Few pest infestations are as alarming as those that involve termites. With their ravenous appetite for cellulose, termites are a destructive species, and their presence frequently goes undetected for months or years.
This is because the most common termite species in Bucks County is the subterranean termite. Typically, they enter a building through its foundation, allowing them to remain beneath the notice of most property owners. The termites forage for food within the structure, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.
Estimates suggest that of all termite species, it is the subterranean termite that accounts for approximately 95 percent of all termite damage in the U.S. Infestations can grow quickly, forcing property owners to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs.
It is wise to address termites quickly and in the most efficient manner possible. With an inspection and treatment performed by a pest management professional, it is possible to stop the destruction and prevent infestations from happening again.
The vast majority of the subterranean termite population spends their life cycle underground. This makes them particularly difficult to identify. Fortunately, exterminators know precisely where to look to find this species.
The workers are tiny at approximately 1/8" long. A creamy-white color, they use mud tunnels to travel from their nest to a food source. As is suitable for their responsibilities, termite soldiers are about twice the size of workers. Their coloration is similar, though their heads are yellowish. Additionally, their jaws are oversized, providing them with the means to protect the nest.
Termite swarmers are the colony members that are most likely to be seen in the open. Every spring, they use their wings to fly up out of the nest. Frequently mistaken for flying ants, these swarmers usually are brown or black. They are the largest colony members, measuring from 3/8" to 1/2".
Termites live in underground nests that are strategically placed within reach of a food source. This may mean that the nest is located close to a fallen tree or a rotting stump. In other situations, termites find a ready source of food in human habitations. Accordingly, they may establish a nest that is close to the foundation of a building.
Because termites quickly dry out when exposed to the open air, they use mud tunnels to travel from the nest to the foundation of the building where they are feeding. An exterminator recognizes these signs, enabling him to eliminate the nest as well as the worker termites that may be occupying the structure.
As their name suggests, eastern subterranean termites require an underground nest to survive. Exposure to outdoor elements like the sun and wind can be damaging, which is why termites are so infrequently seen in yards and gardens. They spend their time either in their underground nest or traversing the mud tunnels that connect them to their food source.
In the wild, termites may construct their nest close to a tree stump or a rotting log so that it is easier to bring food back to the colony. However, the species frequently is attracted to human habitations. This is because they discover wood that is untreated, rotting or damaged by water. These are the conditions that termites prefer for food sources, so a colony may become established close to a foundation, a yard debris pile or a woodpile.
PROBLEMS WITH TERMITES
The majority of termite activity occurs in dark, out-of-the-way places to which people infrequently venture. This provides termites with uninterrupted opportunities to feed on support joists, siding, sheetrock, flooring and the wooden frame of the structure. A well-established, long-standing infestation can damage these components so severely that they must be replaced. These repairs can cost thousands of dollars and require several weeks of disruptive work.
Even with a small, new infestation, the damage can be serious and require immediate attention. Swift action is always recommended when a termite infestation is suspected.
Encounters between property owners and termites are rare. This is mainly attributable to the termite's subterranean habits. Nonetheless, a person who accidentally unearths a termite nest may be bitten by the soldiers, who can behave aggressively.
Termites are not known to transmit any illnesses to people. Bites are rare, and when they do occur, they are only momentarily painful. Nonetheless, termites are a health threat. This is because they leave behind copious amounts of sawdust as they forage for food. Consisting of tiny particles, this sawdust is picked up by heating, cooling and ventilation systems where it is redistributed throughout the system. This has a negative impact on indoor air quality. While people with allergies and asthma are most likely to be affected, even people without these conditions may notice unusual congestion and other breathing difficulties.
SIGNS OF A TERMITE INFESTATION
Termite control may be necessary if the following signs are present:
• Floors or ceilings that buckle
• Paint that bubbles away from walls
• Mud tunnels on foundations
• An increase in breathing difficulties and congestion
• Piles of droppings that look like tiny wooden pellets
• Small piles of sawdust
Termite problems may be avoided by implementing the following preventative measures:
• Remove any damaged or rotting wood from the property
• Fix plumbing and irrigation leaks as soon as they are discovered
• Paint, stain or treat all wood used on the property
• Keep woodpiles and yard debris piles well away from any structures
• Regularly inspect foundations for mud tunnels
• Do not place mulch within one-and-a-half feet of foundations
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 Bucks County area homes and businesses with all of their termite eradication and prevention needs.