What Attracts Termites?

What Attracts Termites?

Did you know that certain termite species, such as subterranean termites, are active year-round? This means that even on the hottest or coldest days of the year these pests can still cause considerable damage and destruction to your property. Termites are in search of two things: a food source and a place to establish their colony. The first step in preventing termites is knowing what attracts them so you can take the necessary precautions to avoid them!

Termites like to colonize near a food source, most often soft or rotting wood. Firewood and other wood piles throughout your property are a major attractant to termites. This wood provides them with both a supply of food and a place to create their colony. If you must have this wood on your property, place it at least 20 feet from your home and elevate it at least 5 inches off the ground.

Summer showers are inevitable, meaning that your gutters could quickly become clogged. While clogged gutters can damage your home’s foundation, they can also attract termites. As the debris blocking the gutters accumulate, the excess moisture can soften your roof and cause it to rot. These areas provide termites an easy way to get inside your home. Make sure that your gutters are cleaned out regularly, especially after a bad rainstorm or consider installing gutter guards.

Every homeowner wants their yard to look aesthetically pleasing but sometimes the materials used for landscaping (like mulch) can attract termites to your home. Mulch is comprised of wood chips that can retain moisture, making it a perfect source of food for termites. Instead of mulch, consider using landscaping rocks; if you do use mulch, place it at least 15 inches from your foundation.

If you suspect a termite infestation or just want to get ahead of preventing them, consider calling your local pest control company where they can provide you with the best termite control options for your home.

What Do Swarming Termites Mean?

What Do Swarming Termites Mean?

Spring and early summer mark the start of termite swarming season. Swarming termites, also known as alates, are classified as nuisance pests because although they can be bothersome to have around, they cannot bite, sting, or even chew wood. They do, however, signify the presence of an established termite colony nearby which can be problematic for you and your home.

Termites are silent destroyers, often causing significant damage and destruction to your home for long periods of time while going undetected. Learning the signs of termites, including the presence of swarms, is a critical first step in termite prevention.

When dealing with termite swarms, several questions are posed: When is swarming season? Where should I look for swarms? Can these swarms cause damage? Why are they swarming? How can I prevent them?

When Is Swarming Season?

This question depends on what type of termite you are dealing with. Subterranean termites begin their swarming season in the spring, usually during daylight hours. Drywood termites, on the other hand, don’t swarm until late summer and early fall. Dampwood termites tend to swarm during the summer months. The weather also plays a factor into when termites will swarm. Each species has its own set of conditions that are ideal for swarming but most of them will start the day after a rainstorm when the weather is still overcast and there is little to no wind.

Where Should I Look For Swarms?

While termite swarms can be found both indoors and outdoors, they cannot survive indoors because of the lack of soil in which to colonize. Swarming termites can be found anywhere termites colonize. If they do make their way indoors, they can often be found near windows and light fixtures as they are attracted to the light.

Can These Swarms Cause Damage?

Termite swarms themselves usually do not cause damage. Swarming termites cannot bite, sting, or chew. As termites get ready to swarm, they make a tube which they use to launch. When conditions are ideal, they use the tube to launch themselves. After a brief flight of only a few seconds, the termites land and break their wings away from their bodies and pair with a mate. Those pairs that survive then create a chamber underground that they use to breed and the new colony is formed. Swarm launches are usually spread out over a few days with a large release on the first day and smaller launches on subsequent days. Termite swarms can indicate the presence of an existing colony nearby so while the swarmers themselves may not cause damage, the nearby colony can.

Why Are They Swarming?

The primary purpose of termite swarms is reproduction and expansion of the colony. When the original termite colony reaches capacity and needs to expand then the swarming process begins, usually occurring once per year. The number of termites in each swarm varies depending on which type of termite species is swarming and the size of the colony.

How Can I Prevent Them?

