What You Should Know About Termites

What kind of damage do they do?
Termite Control - Frequently Asked Questions

Termites are a pest. And a costly one at that. They cause more damage each year than all natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes and storms combined. They are everywhere - an acre can hold an average of 13 to 14 colonies and only need a gap of 1/64th of an inch to penetrate your home. Termites continuously forage for food throughout your yard 365 days per year. Because termites cannot distinguish between a fallen tree and wood in your home you are always at risk. Worst of all, homeowners insurance does not cover you for termite damage. So why put off having your home inspected? At Brandon, we can help protect your most valuable asset - your home.

How can I tell if I have a termite infestation and what are the signs of damage associated with termites?
Termites feed on cellulose in wood and paper products such as books, cardboard, and various other items. Termite damage in homes is usually not obvious until significant damage has occurred. Sometimes homeowners first notice termites when they swarm. Swarmers are "winged reproductives" that leave the colony in a swarm to mate, reproduce, and start new colonies. Yet, it's the worker termites - small, creamy white insects that are seldom seen -- that are the most numerous and the cause most of all the termite damage. There are many species of termites that can infest homes under a variety of conditions. Subterranean termites, the most common type, build nests in the ground and often construct mud tubes on structures. They use the mud tubes as passageways to explore for food and travel to and from the soil. If you suspect that you have a termite infestation, you should have your home thoroughly inspected by a termite specialist. Professional termite inspectors are trained to locate specific areas in your home where a termite attack is most likely to occur. If termites are found, the specialist can design a treatment plan to control current infestations and to protect your home from future infestations.
What can I do to make my home less susceptible to termites?

There are several things you can do to help make your home less susceptible to termites:

  • Look for excessive moisture in and around your home especially in basements and crawl spaces. Termites require moisture to successfully live and breed in structures. Reducing moisture problems in and around your home will decrease the likelihood of termite attack. Repair leaking pipes, water lines and fixtures that may wet any wooden parts of your home.
  • Stack firewood, lumber and other wooden items several feet away from your home and plant flowerbeds and other frequently watered ornamentals as far away from the perimeter of your house as possible.
  • Ideally, wood-containing mulches should be placed at least one foot away from the foundation of your home. Wood used in decks and porches should be pressure treated.
  • Outdoor lights with white bulbs may attract night swarming termites, especially in the spring. Try replacing white bulbs with yellow or pale amber.
Can termites be controlled without using pesticides?

Most active termite infestations require some type of chemical treatment. Reducing conducive conditions (such as repairing moisture and ventilation problems) will help reduce infestations of some termite populations, but these changes will not provide control. To eliminate the egg-laying queen and other reproductives, termiticides are used that contain slow acting poisons or growth regulators. These chemicals are carried in food that is eaten by termite workers and later fed to the queen and other members of their colony. To completely eliminate a colony, the queen and all other reproductives must be eliminated or sterilized. Non-chemical treatments, such as heat, cold, fungal pathogens, or microwaves treatments, have been developed to successfully treat dry wood termites. Because there are many types of termites that infest structures, you should consult a professional pest management firm that can tell you what type of termites you have and advise you on appropriate treatment options.

How long does it take to get rid of termites?

Depending on the situation it can take a few hours to several years to control a termite problem. The construction of your home, the area and extent of infestation, the species of termite infesting your home as well as the treatment method you select, are some of the factors that have an affect on how quickly termites can be eliminated from your home. If more than one colony exists in any given area, or if you live in an area where well-established colonies exist, it can take more time to gain adequate control.

How long does a typical subterranean termite treatment, applied by a professional pest management company, maintain its effectiveness?

There are many factors that can affect the longevity of the various termite treatments applied today including the type of treatment performed, environmental conditions, type and pH of your soil, or physical disruption of the treatment site. Ideally, treatments can last for several years. Some treatments and infested areas must be monitored regularly to make sure active infestations are being effectively controlled. Soil and wood treatments may be disrupted if the treated soil or wood has been displaced through construction, gardening or otherwise. In this case, these areas may need to be retreated.

If you believe you have termites, or they have been seen swarming in your neighborhood, we seriously recommend you hire a pest management professional to treat any termite problems you may be faced with. Brandon Pest Control offers you an effective program to control, manage or eliminate termite problems from your home while protecting the safety of you, your family and your pets.

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