Termites are perhaps the most dreaded pests among property owners, and for good reason. If you own property in DFW, please arm yourself with knowledge about termites, termite protection, and what to do if infestation occurs. Preventive measures and swift action are key!
Termites may seem stealthy, but they leave behind plenty of clues that can be easily identified once you know what you’re looking for:
As termites chew through wood, they leave behind very apparent grooves. These grooves can be long, curly, or appear to meander around aimlessly. This is a telltale sign that termites are in your home, or were in the past. A pest control technician should be consulted to check for an active infestation.
When you have subterranean termites, they can eat the subfloor of your home. This can cause “blisters” in the wood flooring throughout your home that can appear as if water damage has taken place. If you notice blisters but haven’t experienced plumbing issues, termites could be to blame.
Subterranean termites nest underground, so they need a safe way to access their food (i.e. your home). They do this by building small tubes of mud where the ground meets your home. Mud tubes can be about as thick and long as a pencil, although they may curve or branch off as well.
Drywood termites nest in wood and tunnel their way through it creating small holes that they use to remove their droppings (even pests don't like poop). The excrement is essentially wood that will accumulate in small mounds of pellets that resemble sawdust or coffee grounds.
Termites are considered to be among the most destructive pests in the world. Sometimes mistaken for certain types of ants, termites are insects that feed on wood, and they don't discriminate about where it comes from. They will eat a decaying log in the forest just as quickly as they'll eat the wooden support beams of your home.
There are approximately 50 species of termites that terrorize homes in the United States, including:
Typically found in the Northwestern and Southeastern US
Typically found near coastal areas in Southern/Southwestern states
Found everywhere in the US and live in nests underground
Nearly all plant matter – including wood – contains a compound called cellulose. This compound gives plants their structure, but it is made up of sugar molecules. Without going into too much detail, termites can break down cellulose into simple sugars, thanks to microorganisms in their digestive systems. Both the termite and the microorganisms within it use these simple sugars as food.
There are 40+ species of termites in the US, but most share similar traits: They are typically white to light brown in color, measure between a quarter to half an inch in length, and have straight antennae. Like ants, individual termites have different roles in their colonies, so some appear different due of these roles. Consequently, some termites from the same colony are larger than the others, appear darker in color, or have wings.
Are far as the U.S. is concerned, the only place where termites are not found is Alaska. They tend to thrive in warmer climates, so they may be more commonly found in states throughout the Southern and Southwestern United States. When it comes to your home, termites can be found wherever they can find that cellulose they love. This means infestations can occur wherever there is wood or even drywall in your house.
Winged carpenter ants are often confused with termites because they do look similar. However, there are some key differences to be aware of:
Carpenter ants have a narrow, pinched waist but termites have a wider waist
Carpenter ants have unequal length wings, while termites have wings of equal length
Carpenter ants have elbowed antennae; termites have antennae that are straight
Carpenter ants are black in color, but termites are a cream or golden brown color
Most treatments will take about a day to complete, although very large properties or complicated termite infestations may take longer to address. When properly applied, treatment can be effective for several years.
Yes. Just because you haven’t seen them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. They may be beneath your floors, in your walls, or a place in your home that you can’t easily access. Getting treatment also prevents them from moving in.
If you want to reduce the risk of a termite infestation, there are a few things you can do. For one, stack firewood, lumber, and other building materials that may contain cellulose away from your home. You should also address drainage issues around your foundation because, like all living things, termites need water and will nest near a water source.
You should have your property regularly inspected and treated by a professional pest control technician who can provide further advice and guidance on how to prevent termite infestations.
It’s unlikely for termites to move from house to house, but not impossible. Consider how small termites are and how much space there is between your home and your neighbors. That said, it’s important to remove wood mulch, lumber, dead wood, and other cellulose-laden obstacles between you and your neighbor’s property. Termites may gradually move as they find new sources of food. If you leave a trail of wood to your house, they might just move in! As with preventing any infestation, however, you should also get your home inspected and sprayed to guard against any possible infestation.
If you suspect you might have termites, or simply have some questions, feel free to give Miss Phoebe's a call or send us a message.