Termites are silent destroyers – recognizing them calls for immediate action
Friday, February 7th, 2014
Issue 06, Volume 18.
Discovering that termites are taking up residence where one lives can be disconcerting, but termites are a very common occurrence. Understanding termites and recognizing the signs of termite damage early on can help homeowners reduce the havoc that the creatures can wreak on their homes.
Termites are social insects that live together in colonies. These colonies eat nonstop – dining on wood and other cellulose plant matter. They also eat materials made from plants, like fabric and paper. According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage a year. Studies show that queen termites can live up to decades under ideal climate conditions while workers and soldiers live approximately one to two years.
While there are many varieties of termites, all are silent destroyers capable of chewing undetected through housing structures. To eradicate termites, homeowners must first identify the insects and then contact a termite management specialist to address the pest problem.
Termites may not always be visible. Subterranean termite clusters are usually formed in soil, where the termites build elaborate tunnel systems that channel through to above-ground food sources. Drywood and dampwood termites may live within the wood they consume and be undetectable until the wood collapses or rots away. Homeowners often realize they have a termite problem when they witness swarming termites. At this point there already may be a mature colony at work damaging a home. Swarming, winged termites form in a mature, established colony. Winged termites emerge and fly off looking for mates. Afterward they will locate a new breeding site and form another colony, potentially spreadinginfestations through multiple locations. Winged termites are attracted to light and can be seen by windows and doors in spring.
Other signs of termites include accumulation of soil or dirt at the base of wood structures or the foundation of a home. There also may be fissures or cracks near wood surfaces. Sometimes "frass" or termite droppings can be seen. They appear as rough, granulated sawdust.
Covered mud tubes, or channels of mud leading from the soil up the foundation of a home, are indicative of the presence of termites. Even if termites are no longer present in these tubes, that does not mean the termites have moved on. They simply may have chosen a new path to your home.
Keeping termites away
Once termites have been identified, it is time to eliminate them. This means getting rid of water and food sources that are close to a home.
*Repair leaky faucets and other water drips in and around the house
*Keep gutters and downspouts clean
*Seal entry points around water and utility lines or pipes.
*Divert water away from the foundation
*Keep lumber, firewood or paper away from the foundation of the home
*Clear away stumps and tree debris
*Prevent untreated wood from contacting the soil
It is very difficult for homeowners to get rid of termites by themselves. Very often they require the work of professionals. A termite exterminator will conduct a visual inspection of a home and property and may do extensive testing involving expensive acoustic or infrared equipment to probe the soil beneath the house.
Depending on the species of termite, the exterminator will suggest various treatments. These may include the application of pesticides and making areas around the home less hospitable to termites. Severely damaged wood may need to be removed and replaced.
Termites are problematic. These insects often stay hidden and do serious damage that can cost homeowners a fortune. Treating termites promptly is essential.
The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.
The Village NewsAnza Valley OutlookFallbrook.orgThe BoulevardSourcebookPDF VersionCoupon CornerSign up for iNewsEarthquake Info
355 Medical marijuan...
262 Arrests now numb...
175 Authorities seek...
168 Man hit, killed ...
124 Mother-in-law ar...
122 Camp Pendleton a...
121 Authorities dist...
120 Bikers steering ...
117 Double fatality ...
116 22 suspected ill...
114 Temecula mosque ...
110 Governor Brown s...
107 Bonsall man (lon...
105 Preliminary hear...
105 U.S. Marine corp...