The new year has begun and although the weather is chilly now, the luxuries of living in the south typically means that warmer weather appears sooner than later. This means that termite swarming season is just around the corner, with the earliest swarms beginning in February. Let’s break down what to expect this swarming season.
What are Swarming Termites?
Termite swarmers, often mistaken for winged ants, are most active during the spring months, when they fly away from their colony to reproduce. These swarmers are attracted to bright, light areas often seen around doors and windows in homes. Fortunately, they don’t cause wood damage, but seeing a group of them around your property typically means a colony is nearby.
Which Species Do I Need to Lookout For?
The southeastern region of the United States is home to a variety of termites, including the subterranean, drywood, and Formosan species. Subterranean is the most common type of termite found in the southeast. They live underground in colonies that can get up to two million members. They are also known to be found in moist, secluded areas above ground. With their hard, saw-toothed jaws that work like shears, they are known to cause significant damage to properties.
Termite Prevention Tips:
- Eliminate Moisture: Repair leaky faucets, don’t let water pool near foundations, keep gutters clear, and use downspouts to divert water away from your home.
- Maintain Landscape: Don’t let anything touch the exterior surfaces of your home (mulch & woodpiles), removing old tree stumps, and keeping shrubbery and tree limbs trimmed back away from your home.
- Repair Home: Replace broken tiles, shingles, etc. on your roof and exposed beams in attics are a great food source and access point into your home.
If you suspect termite swarming activity or just want to get a step ahead at termite prevention, contact your local pest control company and schedule your free inspection.
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 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 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 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.
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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How to Prepare for Snake Season
How Each Season Effects Pests
Is Orange Oil Effective As A Treatment For Termites?
Keeping Wildlife Out This Spring
Summer is here and as the temperatures are ramping up and the summer storms roll in, new pests are taking advantage of the conditions and becoming more active.
Let’s check which summer pests are stirring up trouble in your neck of the woods.
Yellow Fever Mosquitoes:
The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially started June 1 and storms will start to occur more frequently. This excessive moisture will lead to areas of standing water which are the perfect breeding sites for yellow fever mosquitoes. To help prevent mosquitoes this summer, try to:
- Eliminate areas of standing water around your home.
- Utilize insect-repellant that contains DEET.
Swarming season for carpenter ants is typically from May through August. Just like yellow fever mosquitoes, carpenter ants need water for survival and will be drawn to your home if there is excess moisture. To keep ants out of your home this summer try to:
- Seal cracks and openings around your home to keep carpenter ants from entering.
- Cut tree branches back away from your home as this is how carpenter ants can gain access.
Formosan termites are sometimes called “super termites,” as they are known to be very aggressive. Formosans can chew through wood, floors, and even wallpaper without being detected. A few ways to prevent termites and their subsequent damage are to:
Pests are a hassle but preparation and treatment are key in stopping them in their tracks. Call to schedule a free home inspection and start your journey to a pest-free home.
If you’ve been outside lately you’ve probably seen signs of spring – blooming flowers, pollen that aggravates our allergies, and lots of new insects buzzing around. Another thing that spring brings is swarms – of termites! Termites are present year round but their swarming season is during spring and early summer.
Termites cause billions of dollars in damage to homeowners each year. Here in the Southeast, subterranean termites are the most common types and are particularly destructive. These insatiable eaters can damage not only wooden structures, but have even been known to cause damage to brick and concrete homes as well. Termites can invade your home through cracks and holes as small as 1/32 of an inch!
Swarms are most common in spring and summer because they are triggered by warm, humid weather. Swarming marks the start of a new termite colony. Winged termites leave their nests when they become overcrowded and their isn’t enough food to sustain them. They then take flight and actually reproduce in mid-air. The females will then shed their wings and fall back to the ground. They then go in search of a new location to start their colonies.
Swarmers don’t usually cause any damage but once they establish their new colonies their offspring can cause significant damage – usually within 2 years. If you see flying termites it can signal one of two problems:
- There could be an existing termite problem nearby.
- Your home could potentially be at risk of a termite infestation when the swarm lands looking for a new place to colonize.
If you see winged termites inside your home this is a good indication that you already have an established termite colony inside or that there is existing damage already.
What can you do to prevent termites from coming into your home? Check out these tips to keep the termites out!
- Have regular inspections done by a termite control company.
- Do regular inspections of the outside of your home and the subfloor of your home checking for wood damage and the presence of mud tubes. (Mud tubes are pencil-sized tunnels located around termite nests, wood structures, and concrete or stone foundations.)
- Repair any damaged roof tiles, soffits, and fascia on your home.
- Keep mulch away from your foundation as this retains water and the moisture can attract termites.
- Keep your basements, attics, and crawlspaces well ventilated and dry. Consider enclosing your crawlspace completely.
- Make sure gutters are clear of debris and downspouts are working to make sure water is diverted away from your home. Consider installing gutter guards to help prevent clogs.
As always, if you suspect you have termites or find signs of damage, contact a termite control company who can come in and do a thorough inspection and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan.
Termites are very destructive and cause billions of dollars of damage to homes each year in the U.S. That is why we are dedicating March’s Pest of the Month to TERMITES!
- Operate under a caste system. There are workers, soldiers, and reproductives.
- Live in colonies underground or in moist secluded areas.
- Feed on items containing cellulose.
- Swarm in the spring when reproductive termites go out to start new colonies.
- Cause severe damage to a structure by chewing away at the wood.
- Responsible for more than $2 billion of damage to homes in the US each year.
- Cause more damage in an average year than floods, fires, and tornadoes.
- A termite colony may contain several hundred thousand individuals.
- Divert water away from the foundation of a structure.
- Repair leaky faucets, pipes, and AC units on the outside of the home.
- Properly ventilate areas of high humidity like crawl spaces, attics, and basements.
- Keep mulch or ground cover at least 15 inches away from the foundation of a structure.
- Sentricon Termite Elimination baiting systems may be placed around the perimeter of a structure.
Other Pests to Look Out For
If you think you may have termites, or other pests in your home, call the mouse at 888.466.7849 or visit us online at www.callnorthwest.com