In order to prevent termite swarms, one must prevent termite colonies from establishing nearby. Prevent termites by:

  1. Getting rid of water sources by eliminating or reducing standing water around your home.
  2. Repairing any leaky faucets, pipes, and air conditioners.
  3. Diverting water away from your house with properly functioning spouts, splash blocks, and gutters that are clear of debris.
  4. Repairing and replacing damaged roof shingles, fascia and soffits on your house.
  5. Replacing weatherstripping on doors and windows.
  6. Routinely inspecting foundations for loose mortar, uneven or bubbling paint, wood that sounds hollow when you tap it, and for the presence of mud tubes which termites use to reach food.
  7. Regularly inspecting wood in and around your home for noticeable changes, making sure to check windows, doors, and skirting.
  8. Making sure there is at least an 18″ gap between the soil and the wood portions of your home.
  9. When storing items in the attic or basement, using plastic storage containers and metal shelving instead of cardboard or wood.
  10. During swarming season, keeping doors and windows shut as much as possible. Keep outdoor lights turned off at night also, as they will attract swarming termites.
  11. Keeping firewood stored at least 20 feet away from your home and elevated off the ground.
  12. Keeping plants a few feet away from your home.
  13. Making sure there is at least a 4″ barrier between your mulch and the side of your home. You can also use mulch made of rubber, plastic, or gravel.
  14. Removing any tree stumps from your property.
  15. Scheduling an annual termite inspection of your home and property to help detect termite problems early before they can cause significant damage.

Because a termite swarm indicates a nearby colony, homeowners should take precaution when one is spotted nearby. If you suspect you have a termite infestation, contact a professional pest control company who can inspect your property and set up a termite control plan.

 

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A Termite Solution for Your Business

A Termite Solution for Your Business

Termites can cause significant and expensive structural damage to your business. What is even worse is that these pests can go undetected for a prolonged period, and it can be a long, tiring process to get rid of them. With the Sentricon System with Always Active technology, your business is protected not just against individual termites but from the entire termite colony.

The Sentricon System is installed in the soil of your business’ property. The system is eco-friendly, with bait containing an active ingredient that is safe for the groundwater and plants around it. After the installation, termites will find the system and then tell the other termites in the colony, where they all begin to feed on the active ingredient. Unlike regular liquid termite treatments, the Sentricon System works to eliminate the entire termite colony instead of the individual termites.

The Sentricon System is a perfect eco-friendly solution to eliminate termites and prevent infestation. The system works throughout the year, to give you peace of mind that your business is safe and that you can keep providing services to the ones that matter most, your customers.

Call our Commercial Services Team today at (866) 731-3856 for more information on the Sentricon System and set up a free inspection.

How You Could Be Attracting Termites

How You Could Be Attracting Termites

Buying a home is a major investment and, for most homeowners, a lot of time is spent repairing and renovating their house to their liking. Home ownership can also bring unexpected problems that can be costly to repair, such as a subterranean termite infestation. Subterranean termites are known to cause considerable damage by building tunnels to reach food sources. Termites can colonize homes and cause significant undetected destruction over a long period of time. The cost to repair the damage can be in the thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, termite infestations can sometime be caused by the homeowner!

Improper Drainage

Having improper drainage around your home is one of the most common reasons why termites have infested. Subterranean termites are attracted to moisture and need an abundant source of nearby water to survive. Clogged gutters can cause water to pool and make insulation vulnerable to termites. Leaves, twigs, and other debris can build up in the home’s gutters, while the excess moisture can soften your roof and cause it to rot. Try to divert rainwater away from your foundation with a down-spout and by having splash blocks that will prevent water from pooling.

 Wood Mulch

Landscaping and crafting a beautiful yard come with having a home, though, sometimes the type of materials used to landscape is attracting termites. Mulch is often used near and around the house, usually against the foundation. Unfortunately, mulch can serve as a source of food for termites as they retain moisture, attracting these pests right to the edge of your home. Try to minimize the use of wood mulch and keep it at least 15 inches from the foundation.

