When termites invade, it can be bad news for Warminster homes and businesses. Acting quickly by contacting a professional exterminator is the best way to minimize the damage that termites cause.
Throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, property owners are most likely to encounter the Eastern subterranean termite. The appearance of this pest varies depending upon the role it plays in the colony.
Reproductive members of the colony are most commonly seen since they leave the nest to mate. They have black bodies and wings that are gray and translucent. They measure only about 10 to 12 mm long.
Worker termites may be spotted if the nest is broken into. They are white, have no wings and are only about half the length of the reproductive termites. The colony's soldiers are close in size to the workers, and they also do not have wings. They are distinguished by their large, yellow heads and oversized mandibles.
Cellulose is a staple food for the termite. As one of the primary building blocks of wood, cellulose is found in stumps and tree limbs as well as in the wood that is used to build homes, offices and industrial buildings. Termites are often referred to as detritivores, which means that they eat detritus, essentially dead plant matter. However, they are also known to eat substances like drywall, plastic and paper.
Eastern subterranean termites are known to prefer soft woods. Nonetheless, hard woods can also fall prey to a determined colony. The termite uses their mouth to tear away bits of wood, and this is why they are capable of causing such extensive damage to structures built by humans.
Typically, termites find homes in fallen trees or stumps, though some colonies seem to prefer building a home in the soil. Called termite mounds, these elaborately constructed installations are riddled with tunnels that allow the occupants to gain easy access to food sources that are found on the surface.
Winged termites, which are the members of the colony that mate and reproduce, are known to be attracted to light sources. They are most active in the spring when they are mating and seeking an appropriate site for a new colony.
PROBLEMS WITH TERMITES
Termites are a major source of concern for property owners in Warminster and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This is because these pests are capable of causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to homes and businesses, sometimes before the owner is even aware that there is a problem. When left untreated, a termite infestation can mean needing to have massive structural repairs completed at considerable cost. Even when the damage is not this extensive, it still represents an enormous headache and expense for the property owner. Vigilance is key to preventing extensive damage before it occurs.
When they do not undermine the structural integrity of buildings, termites actually fulfill an important role in the ecosystem. This is because they helpfully break down dead and decaying wood. Unfortunately, this hallmark of their behavior becomes a massive detriment when termites turn their attention to buildings.
The subterranean termites that are most common to Pennsylvania and New Jersey are extremely cold tolerant. This is what helps them to survive the winter with ease. They live in colonies in the soil that are characterized by complex tunnel systems that provide ready access to the surface and food sources. When they encounter cracks in the foundations of buildings, they may use these to find damp wood to feed on.
Termites have been known to bite and sting humans, but these encounters rarely pose a serious threat. Their bites are not toxic, and termites are not believed to carry any diseases that would harm people. Nonetheless, it is not unheard of for someone with severe allergies or asthma to experience heightened symptoms when a termite infestation is present. This is usually attributable to the dust and other particles that get into heating and ventilation systems as a result of termites feeding on wood and other materials.
SIGNS OF A TERMITE INFESTATION
Termite control may be needed if the following signs of an infestation are spotted:
• Swarms of termites in or around a structure, usually occurring in the spring
• Mud tunnels on walls or near a structure
• Floors or ceilings that feel soft
• Unexplained cracks on interior walls
• Windows and doors that are stuck because of structural problems
• Damaged roof tiles, which can be places for moisture to collect, which attracts termites
• Finding termite droppings in or around a structure
In addition to an annual termite inspection, property owners may help to prevent a termite problem by taking these steps:
• Promptly repair leaks
• Make certain that rainwater is diverted from foundations
• Ensure proper sealing around utility lines and pipes to eliminate access points
• Trim overgrown plants
• Remove excessive wood mulch
• Store firewood well away from structures
• Routinely check decks and fences for termite damage
• Clear away stumps and debris that are close to a structure
• Make certain that outside vents are screened
It is always best to leave termite control to the professionals. These infestations are notoriously difficult to eradicate, and with the extensive structural damage that termites can inflict, it is essential to act quickly. A well-trained termite control technician has the skills, knowledge and tools that are required to do an effective job. When professional pest control services are combined with reliable prevention techniques, it is possible for Warminster-area homes and businesses to protect their property from the damage that termite infestation can cause.