Category Archives for "Termites"

Do I Need Termite Protection? Termite Protection Plans Recommendations

Do you need termite protection? Well, who doesn’t? Termite infestations are a serious nuisance and a dangerous phenomenon in the world. These annoying insects invade a house and make sure they won’t leave until they ruin the entire structure.

From Drywood termites to Dampwood termites and also Formosan termites, the danger of termites is the same.

If you live near to a colony of termites, it presents a serious threat to your property. Especially if you are a homeowner, you would care for everything in your house ranging from the basement to the garden, and finding a termite colony would not satisfy you.

People nowadays think that modern buildings are resistant to termites. Well, they are wrong. As long as there is wood and humidity, nothing is resistant to termites.

Therefore you should beware and protect yourself from such nuisance.

Why should be concerned about termites?

Termites feed on cellulose-based substances such as wood, paper, dirt… And if you are living in North America, then your house is almost completely made by wood. Therefore, termites are a serious threat to your house.

There are many types of termites that could infest your property and we are citing them from the least to the most dangerous:

  • Dampwood termites: as it is called, this particular kind of termites likes to live in the “damp wood” as they have a necessary need of moisture and cool air. Damp wood is a wet material which allows to Dampwood termites to build their nests and form a massive colony.

This type of termites is considered the least dangerous because they don’t have a fast destructive behavior as others.

Dampwood termites are usually found in cold areas in U.S.A such as Northern U.S.A.

  • Subterranean termites: these termites like to live in the soil and build their nests, usually underneath wooded areas such as your basement or your garden plants.

Subterranean termites build mud tubes on the walls starting from the ground to reach their food source. These mud tubes are made of wet soil and fecal pellets.

This type of termites is more likely to live in hot weather as the soil provides all the necessary moisture and the perfect conditions they need.

Subterranean termites are found almost in the whole US but most spread in the south.

  • Drywood termites: when it comes to Drywood termites, everybody has a story to tell. This type of termites has infested almost all the houses of the US and still causing damage until now. It is probably the most commonly known species in North America and it is known by its ability to live in dry wood and in hot temperate areas. It always infests walls and house structures. Thanks to their ability to fit in the ambient conditions with no special need to high level of moistures, we can say they are the most expanded termites especially in the southern regions of U.S.A.

Drywood termites form several colonies and have a fast ability of reproduction, which is why their infestation is the worst pest that could happen to a property. And their treatment is hard.

  • Formosan termites: similar to subterranean termites, Formosan termites just have a more destructive behavior. That’s why this kind is considered as the most dangerous termites in the U.S.A and North America in general.

A single colony of Formosan termites can reach a million individuals in just 1 year and this colony has the ability to ingest 13 ounces of wood daily (400 grams) and, then they can ruin a whole house structure in few months.

Formosan termites are commonly found in the coastal southern regions of the U.S.A.

As the estimated cost of damage caused by these few species of termites is up to $5 billion for the U.S government, then you – as individual in the U.S society – you must worry about termites and fight against them.

Consequences of Termite Infestations

In order to make you worry about termites and know the damage they are able to cause, here we are providing you with some fatal consequences of termite infestations:

  • Wood damage: these insects have the ability to damage a large amount of wood in few days. They generally infest wood furniture, wooded walls, or wooded house structures causing cracks and holes in the exterior of wood. They can also be accompanied with a wet spot presenting the exact location of the colony.
  • Structure damage: as they can damage the structure of your house, some homeowners have admitted that their house fell due to termite infestations proving evidence how these termites can cause catastrophic damage to your property.
  • Plant damage: termites are also able to invade your backyard if there is any firewood or decayed wood. Subterranean termites are most likely to infest your garden because of the wet soil and they will mud tunnels that reach trees, then they will damage your trees and flowers as well as other types of termites which don’t have a problem with infesting any type of areas as long as there is enough cellulose to form a massive huge colony.

Termite Prevention

As termite infestations are dangerous and you are convinced with the danger they will put you in, you may be looking for some ways to prevent termites. Prevention is better than cure, and you need to protect your house before termites dare and gain entry to it.

  • Keep inspecting your property regularly; maybe you can stop a termite infestation before it expands.
  • Keep termite attractors such as firewood, mulch, debris… out of sight and away from the house.
  • Check your water tubes and pipes, there might be a leak which provides a wet environment for subterranean termites.
  • Keep dead trees or tree stumps away from the house.
  • Remove all climbing plants against walls as they can present perfect nests to some termites which will infest walls.
  • Keep your trees and plants well-trimmed.
  • Reduce humidity and moisture by ventilating closed wet areas such as the basement or the attic.
  • Use chemical barriers if necessary. These barriers contain chemical substances which are repellent for termites. Some physical barriers could also be useful.