 Moisture

Lack of airflow and leaking pipes all contribute to moisture problems in the home and can create conditions beneficial to termites. Eliminating any type of excess moisture inside the home is a major step in preventing termites from infesting. Consider enclosing your crawlspace to not only prevent these termites and other pests but also improve the overall health of your home by reducing the moisture, decreasing humidity, lowering utility bills, and preventing mold and wood rot.

If you have taken these necessary steps in preventing termites but suspect that you might have a termite problem, consider calling your local pest control company to help. They will set you up with a termite inspection and a treatment and prevention plan.

Termites: Prevent Before They Infest!

Termites: Prevent Before They Infest!

Termites cause costly and considerable damage to homes and property each year. These pests are known to go undetected for some time, making it more challenging to eliminate them. It’s necessary to know the warning signs of termites and how to prevent them from infesting your home.

Termites need water to survive. They will seek moist, wet areas inside or around your home to build a new colony site and utilize the water to survive. Eliminating unnecessary moisture both inside and outside of your home is a great start to termite prevention. Storm drains should always be directed away from your house, draining at least a few feet from the foundation. Inside, ensure that there are no leaky faucets or water pipes. If there are leaks, fix them as soon as possible. If your home has a crawlspace, consider investing in a crawlspace enclosure which will help eliminate moisture under the house while also preventing mold, wood rot, and other pests.

In addition to searching for water, termites also search for wood. If there is any exposed wood around your house that is easily accessible to termites, they will find it and destroy it. Reducing soil-to-wood contact around your home is essential in preventing them. Get rid of any lumber, mulch, plants, or other wood items that are around your foundation. If you do want to use mulch for landscape purposes, keep at least a 4-inch barrier between the mulch and the side of your home. Always clean up and get rid of fallen branches, dead wood, or old tree stumps throughout your property.

Termites can be extremely difficult to detect, prevent, and eliminate once they are established. If you suspect or discover that you have a termite problem, or even want to get ahead of the prevention game, contact a professional pest control company who can set you up with annual termite inspections and even a termite control plan.

Termite Control: Protecting Your Home From Termite Damage

Termite Control: Protecting Your Home From Termite Damage

Termites cause billions of dollars in damage to homes each year. This irreparable damage can affect both the structure and the integrity of your home. It is projected that homeowners spend upwards of $2 billion on termite treatments each year. Termites eat wood from the inside out, allowing them to go undetected for long periods of time and causing significant damage before you even realize it. Oftentimes homeowners aren’t aware of the presence of termites until they discover this damage.

The most common type of termite in the United States is the subterranean termite, although drywood termites, dampwood termites and Formosan termites can also be found here. Some of the most common signs of termites in your home include termite swarms; mud tubes on or around foundations; piles of discarded wings; drooping or discolored drywall; paint that is peeling; wood that makes a hollow sound when you tap on it; squeaking floorboards; doors and windows that stick; damaged or crumbling wood; loose tile; buckling floors; and even small holes in your drywall.

There are three main methods of termite treatment and the effectiveness of each depends on the type of termite you are dealing with and the severity of the infestation. Here is a breakdown of all three, along with some termite prevention tips to help protect your home from termite damage.

Soil Treatment

Soil treatments are applied to the soil that surrounds your home to create a barrier. The first step is to dig a trench around your foundation. This soil is then treated with a termiticide and the trench is filled back in. By doing this, termites are killed as they pass through the chemicals on their way back to their nests.

Wood Treatment

Wood treatments are used to both kill existing termite colonies and also prevent future ones from starting. There are different types of wood treatments all used with varying effectiveness depending on the type of termite and the severity of the infestation. Surface sprays are treatments that are applied to the surface of wood. Injected sprays and foams are applied to the inside of wood. Borate treated wood is wood that is pretreated with a borate solution. Gas fumigation entails using fumigants that permeate throughout your entire home which disrupts the metabolism of the termites. Surface sprays and borate treated wood are usually used during construction or renovation of homes. Injections, foams, and fumigants are used after a home is built.

