ABOUT TERMITES



Termites, frequently called the "silent destroyers" by pest control technicians, cause major problems for property owners. They work in places that people rarely go, leaving behind clues to their presence that only a trained technician recognizes. This tendency enables termites to cause thousands of dollars in structural damage every year.

The eastern subterranean termite is the most often discovered termite species in Bensalem and throughout the Northeast. Colonies may have several thousand members, many of which are focused on finding food. Unfortunately, that food takes the form of structural components in houses, offices and other buildings. Identifying this infestation and getting prompt treatment are the key components to minimizing the damage.

APPEARANCE



Eastern subterranean termites live in large colonies. Each member has a specific role to fulfill, and their appearance varies depending upon this role. Workers are probably the most frequently seen. They are a cream color and only measure about one-quarter of an inch in length. Their thick waists and straight antennae may help to identify them from other, rarer termite species. Soldiers are a similar color, but their heads are brown and they have more prominent jaws. In the spring, people may see brown or black flying termites equipped with two pairs of wings. Known as swarmers, these colony members are reproductives and may establish new colonies.

DIET



Subterranean termites depend upon cellulose for sustenance. Cellulose is a common ingredient in plants, trees and other vegetation. It also may be found in fabrics and paper. Since all of these items may be located in or around human habitations, it follows that buildings are always vulnerable to termite infestations. Termites may feed on structural support beams, fences, decks, siding, drywall, furniture, clothing, linens and books.

HABITATS



As their name suggests, subterranean termites thrive underground. This guarantees higher humidity, an essential for termite health. Loose soil that is perpetually damp is the ideal place for termites to establish a colony. Accordingly, colonies may be located outside of structures where the termites are feeding. Tunnels are constructed from the nest to the building to provide the termites with a safe means of travel between the locations. A single colony may have as many as one million members, representing a voracious appetite for food. Without prompt extermination, massive damage may be caused.

PROBLEMS WITH TERMITES



The climate found throughout the region provides near-ideal conditions for termites year round. Accordingly, termite problems encountered by homes and businesses in the Bensalem area are particularly common and widespread. Colonies often experience explosive growth that has members searching for new sources of food and establishing satellite colonies. Their search for food leads termites to cause millions of dollars in damage to houses across the U.S. every year. Several thousand dollars can be spent repairing all of the damage after a large infestation.

BEHAVIOR



Termites live in large colonies with thousands of members, all of which communicate using vibrations and pheromones. These communication techniques help termites to undertake concerted efforts to locate and exploit food sources. This is how a single termite can lead thousands of colony members to one specific property where they have found food.

Termites avoid interaction with virtually every other species by remaining underground for most of their lives. The one, highly visible exception to this is in the spring when swarmers appear. Successful mating pairs may go on to establish a new colony, sometimes quite close to the existing one.

HEALTH ISSUES



Termites are not known to carry or transmit any illnesses to people. However, their tunneling behavior may prove to be problematic for people with respiratory concerns such as allergies or asthma. As they burrow into wood or other cellulose-containing items, termites leave behind small piles of dust. These particles can be swept up by heating, cooling and ventilation systems where they are released into the air. In households where there are known respiratory concerns, swift action should be taken to eliminate a termite infestation.

SIGNS OF A TERMITE INFESTATION



Evidence of a termite presence include the following signs:

• Water damage where no leak is identified
• Swarms of flying insects seen just outside or inside buildings in the spring
• Wings littering the ground or floors after a swarm
• Signs of small tunnels around foundations
• Shelter tubes climbing the sides of foundations
• Walls, floors and ceilings that are buckling or uneven
• Mold and mildew odors that do not have a known source

PREVENTION TIPS



To help avoid termite issues the following precautions should be taken:

• Do not allow standing water to collect anywhere on the property
• Ensure that rainwater is diverted away from the foundation
• Promptly repair all leaks in plumbing and irrigation systems
• Keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris
• Paint, stain or seal all wood used in construction projects
• Remove rotting tree stumps
• Place yard debris piles and woodpiles well away from all structures
• Routinely examine the exterior of buildings for holes or cracks that should be sealed

TERMITE CONTROL



Subterranean termites are an incredibly common pest problem for Bensalem area homes and businesses. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that they are dealing with an infestation until it has been ongoing for months or even a few years. Panic may set in when the first signs of a problem are detected. This may cause people to seek a DIY method to eradicate the infestation.

However, these DIY treatments rarely are effective. Quite often these treatments only kill a few members of the colony while the vast majority of its population continues to feed on the structure. Additionally, proper termite eradication is time-consuming, labor-intensive and typically requires equipment most home and business owners do not have on hand.

