The termite is a destructive and pervasive insect that causes damage to upwards of 2 million homes each year. Of the over 2,600 species of termites found worldwide, 45 of them are found in the United States.
These insects eat cellulose found in decaying wood, cardboard, plant material, and even below grade foam board. Termites can cause irreversible damage to your home well before you become aware of their presence.
The Damage Caused by Termites
Though there are 3 types of termites, it is the subterranean variety that generates the most damage.
These termites hide in dark, damp areas that may be far away from their current “job site.” A colony can situate itself in a yard, crawl space, or up to 12 feet underground, living within tunnels that create a passageway to its work source – which may be your home.
How Termite Colonies are Organized
A colony of subterranean termites is similar to that of an ant colony. It has the same basic structure that includes:
- a queen
- winged reproducers
The reproducer termite would usually be the only one you would see out in the open. The others are busy working or hidden from view.
Identifying Reproducer Termites
At first glance, the reproductive termite may resemble a flying ant. However, there are three basic areas of distinction. The first are the wings. Termites have a set of four wings that are all the same in size and shape. An ant has four wings, but the forward and rear sets are very different.
Second, the body of the termite is a tubular shape, and the ant has a “pinched” waist. Lastly, an ant has a noticeable bend in its antenna and the termite’s is straight.
It is wise to discern these winged termites as a swarm of them, which usually happens once a year in the spring or early summer, because it is an indication that a colony may exist on your property, and, or a new one may be formed.
A swarm may consist of up to thousands of reproductive termites. It usually takes less than a few hours for the termites to swarm, mate, and find a location for the new colony. However, you may never see an actual swarm because an existing colony may take as much as three years to congregate reproductive termites before they go out to establish a new colony.
Signs Your Home May Be Infested with Termites
The termites that infest a home would be hidden in whatever wood that is being consumed as they devour it from the inside. If you knock on a piece of solid wood material and it sounds hollow, it’s a good sign you may have termites.
You may notice sawdust-like remnants, or even tiny pellets of sawdust, that have been left behind. Discarded wings from the reproducer termites are sometimes found. Any of these signs are reason for immediate investigation. All areas that are dark, perhaps decaying, poorly ventilated, or are in contact with moisture are of concern.
Need Help Killing Termites?
Termites have a place in a balanced ecosystem. In some environments they fulfill a vital role in the consumption of decaying plant material and recycling the nutrients back into nature. However, in your home they have a devastating effect.
There are specific steps that you can take to alleviate the potential for a termite infestation, and there are essential remedies that will fight existing colonies.
If you already have damage to your property, you need to choose the best termite protection company that can assist you in ridding your home of these insects and keep replacement material costs to a minimum.
U.S. Pest offers our customers the best possible termite protection available. Give us a call today at (615) 590-1260 to learn more.