Bait Systems

Bait systems are most effective at destroying termite colonies. A termite control professional will come out and install the bait stations around the outside perimeter of your home. These stations are then monitored on a regularly scheduled basis. Bait stations help ensure your home is protected from both a current infestation and a future one. The bait stations contain chemicals that termites eat and then take back to their colonies which allows it to be spread to others. This type of termite treatment is most effective with larger termite colonies.

How do you know which type of treatment is best for you? That all depends on the type of termite you are dealing with. Subterranean termites typically nest underground and enter homes where the wood structure makes direct contact with the soil. They will often squeeze through cracks in the foundation or around utility pipes through mud tubes. The best treatment for these termites is either a soil treatment or a bait station.

Drywood termites don’t require direct soil contact for survival. These termites will colonize anywhere they can find a preferred source of wood. They also don’t need as much moisture to survive like other termite species do. Drywood termites are often found in attics, dead or dying trees and shrubs, utility poles, fencing, and furniture. These termites are most effectively treated with gas fumigation or targeted termiticide.

Dampwood termites are much larger in size than their subterranean counterparts. They also have large pincers that they use to fight off predators. They typically colonize damp or decaying wood with higher moisture content like that found in logs and stumps. These termites don’t usually make their nests in the soil or build mud tubes. They are also not usually as destructive as other termite species are. The best treatment for these termites is moisture removal and termiticide application.

Prevention

The best way to get a head start on termite control at home is through prevention. Most homeowners policies do not cover termite damage so keeping them away is critical to protect both your home and your wallet. You can prevent termites by:

  • Using concrete foundation during construction and leaving a ventilation space between the soil and the wood
  • Covering exposed wood surfaces with sealant or a metal barrier
  • Keeping the soil around foundations dry after construction with proper grading and drainage
  • Maintaining gutters and downspouts
  • Reducing openings that offer access to termites by filling cracks in cement foundations or around gaps where utilities enter the home with cement, caulk, or grout
  • Fixing leaks immediately
  • Keeping vents free from blockage
  • Avoiding landscaping that is too close to the structure and not allowing them to grow against wooden structures
  • Not keeping firewood or wood debris piled up next to the house
  • Getting an annual termite inspection from a professional

If you suspect you have a problem with termites or you just want to get ahead with a prevention plan, contact your local pest control company who can provide you with a free analysis and set you up with a successful treatment and prevention plan going forward.

 

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Are Termites Active Right Now?

Are Termites Active Right Now?

Termites are one of the most feared and difficult pests to get rid of. Every homeowner is weary of having termites as they can destroy your home from the ground up; but as the colder weather continues, many wonder if termites are even active right now?  

Unfortunately for many homeowners, termites are out right now, with some termite species active year-round! This means that even on the coldest day termites are active. Fortunately, during colder weather termites do tend to go deeper into the ground to find warmth. If they’ve already infested your home, however, they will continue their activity. Termites will search for food throughout your house with the potential of significant damage, costing thousands of dollars in repairs. It’s extremely important to understand and recognize the signs of termites to catch them early.

One sign of termite activity is crumbling wood. Crumbling wood is a major indicator that these pests are infesting your property. Termites will eat wood from the inside out, so if the wood in your house sounds hollow when tapped on, you could have termites. Likewise, seeing uneven or bubbling paint is a sign of moisture build-up. This means the potential for two scenarios: water damage, which can attract termites; or existing termites inside your home. An obvious sign that termites are roaming is the presence of discarded wings inside your house. You can often find these near windowsills and doors.  

Termite-proofing your house or property now can help prevent termites in the future. Take precautions with these tips:  

  • Ensure that all water and gas lines are sealed.  
  • Fix any leaky faucets or appliances and get rid of any standing water.  
  • Try to eliminate any cellulose material as this is a termite’s primary food source.  