Professional termite control is different. A trained technician will conduct a thorough inspection to identify that eastern subterranean termites are the problem. Then, they propose proven, scientifically tested methods for exterminating the population along with subsequent inspections. Combined, these measures can help property owners to live pest free for years to come.

When termites are suspected, the best course of action is to call in the experts at SafeGuard Pest Control. Our technicians are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and are certified Termidor exterminators.

As certified Termidor® exterminators, our technicians are skilled and trained in applying this and other products known for effective termite control, by infecting and killing termites as they come in contact with the termiticide and then spread it to other members within the colony.

For nearly 30 years, SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC has been assisting Bensalem area homes and businesses with all of their termite eradication and prevention needs.

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TERMITES FACT SHEET

FREQUENTLY ASKED TERMITE CONTROL QUESTIONS

 

CAN TERMITES FLY?

CAN TERMITES FLY?

Yes, termites can fly, but only certain members of the colony do so. In fact, it is the flying termites that often provide the first sign of an infestation.

Flying termites are frequently referred to as "swarmers." Individuals generally measure between one-quarter and three-eighths of an inch in length and may be brown, black or even a lighter color. Each individual is equipped with four wings.

Termite "swarmers" are reproductive termites. Males and females emerge from an existing termite colony, typically in the spring. They fly up to mate before heading out to establish new colonies. Hundreds of such individuals may emerge from the nest in any given year. New colonies may be established relatively close to the existing one, multiplying the problems for the property owner.

Only mature colonies produce reproductive members. Generally, a colony must have been established for between three and six years before a swarm occurs. This means that the termite workers have had considerable time to damage the wood in the structure. By the time a swarm emerges, extensive termite control and costly repairs may already be required.

WHAT DO TERMITES LOOK LIKE?

WHAT DO TERMITES LOOK LIKE?

A termite's appearance depends upon its species and the role that it plays within the overall colony. Because the majority of termites spend their entire lives underground, people do not see them often. This is one of the things that leads to confusion and misidentification.

Locally, the subterranean termite is the dominant termite species. The colony's workers build and maintain the nest and the mud tubes that they use to move from place to place. Worker termites have white or cream-colored bodies with round heads and straight antennae. They are smaller than soldiers and the colony's queen and king at approximately one-quarter inch.

Soldiers are similar in color to the workers, but their heads tend to be darker. Moreover, they are equipped with oversized jaws, which enable them to defend the nest.

Reproductive termites, or swarmers, are the only termites that have translucent wings. Their bodies generally are brown or black, though lighter colors are sometimes observed. Adults typically are between one-quarter and one-half of an inch long. Their wings are lost after mating, and this is when the females head out to establish new colonies.

WHY DO SOME TERMITES HAVE WINGS?

WHY DO SOME TERMITES HAVE WINGS?

A termite's physical characteristics depend upon their species and the caste that they occupy within the colony. Workers and soldiers have no reason for wings. Workers are responsible for building the colony's nest and constructing mud tunnels from the nest to a food source. They also bring food back to the colony, none of which activities requires flight.

Soldiers never really leave the colony as it is their primary function to protect the nest. They do not have wings, but are equipped with oversized jaws that are suitable for biting predators instead.

The only caste that has wings are called alates or reproductives. Their function is to fly up out of the nest to mate. Once they have successfully done so, the alates shed their wings before the females venture out to establish a new nest and eventually a new colony.

Frequently, the first intimation people have that their property is infested with termites is a large swarm of winged termites or discovering piles of shed wings just outside a structure.

DO I HAVE TERMITES OR ANTS?

DO I HAVE TERMITES OR ANTS?

Termites and ants are frequently confused for one another. Typically, this happens because there are termites and ants that are both equipped with wings. Confusion also arises because carpenter ants also may cause damage to wooden structures.

Misidentification is only natural since both termite and carpenter ant swarmers emerge at around the same time and in response to the same warm, moist conditions. Fortunately, it is possible to distinguish carpenter ant swarmers from termite swarmers based on their appearance.

Carpenter ant swarmers usually are black, though they may have some red markings. They measure between one-half and five-eighths of an inch and feature a pair of antennae that is bent at 45 degrees. They have translucent wings that are brownish-red.

Termite swarmers tend to be either brown or black, with most of them measuring approximately three-eighths of an inch. Their wings are translucent and much longer than the wings on the carpenter ant. In fact, their wings typically are longer than their bodies.

Scheduling an inspection with a pest control provider is the best way to ensure proper identification.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A TERMITE INFESTATION?

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A TERMITE INFESTATION?

Several signs may suggest that termites are infesting a property. Because this species tends to operate underground and in out-of-the-way spots in human habitations, these infestations can go on for years. Frequently, worker termites are busy consuming wood in basements, crawl spaces and sub-floors where people do not often venture.

