As winter sets in and we spend more time indoors, anyone of us could have an entire civilization living unwelcome in our home. Known as the “silent destroyers,” termites are one of the most troublesome pests you can encounter. Indeed, many homeowners are entirely unaware of important facts about termites until after incurring damage on a huge scale.
In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), annually termites cause upwards of $40 billion in damage across the globe, destroying pieces of over 600,000 U.S. houses each year.
Do you think you may have a termite infestation? Whether you are a current homeowner or looking to purchase a home in the near future, follow along for five important facts for practicing awareness, prevention, and dealing with the dreaded termite infestation.
5 Facts About Termites From Pest Control Pros
1. Termites are “Silent Destroyers”
Termites are called the “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wallpaper, wood, and other materials with little detection. Termites cause billions of dollars in property damage every year and these costs are often not covered under insurance policies. This destruction is as detrimental as it is unexpected.
2. There Are Thousands of Types of Termites
Termites are actually separated by a caste system. This includes reproductive, soldier, and worker termites. They build the largest nests of any insect. They are able to derive nourishment from wood due to the microscopic protozoa in their gut that breaks down the cellulose structure.
There are thousands of species of termites, but the most harmful in the United States, as noted by the USDA website, is the subterranean termite. Subterranean termites live entirely underground and build complex systems of cylindrical tunnels or “mud tubes”. Termites love warm weather, being particularly drawn to southern states and more humid climates.
3. Preventing Infestation is Not as Difficult as You Think
Keeping your home’s gutters and drainage systems free of leaves, branches, or dirt can reduce moisture and therefore potential breeding grounds. Make sure there aren’t leaky pipes or stagnant water buildups around your home. Keep logs or woodpiles farther away from your home. Piles of rotting leaves or dead trees pose a risk, as termites are especially drawn to moisture and organic matter. Practicing prevention is key. However, the infestation is still a possibility even with these measures well in place.
4. Look for Signs of Infestation
Do you think you may have a termite infestation? There are many signs of an infestation if you know where to look. Damage to wood includes blistered wood/flooring, visible grooves, hollow sounds, paper-like appearance, tunnels, squeaky floorboards, stuck doors, or other distinct changes in wood quality or appearance.
Another common sign is a “swarm” -a cloud of flying termites, typically during the spring here in the Mid-West. Termites are also quite loud as they chew wood, meaning that you may hear a soft clicking noise from an infestation. Soldier termites even “head-bang” to alert workers of danger! Although difficult to spot, you may also see discarded wings or dark droppings around the location of the infestation.
5. Dealing with Termites is a Team Effort!
If you think you have an infestation, or if you have not had an inspection in a number of years, don’t hesitate to contact your local pest control company at 877-DEAD-BUG as soon as possible. It is essential that you hire an experienced company that understands how to effectively handle a termite infestation, and how to prevent future infestations. With periodic inspections, they can often be stopped before irreparable structural damage has been done.
At Black Diamond our mission is simple: We strive to provide the highest quality pest control with the best customer service in the industry. This mission has grown our flagship location (Black Diamond headquarters in Jeffersonville, Indiana) into one of the largest pest control offices in the country with well over 135 service vehicles and nearly 200 employees. An ever-growing company, Black Diamond now has branches in Northern Kentucky, Elizabethtown (KY), and Evansville (IN) as well as Franchises throughout the mid-west and the southern United States.