If you suspect you have termites or are just ready to get prepared this year, reach out to your local pest control company who can set you up with a prevention and termite treatment plan. 

Termites: How to Stop Their Damage

Termites: How to Stop Their Damage

Termites are known to cause significant and expensive home and property damage each year. These pests can easily go undetected for a long period of time and, in return, cause substantial damage to your property. Dealing with termites can be a huge undertaking and while you should always reach out to a professional if you have been infested with them, you can take steps to help prevent an invasion.

Keep Dry!

Subterranean termites need an abundant amount of water to survive. These pests will seek out moist and wet areas in or around your home for a new colony site. It’s extremely important to check for any leaky faucets, pipes, and appliances inside your home. Additionally, storm drains should be directed away from your house and draining at least a few feet from your home’s foundation. Making sure there is no available moisture is an easy way to prevent a termite infestation and subsequent damage.

Beware the Mulch!

Mulch can be a great tool to landscape your yard, but not many know that it can attract termites right into your home! Mulch, which is comprised of wood chips, can retain moisture, making it a perfect food source for termites. If you do decide to use mulch, try to keep at least a 4-inch barrier between the mulch and the side of your home. Along with mulch, try to keep shrubbery, lumber, and wood away from the foundation of the house.

Inspect It!

Inspecting your own home is probably the easiest way to prevent termites. Since termites like to consume wood, check for wood damage throughout your home. When wood is damaged it will make a hollow or papery sound when tapped on. Periodically check the exterior of the home. Maintaining your home’s wood siding and window frames help prevent termites from sneaking in. Some signs you have termites are blistering sheetrock, mud tunnels, cracks in the foundation, and discarded termite wings.

If you’ve determined that termites have infested your home, it’s best to call a professional. A local pest control company can provide you with an inspection and the best plan of action for termite control.

The When, Where, and Why of Termite Swarms

The When, Where, and Why of Termite Swarms

Swarming termites are also known as alates. Swarming termites are usually a seasonal nuisance as they cannot bite, sting, or even chew wood. While they don’t usually cause damage themselves, they do, however, indicate that there is an established colony nearby. These seasoned termites are capable of causing extensive damage to your home.

When dealing with swarming termites there are three important questions to ask: When do they swarm? Where do they swarm? Why do they swarm?

When Do They Swarm?

Termite swarming season varies by species. Subterranean termites swarm during daylight hours in the spring. Drywood termites swarm in late summer to early fall. Dampwood termites swarm in the summer. Most species of termites have specific conditions they wait for in order to start swarming. They usually wait for the day after a rainstorm, overcast weather, and wind speeds less than 6 mph.

Where Do They Swarm?

Swarming termites are found anywhere termites colonize. Termites can swarm indoors or outdoors, although they cannot survive indoors as there is no soil for them to create their colonies in. Swarming termites are attracted to light and are often found near windows and light fixtures. As termites get ready to swarm, they prepare a swarm tube which they use to launch. When the conditions are right, they use the tube to swarm. After a brief flight which lasts for only a few seconds, they land and break their wings away from their bodies. They then pair with a mate. Those pairs that survive then create a chamber underground that they use to breed and the new colony is formed. Swarm launches are usually spread out over a few days with a large release on the first day and smaller launches on subsequent days.

Why Do They Swarm?

The sole purpose of termite swarms is reproduction and expansion of the colony. The original termite colony reaches capacity and needs to expand. This is usually done once per year, hence termite swarming season. Both males and females swarm at this time. The number of termites that swarms each season varies depending on the size of the colony and the species of the termite.

Because a termite swarm indicates a nearby colony, homeowners should take precaution when one is spotted nearby. A thorough inspection of your home and property should be performed looking for signs of termites. This is also a good time to set up your annual termite inspection if you haven’t already. If you suspect you have a termite infestation, contact a professional pest control company who can inspect your property and set up a termite control plan.

 

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