Learn the Differences Between Flying Ants & Flying Termites

Flying ants and flying termites can look very much alike, but knowing the difference between flying ants and flying termites is important. When you correctly identify the pest that you have, you will be one step closer to getting rid of your problem.

Looks

Look closely at the pest you have on hand; While the two have similar wings, flying ants actually have a larger pair of wings in the front than they do in the back. The wings on the termite are actually longer than their bodies. Flying ants have wings that are more proportionate to their body size. This type of ant will actually shed its wings once they swarm.

 

When checking out their antennae, notice that termites have antennae that are straight. Flying ants have antennae that are bent.

Flying ants have a thin waist (making them appear segmented) but termites have a broad waist, making their entire bodies uniform.

Termite Swarming vs. Ant Swarming

Flying termites tend to swarm in the early spring; they like weather that is warm and rainy. Flying ants, on the other hand, can swarm at different times of the year: they have no set pattern. Again, after they have swarmed, they lose their wings.

Preventing Termites

To really protect your home from termites, start with some prevention tips. Get rid of moisture: repair leaky pipes and faucets. If your air condition leaks, fix it! Make sure to divert water away from the foundation of your home.

Keep your gutters clean of debris and don’t use wood mulch in your yard or garden if you can help it. If you have a fireplace, do not keep a stockpile of firewood near your home’s foundation. You know termites love wood, so why entice them? And if you have dead shrubs or trees on your property, remove them immediately.

Eliminating Termites

If you do end up with termites, those awful things that can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home, you can call a professional to get rid of them, or you can try some do-it-yourself tricks.

When you first see flying termites outside your home, invest in a bug zapper. Flying insecticide spray works, too.

If you see an active colony on your property, you have to attack the colony. Simply getting them in the air won’t do it. Sprays and traps that are dedicated to termites are your best bet. Once you see the colony, use insecticide spray all the way around your home’s foundation. A baiting system will starve the colony, so you can place baiting stations all around your home, spacing them out about a foot.

Preventing Flying Ants

Flying ants love food! To prevent them, simply get rid of food waste. Don’t leave food lying around; deal with leftovers immediately, keep your counters free of crumbs, lock your food up tightly, and take out the garbage right away if you have food waste in it (or find a secure garbage can).

Eliminating Flying Ants

If you have seen flying ants in or around your home, you must first locate the nest. They may be coming in from the outside, and you will most likely find their nest outdoors. Once you find it, pour boiling water down it or use a spray that is designed for flying ants. If the nest is indoors, bait is the perfect solution. Place bait stations around your home.

If there is no nest in your house, make sure to seal up all cracks and crevices around windows and doors, as this is probably how they are entering.

 

Additional Resources for Ant & Termite Identification:

  1. Swarming Indoor Insects – Texas A&M
  2. Differences Between Ants & Termites – Never Pest
  3. Winged Ants & Termites in Houses – Kansas State University Department of Entomology

2 Organic Pest Control Tips for Home & Garden – Safe & Natural Methods

No one wants termites eating away at the wooden structures in their house. They can destroy large portions of your house, particularly in areas like the basement where wooden structures are essential for holding your house in place. Yet a lot of homeowners are not fond of the extermination process, either. Termite control involves spraying chemicals into the soil around a house, treating the area the termites are eating, and perhaps even a whole house fumigation. A complete termite treatment means a lot of potentially hazardous chemicals are being pumped into and around your house.

Organic termite control is an option somewhere between letting the termites digest your house to pieces and hiring an exterminator to perform a full, chemical treatment. “Organic” officially means derived from natural sources. Many people think of organic pesticides as treatments that are safe to use around people and pets or products that naturally degrade back into the environment. Organic termite control, by this definition, would be a pesticidal treatment taken from natural sources that is environmentally friendly as it dissipates.

Organic Termite Control Products

There are very few truly organic termiticides on the market. Some products feature borates as their primary ingredients. Borates are supposed to ward off insects, including termites, in the same way synthetic insecticides do. The problem with borates is they may not stay in the soil as long as the chemical compounds used by exterminators to treat the soil around your house. They are often not as potent as synthetic options.

Neem oil and orange oil are used as deterrents for termites. Both are natural insecticides useful for keeping pests out of the garden and may work for a small termite infestation or one that is just beginning. Neem or orange oil are probably not strong enough to handle a full infestation.

According to Orkin, the best “green” solution to a termite problem may be bait. Termites take the bait, usually cardboard or paper loaded with a mild poison, back to their colony. The other termites eat the bait as food and then die. This is a slower means of extermination than spray but may help you avoid spraying your house or yard at all. Another option is nematodes, a small organism that infects and kills termites. Nematodes can be applied to the opening of a colony with water.

