The subterranean termite is a serious threat to the structural integrity of buildings in Levittown. Each year, these pests cause thousands of dollars in damage. Unfortunately, their presence frequently goes undetected for months or years, allowing for widespread destruction.
While termites do their work underground and in places like crawlspaces and basements, well-trained pest management technicians are able to identify the subtle indications of an infestation. This makes early treatment possible, thereby minimizing the amount of damage that termites can cause.
Eastern subterranean termite colonies may be massive. Sustaining the population requires members to fulfill specific roles. It is possible to identify an individual's role within the colony from their appearance.
The most frequently seen colony members are the reproductives. Sometimes referred to as "swarmers," these flying termites emerge in the spring. Typically black or brown, swarmers generally measure between 3/8" and 1/2".
Workers are creamy white, do not have wings and are much smaller than swarmers. Most adults only measure about one-eighth of an inch. Soldiers may be up to one-quarter of an inch in length. Their coloration is similar to that of workers, but they are distinguished by having more prominent jaws and yellow heads.
The main component of the termite's diet is cellulose. Found in wood and plants, cellulose is present in large quantities in manmade structures. In addition to wooden siding and wooden roof shingles, cellulose may be found in sheetrock, paper and fabric. In particular, termites are attracted to damp conditions, so if they can find cellulose-containing items that are damp, a full-blown infestation is likely to ensue.
Eastern subterranean termites cannot tolerate being exposed to the sun and wind. This dries them out, whereas an underground life provides them with the hydration they need to survive. Accordingly, termites create massive underground nests that provide them with the perfect conditions. These nests are built close to food sources, like homes and office buildings, and the worker termites will construct mud tunnels to convey them from the nest to the food source.
Nests may be established close to a building's foundations or near a rotting tree stump. If a woodpile or yard debris pile is located on the property, this may provide another likely nesting site.
PROBLEMS WITH TERMITES
A thriving termite colony contains tens of millions of members. All of these individuals require cellulose to survive. With an unending appetite to satisfy, worker termites must scavenge around the clock. Sometimes, they use relatively harmless, beneficial food sources like tree stumps and fallen logs.
At other times, they find a vulnerable building to exploit. This may mean a property that has standing water or a plumbing or irrigation leak. Such wet conditions make it easier for termites to gain an entrance into structures. A dark, damp space is ideal for them, so they typically seek places like crawlspaces and basements. Nonetheless, roofs and attics also may be vulnerable, and infestations also have been discovered in both indoor and outdoor furniture and in decks.
Once they find a food source, termites ruthlessly exploit it. While they may leave an outer surface relatively unscathed, they hollow out the interior. This leaves the item, such as a support beam, structurally unsound. Repair and replacement are necessary. Depending upon the extent of the damage, considerable repairs may be required.
Biological restrictions require that termites spend the majority of their life cycle underground. Consequently, sightings are rare. The exception to this occurs in the spring or early summer when swarmers emerge to mate and establish new colonies. This behavior typically is exhibited by mature colonies that have been established for more than one season.
Unfortunately, swarmers being sighted outside, or even inside, a structure often is the first sign that property owners have that an infestation is underway.
Workers are rarely seen but always active. They build the nest itself and the mud tunnels that connect it to a food source. Further, they are responsible for transporting food back to the nest. It is the job of the soldiers to protect the nest, a duty which means that they also are rarely seen.
Most people are aware that termites can be destructive to property. Fewer people realize that termites also may pose a health threat. Termite bites hardly ever happen, and this species is not known to transmit illnesses to people. Nonetheless, their vigorous tunneling activity releases countless tiny particles into the air. These particles may be picked up and distributed by heating and cooling systems, where they are then dispersed into the breathable air inside the structure.
Accordingly, people may notice an uptick in allergy symptoms while a termite infestation is active. Individuals who have asthma or other respiratory ailments are particularly susceptible. Their symptoms may rise to a dangerous level while the infestation persists.
SIGNS OF A TERMITE INFESTATION
Signs that may indicate a termite control problem include:
• Swarms of flying termites seen just outside or even inside a building
• Piles of wings that have been shed near foundations or on floors
• Mud tunnels seen on or close to foundations
• Termite droppings, also called frass, located close to or within structures
• Walls that appear to bow
• Floors that show signs of sagging or buckling
• Hearing hollow sounds when tapping on walls
To help protect against termites the following precautions should be taken:
• Prevent wood on structures from contacting the soil
• Eliminate areas on the property that collect water or are perpetually wet
• Repair water leaks as soon as they are discovered
• Use only wood that is painted, stained or pressure-treated on the property
• Seal or cover up all openings and cracks in building exteriors
• Place yard debris piles and woodpiles well away from structures
• Keep downspouts and gutters clear
• Completely remove tree stumps when taking out trees
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 Croydon area homes and businesses with all of their termite eradication and prevention needs.