This means that a termite swarm may be the first clue that property owners have of an infestation. Unfortunately, new termite colonies do not produce swarms of reproductive termites. It is only mature, well-established colonies that have been in existence for a minimum of three or four years that produce this caste. Accordingly, structural damage to the building may already be substantial.

Swarms of insects flying up immediately outside of a building or even inside a structure is often the first sign of a termite infestation. However, other signs also may be present. These may include:

• Wooden floors that sag or buckle
• Mud tubes running up the outside of the foundation
• The appearance of water damage on the walls or ceilings where there is no water leak
• Bubbling or discolored paint
• Wooden items that show signs of damage along the woodgrain, resulting in a "ribbed" look
• Drywall that displays tiny holes
• Piles of shed wings just outside the structure

ARE TERMITES COVERED BY HOME INSURANCE?

ARE TERMITES COVERED BY HOME INSURANCE?

Most homeowner's insurance policies do not cover termite damage, nor do they provide reimbursement for termite removal. Essentially, insurers believe that a termite infestation can be avoided with proper home maintenance, which means that they cannot be held responsible for compensating the homeowner.

On the other hand, there is a possibility that an insurance company will cover certain pest-related damage. For instance, if termites gnawed through wiring in the home and caused an electrical fire, the damage caused by the blaze may be covered by insurance. It is necessary to review the policy and contact the insurance agent to determine whether or not such a claim would be permitted.

Instead of relying on insurance to pay for termite damage, it is preferable to avoid an infestation in the first place. Typically, this involves taking steps such as:

• Diverting water away from foundations
• Identifying and repairing water leaks immediately
• Removing rotting stumps and fallen trees from the property
• Preventing wood on any structure from contacting the soil.

HOW DO EXTERMINATORS CONTROL TERMITES?

HOW DO EXTERMINATORS CONTROL TERMITES?

DIY termite control rarely works. Typically, it only allows the colony more time to cause damage to the home. Hiring a professional exterminator means that effective termite treatment can begin at once. This may minimize the amount of damage that these pests cause.

Exterminators may use several methods to rid a property of a termite infestation. The ultimate goal is the destruction of the nest, as this is the only way to truly end the problem. These treatment methods work because exterminators understand termite biology and construction principles, enabling them to find pests wherever they hide.

Chemical treatments are most frequently used to treat termite infestations. Each of these chemicals must receive approval from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, before it can be legally used in the U.S.

Once a chemical has cleared the EPA's testing, the product is registered or licensed to be used by professionals within the instructions on the label. Such products typically are referred to as termiticides.

Frequently, these termiticides are in liquid form, and they may be applied to form a chemical barrier around the property. They may either be repellent or non-repellent termiticides. Repellent termiticides are designed to deter termites away from buildings. These chemicals may be applied to the structure when it is being built or when the technician needs to quickly control an infestation of subterranean termites.

Non-repellent termiticides do not keep termites away. In fact, termites generally are not able to sense the presence of these chemicals. Non-repellent or non-detectable products such as Termidor, will allow the termites to come into contact with the termiticide and will then inevitably spread throughout the colony.

Depending upon the situation, effective elimination of a subterranean termite infestation may require an interior and exterior treatment.

Interior Termite Treatment

The purpose behind the indoor or interior termite treatment is to treat the infestation directly.  This will typically require drilling into the drywall where the termiticide is then applied to wall voids or that of the infected wood where termite colonies are located.

Exterior Termite Treatment

Where subterranean are involved, interior treatments are followed by outdoor or exterior termite treatments which typically consist of treating the soil.  This consists of using a pick or shovel to create a small trench around the exterior perimeter of the structure. The liquid termiticide is then poured into the trench. In some instances, drilling is required. This technique may be used around floating slabs, porches, patios or concrete expansions. A hammer drill with a carbide-coated drill tip is used to create a hole into which liquid termiticide may be poured.

A termite control project can be a major undertaking, and its success is often dependent upon having the experience, knowledge, and proper equipment and materials.

HOW MUCH DOES TERMITE CONTROL COST?

HOW MUCH DOES TERMITE CONTROL COST?

Several factors affect how much termite control costs. The first of these is the size of the structure that will receive the treatment. Of course, one of the primary considerations when it comes to price is how extensive the infestation is. When an infestation is fairly recent, the cost to remove the pests may be insignificant. However, an infestation of longer standing will often prove more difficult and time-consuming and therefore cost more to eradicate the population.
cost more to eradicate.

Nationally, the cost for professional subterranean termite eradication can range from $500 to 1,300 or more

The only way to know for sure how much a termite control job will cost is to get an actual estimate. The termite control provider will physically inspect the property in order determine whether or not a termite infestation is actually occurring. From there, the exterminator can provide treatment options and estimates.

 
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