Mother Earth News, which advocates natural prevention methods like keeping wooden house structures out of the soil, looks into the benefits of permethrin over other termite-killing insecticides. It is milder than other chemicals used to defeat a termite colony but seems to work just as well. Permethrin, however, is not organic since it is made from synthetic materials. It may be the next best things for homeowners who want a natural solution since it is safe enough to wash away with water in the case of spills.

The Most Organic Termite Control is Prevention

If you want a truly organic termite control treatment, the best thing you can do is prevent a termite infestation before is begins or deters. This might be difficult in areas with high levels of termite problems, like the southern US, but prevention may at least control a termite issue enough that a product like neem oil is then sufficient to deter the termites.

Some woods are more resistant to termites than others, like some types of walnut and cypress. Using these woods in the construction of your home may deter termites. The very way your house is built can either attract or repel termites; above ground foundation barriers and securing all wood in concrete so it does not touch soil are very helpful to keeping termites at bay. Termites can make the most of even the smallest spaces to jump from the soil to the wood of your house, so proper sealing is essential if you want to avoid an infestation.

When organic or natural solutions are just as or even more effective than chemical pest control solutions, the choice to go organic is rather obvious. In the case of termites, considering the feedback on organic pest control, you need to carefully consider the risks of using a less than effective means of extermination. A severe enough infestation can leave your home significantly damaged– in the interest of protecting your investment, you might need to guard your home with chemicals that are toxic enough to kill of termite though not harmful to people and animals.

The best, natural step you can take toward protecting your house from termites is implementing the prevention methods mentioned above. This can save you a ton of time and money hiring an exterminator and addressing any damage caused by the termites. It may even reduce the severity of an infestation to the point where organic termite control products are sufficient for killing off these stubborn pests.

What do Termites do to Humans? Can they Harm or Bite People?

With a highly evolved soldier caste, termites can do a lot of damage to your home, but will not bite humans. They are equipped to combat invading insects such as ants and other termites but unless they feel threatened by a human there is no reason to bite them. They have the ability to bite but don’t. The overall damage that termites do to humans is the destruction they cause to the structure of their homes. Learn how to recognize them so you will be able to get rid of them.

Learn Termite Characteristics

As they play a vital role in the ecosystem by breaking down rotting wood and other cellulose materials, they also destroy homes that are barely hanging in there. Sometimes they could destroy some strong structures that have a little rotten wood which causes the problem. They help balance nature overall, but in the meantime, they find homes that are being occupied by individuals and are unaware of the damage they have between their walls.

As termites are cryptic insects they can be hard to detect until they have already done a lot of damage to your home. Once you see them flying around then chances are they are needing to spread out and start up another colony. They are made up of royalty, workers, soldiers and non-winged reproductive termites that don’t leave their area where they hide and eat. The winged termites are those that fly to start up a new colony in your walls, ceiling and floors.

Notice the Difference Between Termites & Ants

Termites can often be confused with various types of ants including carpenter ants and drywood ants who eat up wood. Termites are tube-shaped and have four wings of equal size that are shades of white. Ants have two sets of different size wings and are typically brown in color. Carpenter ants, in particular, will enter a home during the Spring time in already built tunnels usually made by termites.

With five different termite groups, you may be able to tell the difference just by looking at them.

    • Dampwood termites – they reach 25mm long and have a large head with mandibles. There are no workers as immature termites will do all of the work. They are brownish in color with light brown wings.
            • Drywood termites – they are whitish in appearance and have a front set of wings that have a pattern of veins. Swarmer drywood termites reach 12mm long and prefer to colonize away from the ground or soil.

            • Formosan termite – these termites prefer to stay in warmer climates and are mostly found in southern parts of the United States including Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. The head of the termite is oblong in shape and they are rather aggressive in comparison to the other types of termites. They will release whitish liquid when disturbed.

            • Subterranean termite – these termites can get as long as 6mm and are extremely small. They are light colored and build mud tunnels within the walls causing even greater damage than other termites.

          • Conehead termites – These dark shaded cone shaped head termites build large wide tunnels and can typically be seen in the open depending on where they choose to build their nest. They like rotting trees and will build an oval shaped ball like nest.


          The difference between these termites will help you determine the possible cause of the termites. For example, if you have a leak in the foundation of your home this could draw dampwood termites while if there is some rotting wood towards the outside of your home then you could attract drywood termites. Calling upon an exterminator to get rid of these termites is your best opportunity to rid your home of these pesty creatures. They can do a lot of damage to the structure of your home and it’s best to get rid of them as soon as you discover you have them.

