Termites are a big concern and scare to homeowners. Did you know subterranean termites are found in every state across the United States?
They are known to cause billions of dollars of damage a year. Termites are the largest wood destroying pest we have. Here are some facts that can help you be prepared to combat these wood eating insects. Although there are several different kinds of termites, in this article we’ll focus on the subterranean termites.
What is a termite?
Termites are social insects that live in colonies. They will interact with each other through different levels of communication. Each termite colony will have different types of termites or castes. Some of these Termite castes are workers, soldiers, swarmers, King and Queen.
Because termites are more sophisticated than people realize, it can make treating and detecting them additionally difficult.
Termites can look like an ant and are often misidentified as an ant. Here are a few of the differences:
- Ants have three body segments where termites only have two
- Ants have an elbow antennae and termites have straight antennae
- Ants have 2 pairs of wings of unequal length while Termites have 2 pairs of wings of equal length
What do termites eat?
Termites love to eat wood. In nature, termites are great assets. They will eat dead wood and other decaying organic material that contain cellulose. This helps the environment by breaking down dead and decaying materials like trees and shrubs.
Subterranean Termites need wood for food to survive. Because our homes are built with wood this attracts termites to homes.
Where do termites live?
Subterranean termites live underneath the ground. This is why they are called subterranean. Termites need moisture from the soil to survive. Without it they will dry up and die.
This specific type of termites will create mud tubes that connect from the ground to their wood or cellulose material. These tubes hold in the humidity and moisture. Mud tubes also act as shelter and protection for the termite colony.
How to treat for termites?
Because termites live underground and are not exposed to regular pest control treatments like spiders and other insects, they can be very difficult to treat.
To be effective you will treat termites differently than the way you treat insects. The soil must be treated well to properly eliminate subterranean termites. There are two main methods professionals will use to treat for termites around your home. Liquid treatments or baiting treatments.
Liquid treatments are more labor intensive and cost the homeowner more money upfront. But the renewal of this warranty will typically be a little bit cheaper.
With the liquid method, you will dig a trench around the home and fill the trench with a termiticide. Then cover the trench back up with the soil creating a barrier of treated soil around the home.
This treatment can stay effective for 5-10 years depending on the soil conditions and products used. The house should be re-inspected each year to make sure the treatment is still effective.
The baiting method is different because instead of treating the soil, bait stations are placed 10-15 feet apart around the home. As the termites come to find entry points in the home they will be attracted to the bait.
By eating the bait it will kill the colony and protect the home. This is usually a less upfront cost, but can be more expensive over 10 years as you will need to have the bait stations checked and parts replaced in the bait stations frequently.
Typically, each year you’ll renew your warranty to protect your property.
Both liquid and bait treatments can be very effective. It is always best to have a professional come out and inspect your property. Since no house is the same, you will want to make sure you have a custom plan made to fit the needs of your home.
If you think you have termites in or around you home, call Arete Pest Control for a free termite inspection!