residents to control termites and repair damage
At least $1 billion dollars are spent on Formosan termite control and repairs each year, although some experts estimate it is closer to $2 billion (according to the USDA)
One question many homeowners have is if termite damage is covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy. Unfortunately in most cases the answer to this question is no. Homeowner’s insurance typically does not cover termite damage or removal because it can usually be prevented through routine home maintenance. However, you should always check with your insurance provider to see what you are and are not covered for.
Since insurance usually doesn’t cover termite damage and repair, what is the average cost to repair termite damage? The cost of repairs varies greatly from case to case and is dependent on a variety of factors such as how much wood the termites have eaten, how long the colony has been in the home, and where the damage was done inside the home. Repairs can often be more expensive than the original building costs, often in the thousands of dollars. In rare cases termite damage can be so extensive that the home is completely demolished. In addition to the structural repairs that have to be made, cosmetic repairs also have to be made. Termites can cause discoloration and other damage to sheetrock, flooring and paint which will also need repair or replacement. The cost of these will vary on an individual basis but some repairs will be more costly than others, e.g. replacing hardwood floors versus floor tiles. Exterminator costs also have to be factored in as the termites have to be controlled and eliminated before any repairs can be done. The costs will vary depending on your termite control professional but will usually include the cost of chemicals and baits, labor, and service and can vary based on your location and the type of termite treatment you choose.
Termites can be prevented with scheduled periodic professional inspections which can help identify signs of infestations earlier, keeping damage minimal and repair costs down. Any professional termite control plan should eliminate termites, prevent future termite infestations, and prevent termite damage. If you suspect you have a termite problem or want to have an inspection done to check for termites, contact us for a free estimate.
The 2 most common reasons to need a termite inspection: when required during real estate transactions and if termite activity is present or suspected by homeowners and business owners.
If either of these situations applies, you may be wondering how much a termite inspection costs, and what steps are taken if an infestation is found by a termite exterminator.
How Much Does a Termite Inspection Cost?
Termite Inspections for Homeowners & Business Owners:
If you own a home or business and see signs of active termites (usually swarming termites) or termite damage, you’re going to need a termite inspection from a local exterminator near you. Or if you’re considering selling your home in the near future and don’t have a termite warranty, now may be a good time for a termite inspection, so you don’t delay the sales process when you find a potential buyer.
If the intent is to get termite treatment options and find out if you have an active termite infestation, most termite exterminators will perform a free termite inspection. The first step in this process is to contact a reputable pest control company and schedule a termite inspection. On the day of inspection, be prepared for the inspector to spend a half hour to an hour or longer at your property, depending on the size and condition of the home or business. The inspector will be looking for active and previous signs of termites, termite damage, and any other wood destroying insects or pest issues.
If termite activity is found, previous or active, termite treatment options will be provided. Common forms of treatments include liquid barrier treatments and termite baiting systems, which are a less invasive, environmentally responsible option. Most exterminating companies will also offer termite warranties with treatment so that your property is protected from future termite infestations and/or damage.
If no termite activity is found, it’s still a smart choice to consider having your home or business treated for termites. A baiting system like Sentricon Always Active® is a great preventative treatment choice. Termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage each year so taking a proactive approach to termite protection is the only way to totally protect your investment from termites.
Termite Inspections for Real Estate Transactions
Termite inspections and Wood Infestation Reports are usually required during the purchase of a home. These are NOT included in a general home inspection. Often, the real estate agent representing the seller will coordinate the termite inspection with their exterminating company of choice, if the homeowners do not currently have an active termite warranty. The fee for this inspection and report generally ranges from $45 to over $100 depending on the termite company. This fee is sometimes waived if active or previous termite activity is found and the property will require a termite treatment.
As we approach the warmer and more humid months, the chance of encountering pests increases. While some are more occasional invaders, there are some that will make it a point to stick around.
With the weather changing and a large amount of rain in the forecast, your home provides cockroaches with shelter and an ever-flowing food source. The larger roaches you may encounter are more than likely American cockroaches; an infestation that is normally easy to stop with a quarterly pest service. However, if you notice smaller roaches in the kitchen and/or bathroom of your home, you may be dealing with German cockroaches. They are a much harder infestation to control and will usually require a monthly treatment by your exterminator.
There is a consensus in the South that mosquitoes are despised, and we would all like them gone. Unfortunately, they seem to be here to stay, as they thrive in this area due to the humid climate. Also, because of where we are located, our mosquito season starts before other regions in the U.S. They are more of a hazard than just a casual annoyance; mosquito bites have the potential to spread diseases like Malaria, Dengue, and Zika. At Northwest, our Mosquito Reduction Service reduces adult mosquitoes and limits mosquito breeding around your home, reducing your risk of mosquito bites and mosquito diseases.
In the pest world, we refer to the warmer months as “swarm season.” This is when pests that have been overwintering emerge and begin to swarm. Termites only swarm once a year and, here in the South, the type you will see swarming are Subterranean termites. The ones you see flying around your home are not the ones that will cause destruction; however, it’s a sign that a termite colony is nearby. A termite inspection by a professional exterminator will not only look for signs of termite damage around your home but will also provide you with a personalized plan for treatment, if damage is found, and prevention moving forward.
Spring is the time of year when termites swarm, emerging to mate and establish new colonies. Unfortunately, these new colonies are often established inside our homes. An average of 5 million US homes are infested each year by termites, causing an average of $5 billion in damage annually. What many people don’t realize is that termite damage isn’t covered by homeowner’s insurance policies. What’s a homeowner to do? One thing to consider is the Sentricon Always Active bait system for termite control. Sentricon is a highly effective, environmentally responsible treatment option for termites. What is included with the Sentricon system?
Immediate Prevention. Sentricon bait is scientifically engineered to naturally enter the termite food chain and destroy both the queen and her entire colony. Sentricon begins working immediately upon installation.
Home Termite Inspection. When you have Sentricon installed, a comprehensive property inspection is performed checking for signs of existing or previous termite infestations and damage.
Bait Station Installation. Bait stations containing Recruit HD termite bait are installed in the soil around your home’s perimeter.
Termite Colony Elimination. Recruit HD termite bait works 24/7 to protect your home from termites and damage.
Continuous Monitoring. Bait stations are monitored as needed to protect your home against future termite invasions.
Annual Termite Inspections. Annual interior home inspections for termites and pests are included at no additional charge.
Lifetime Termite Warranty. Every installation of The Sentricon System with Always Active comes with a lifetime warranty against termite infestations and damage.
Green Termite Control. Sentricon Always Active bait, Recruit HD, poses no hazard to groundwater and has no label restrictions for use around wells and cisterns. The Sentricon system was registered under the Reduced Risk Pesticide Initiative of the US Environmental Protection Agency and is the only termite control product ever to receive the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.
If you suspect you have a termite problem contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough inspection and recommend a comprehensive termite treatment and prevention plan.
Termite season is here! You may be seeing many ads for termite protection for your home, but you’ve gone years without termite protection. Is it even worth it?
Well, let’s look at the facts when it comes to termites and your home.
While you may not notice any signs of termite damage in your home currently, that doesn’t mean there’s not a silent, ongoing termite infestation causing damage to the structural integrity of your home. By having your home inspected, you may be able to catch the damage before it’s too late or prevent damage from ever impacting your largest investment.