Termite Prevention and Identification Tips

termite preventionKnown as the “silent destroyer” due to their secretive hiding and thriving in homes without signs of immediate damage, termites can prove to be a huge problem in the pest world. That being said, prevention is tough! All homes, regardless of their construction type, can be a feeding ground for a termite infestation.

So, how do we identify termites?

Termites exist in four different types:

Dampwood Termite: Several types of dampwood termites exist in the United States. They are larger than other termites, and they are not limited to one specific area. In fact, dampwood termites are commonly seen throughout the entire United States. Dampwood termites prefer to invade decaying wood that is on the ground, and rarely colonize in soil.

Drywood Termite: Drywood termites create colonies in wood, with no connection to the ground necessary. As the name suggests, drywood termites need little moisture and are often found in household attics. Look out for fecal pellets called frass. Termites kick these out of their tunnel and can be spotted by the naked eye. They are a distinctive indicator of a drywood termite infestation.

Formosan Termite: Typically seen in the southern parts of the US, formosan termites are a subterranean termite that nest within soil. They invade homes and structures from the soil directly through wood to ground contact. Formosan termite colonies can produce over 1,000 eggs a day (yikes!), so watch out!

Subterranean Termite: Light-colored and wingless, subterranean termites live in underground colonies. They build tunnels (called mud tubes) in search for food above ground. With a diet consisting of wood and cellulose material, subterranean termites thrive in warm temperatures and heavy rainfall.

Termite Warnings and Signs to Look out For:

  • A swarm of winged insects inside or around the outside of your home
  • Wood that sounds hollow when knocked or tapped
  • Cracked or bubbling paint (these could be a sign of termite droppings)
  • Discarded wings around the home without explanation

What can you do to protect your home?

Small steps make a big difference in termite prevention. Start by eliminating moisture conditions around your home. Keep all vents clear and open, seal entry points (especially around water or utility lines) and keep gutters and spouts clean.

Photo credit: berniedup via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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