What is a Termite Bond? What are They Good For & are Bonds Worth the Cost?

You found termite damage to your house, went through the whole process of hiring an exterminator to inspect the damage, then had several treatments to take care of the problem. This shouldn’t be the end of your efforts to eradicate termites from your home, however, since a house with previous termite damage is likely to experience a recurrence of the infestation at some point in the future. People in places like Alabama are fond of saying, “There are two kinds of houses: those with termites and those that will have them.” How can you keep up with extermination costs that potentially recur every year? Look into the benefits of a termite bond.

What is a termite bond? It is a contract or guarantee entered into between a homeowner/business owner and their exterminator. After a building is treated for termites, a bond ensures future inspection and treatment at no cost to the customer beyond the bond renewal fee. Different bonds include different terms, and you should consider carefully the details of the agreement. A few questions to consider when deciding on a termite bond:

  1. Will the cost of the bond amount to less than the expected expenses should reinfestation occur?
  2. Does the bond cover both inspection and full retreatment?
  3. Will the bond cover any damages related to termites causing future damage to the house?
  4. Are you in an area with different kinds of termites? If so, will a bond cover all types of termites returning in the future?
  5. If retreatment is needed and the new infestation is more extensive, will the company cover measures beyond the initial service (i.e. if only liquid is used the first time will they cover fumigation in the future)?

The Basics of Termite Treatment

In order to understand how a termite bond works, you should know the basics of the termite extermination process. The first step is a thorough inspection to determine the type of termite, location of the infestation, and the extent of the damage. All of these factors taken together will determine the method used. A serious infestation will call for fumigation. In fact, a lot of title companies require fumigation before a home with any kind of termite damage is sold to a new owner. Termite fumigation takes about three day to complete.

Most exterminators treat the soil around your house so any current or new colonies trying to enter are killed off before they can make their way in. This may be added to the fumigation process or may be the primary means of addressing your termite problem. These liquid treatments are supposed to last for one to three years. Your exterminator may leave bait behind to address any residual termites left after treatment. The bait is a kind of poison termites find and bring back to their colony, eliminating any remaining insects.

What a Bond May or May Not Cover

The basic termite bond should cover a yearly inspection and, if termites return, future extermination costs. Initial extermination may be as low as $1,500 for a small area and basic treatment, and a large home with a significant problem can cost up to $5,000 to treat. In the first case, a bond fee of $200 per year may not be worth it, especially if you live in an area with infrequent infestations. Wise Geek features a concise article on termite bonds that recommends comparing the annual cost of a bond with the price of re-extermination for your house.

You cannot assume a termite bond will cover any and all damages caused by future infestations. Some bonds are for extermination costs only while others promise to repair a limited amount of damages to your house if the termites return within a certain time frame. The kind of termite in your house can affect the bond as well, says Orkin; if the initial treatment was for one type of termite and another kind re-infests your house, the bond may not apply. This may also be the case if the first time you have an issue in your basement, for example, but the next time find termites on the outside of your foundation.

Transferable Termite Bonds

If you have questions about termites bonds because you are buying or selling a house, look closely at the bond’s transfer limitations. For buyers purchasing a home with a previous termite problem, make sure the bond can and is transferred to you as the new homeowner. This way you are not on the hook for extermination costs that should have been covered by the previous owner. You will, however, need to take on the responsibility of the bond’s annual fees to continue the contract with the exterminator.

As a home seller, you should invest in a bond to increase the chances you will sell a home with termite damages. Homeowners’ insurance does not cover termite damage– a reinfestation too soon after the sale of your house could leave you paying the new homeowners’ extermination bills. Savvy buyers may not even consider buying from you without a bond in place. With a transferable bond, you can hand off the agreement to the new homeowner, they take on the cost of the bond, and you don’t have to worry about the termites coming back to a home you no longer own.

Deciding if a Bond is For You

If you’ve recently had your home exterminated for termites and did not arrange for a bond with your pest control company, you may want to contact them and see if you can still sign an agreement. If you are buying or selling a home with previous termite problem and don’t know have never heard of a termite bond before, definitely educate yourself and make a termite bond part of your home buying or selling process. Just make sure the terms are agreeable to you and the needs of your house.

In answer to the question, “What is a termite bond?” you could say simply it is a contract that guarantees future treatment if termites return. Another way to see it is an added form of insurance that protects the value and condition of your house and other buildings. You will need to decide for yourself if the continuing, nominal cost of a termite bond is worth it; many people who live in areas where termites are a constant problem and go through having to pay for termite extermination once see the value in it.

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