Termites can cause thousands in undetected, non-insurable damage.
All Bensalem property owners dread the threat of a pest infestation, but when they learn that termites are destroying their building, they may feel panic. Termites are nearly as destructive as a natural disaster, costing homeowners thousands of dollars.
Although termite infestations are common, they are not inevitable. Numerous steps may be taken by property owners to keep these pests at bay. Proper yard maintenance, regularly performing repairs to structures, eliminating water leaks and getting rid of wood that is rotting or damaged all contribute to making a property look less attractive to termites.
Perhaps the most critical measure that property owners can take is to schedule regular termite inspections. Performed by a highly qualified technician, an inspection uncovers possible pest problems before much damage can be caused. The benefits include saving hundreds of dollars and enjoying enhanced peace of mind.
In the Bensalem area, most termites are eastern subterranean termites. They favor an underground lifestyle that protects them from the elements. Accordingly, they can be difficult for the average person to identify.
Worker termites are the colony members that must leave the nest to forage for food. At just 1/8" long, they are quite small. They are a creamy white color. Soldiers are a similar color, but they frequently are twice the size of workers. Their size is not the only thing that differentiates soldiers from workers. These colony members also have yellow heads and oversized jaws.
The most visible colony members, at least for a short time in the spring and early fall, are the swarmers. Capable of reproduction, these colony members may be anywhere from 3/8" to ½" long and are brown or black. Unlike other termites, swarmers have wings.
Termite biology requires cellulose to survive. Cellulose is a basic building block of virtually all plants and trees. Accordingly, any wood or paper products in and around buildings contain the cellulose that attracts termites.
Cellulose also may be found in numerous other items. Clothing, bed linens, towels, wallpaper, siding, shingles and drywall are just a few examples. Termites have been known to feed on furniture, doors, wooden curtain rods and hardwood floors. Almost any product that contains cellulose is vulnerable, especially if it is beginning to decay or is frequently damp.
Subterranean termites construct elaborate underground nests that are designed to protect the colony from the elements as well as predators. Typically, the nests are strategically located close to a food source. Large nests in the wild may be found in close proximity to fallen trees or rotting tree stumps.
Yard debris piles, woodpiles, rotting wood, damp wood and dying trees all may attract a termite colony to a human habitation. The nest will be placed close to any of these enticements, and the workers may use mud tunnels to travel from the nest to the food source. Occasionally, the food source will be structural components of a building, leading to widespread damage.
PROBLEMS WITH TERMITES
Termites are an expensive and persistent problem. The species is particularly adept at hiding and avoiding detection. Their habit of living underground and using mud tunnels for travel helps them to escape the casual notice of most people. Moreover, they tend to seek their food in out-of-the-way places like garages, sheds, basements, crawlspaces and attics. People do not go to these places frequently, and this gives the termite colony a chance to completely exploit the available resources.
Accordingly, termites may feed from the same structure for months or years. A particularly large and successful colony may spawn others, and the appetite for cellulose increases. In extreme cases, entire support joists in homes have been all-but hollowed out, requiring replacement. Floors, walls and ceilings may be destroyed. The cost to repair or replace all of these components can easily cost thousands of dollars and disrupt the entire household.
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.
While scientists remain confident that termites do not transmit illnesses to people, they still pose a threat to well-being. As termites tunnel into cellulose-containing components in homes and offices, they leave behind small piles of what is effectively sawdust. These tiny particles frequently are caught up in ventilation or heating systems where they are distributed throughout the building. Whether or not people have asthma, allergies or other respiratory conditions, there may be a marked increase in breathing difficulties while the infestation is underway.
SIGNS OF A TERMITE INFESTATION
Evidence of a termite presence include the following signs:
• Mud tunnels on foundations and exterior walls • Small piles of sawdust in basements and attics or around foundations • Buckling floors or ceilings • Bubbling paint on walls • Increased breathing difficulties • Piles of tiny wood-like pellets that are actually termite droppings
To help avoid termite issues the following precautions should be taken:
• Place woodpiles and yard debris piles well away from structures • Do not allow yard vegetation to be overgrown • Keep mulch at least 18" from foundations • Remove clutter from attics, basements and crawlspaces • Have a pest management company perform regular inspections • Immediately repair water leaks • Use paint, stain or other treatments on all wood
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.