For many property owners, termites are what nightmares are made of. With termite damage costing the US billions of dollars of damage per year, it’s no wonder people are so afraid of these small but destructive pests. If you’re worried that your home might be infested with termites or you fear a future infestation, now is the time to act!
Termites are incredibly skilled at staying hidden. Termites have incredible survival instincts and know to stay underground or out of sight at all times. This can make it incredibly difficult to detect a termite infestation.
However, when termites infest your home, there are numerous warning signs you can look out for, including:
- Discolored drywall and peeling paint
- Hollow-sounding wood when knocking on wooden structures
- Mud tubes on the foundation of your home
- Discarded wings, left behind by termite swarms
- Squeaking floorboards
What is a Termite Swarm?
Termites are highly organized creatures, skilled at working together to protect the queen and grow their colony. When a termite colony has reached its maximum size, it produces swarmers, also called alates, which come out from hiding when conditions are right to mate and begin a new colony.
They have a complex caste system and use vibrations and chemical signals to communicate detailed information to one another. Because of termite colonies’ adaptability, using fast-acting termite treatment will prove ineffective in the long run; rapid treatments will only exterminate a portion of a colony, leaving more than enough termites to repopulate and develop better survival strategies.
From studying termite behavior, it makes sense that the best way to get rid of termites completely is with a slow-acting treatment like Sentricon® which allows termites to carry the bait back to their colony and infect the entire population rather than killing only the singular termites that happen upon the bait or liquid treatment.
To choose the right termite treatment, you must first identify whether drywood termites are the culprit. You’ll know drywood termites by the following characteristics:
- Where they live: Drywood termites live in the wood that they feed on. Their tunnels can be found within walls, inside furniture, and in the wooden framework of your home.
- By their droppings: A tell-tale sign of drywood termite infestation is finding piles of oval-shaped pellets called frass which they push outside of their tunnels through small holes and into the open.
- By the climate: Drywood termites are intolerant of cold meaning that they are more commonly found in southern states; however, they do find their way up north on occasion.
Because drywood termites are difficult to access and are usually located inside your home, bait treatments and wood treatments are most effective for eliminating this species.
When it comes to identifying subterranean termites, there is one tell-tale sign of termite infestation: mud tunnels. Unlike drywood termites, this species lives in the soil and uses mud tunnels to access food sources, namely softwood such as damp wooden sections of your house. Subterranean termites are not likely to leave behind visible droppings so it’s best to look for mud tubes in your yard and swarmers.
Once detected, soil treatment is often an incredibly effective way to eliminate this species along with bait stations to prevent members of the colony from entering your home.
Termite Treatment Options
There are various treatment options when facing a termite infestation. Your exterminator will decide which treatment is the most efficient based on the termite species you’re dealing with and the unique needs of your home.
Whether you’ve already got a termite infestation on your hands or you’re hoping to prevent future problems, bait treatment might be just what you need. A termite exterminator will strategically place bait stations around the perimeter of your house. Foraging termites will bring the material back to share with their colony. By regularly monitoring these stations, an exterminator can control a current infestation as well as put a stop to new threats the second they arise.
When it comes to subterranean termites, soil treatment is a sure-fire solution. By creating a trench around the foundation of your home, applying treatment to the soil, and then filling the trench back in, a termite exterminator essentially creates a protective barrier around your home. Subterranean termites are unable to get into your home, and those already inside are exterminated upon returning to the colony.
Depending on what pest control company you’re working with, wood treatment can look like many different things. Sometimes an exterminator will apply a surface spray to select wooden surfaces; other times, a company may utilize injected solutions such as sprays and forms. Borate wood treatments are another way to protect the structural integrity of your home from termite damage.
How Long Does Treatment Last?
Now that you know a little bit about the different termite treatment options, you might be wondering how frequently a person should get their home treated to keep termites away. Once again, our answer to your question is that it varies depending on the type of treatment.
Liquid treatment applied to the perimeter of your home can last up to five years! As with all treatments, however, annual inspections are recommended since it’s always possible for termites to slip through the cracks of a protective barrier.
Unlike liquid treatment, bait stations require yearly maintenance to maximize their effectiveness. If you and your team of pest experts decide that bait stations are the best type of termite treatment for your situation, keep in mind the effects of the initial installation will last about a year before termite service will once again be required. Regular inspections should take place throughout the year.
How to Prevent Termite Infestations
It may seem like we’re stating the obvious, but it’s important to remember that the most effective way to protect your home from termite damage is to prevent termites from entering your home in the first place. There are several actions you can take to make your home structure less attractive to termites including:
- Ensure that all exterior wood is at least six inches above ground level to avoid easy access for termites.
- Prevent moisture from reaching the foundation of your home by properly maintaining gutters, repairing any leaking faucets and pipes immediately, and placing sprinklers and irrigation systems to prevent puddles near your foundation.
- Keep crawl spaces dry with proper ventilation, and consider installing a vapor barrier to help reduce moisture.
- Remove any firewood, debris, or dense vegetation from around the foundation of your home.
- Limit your use of mulch since its moisture-retaining properties make it highly attractive to termites.
The best way to avoid a termite infestation, however, is to work with the experts. At Western Pest Control, we are so sure that our termite treatments will provide you the results you want that we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee. To put an end to your termite nightmares once and for all, consider contacting Western Pest Control for a free termite inspection today.