Termites are a group of insect that mostly feed on dead plant material and live in colonies that range from several hundred to several million. While they are essential to our ecosystem, in the United States they pose a severe threat to the structure of your home. If left untreated, termites can silently damage your home costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in structural repairs and severely reduce the resale value your real-estate.
What do termites look like?
While people often confuse termites for ants, they are only distantly related to ants. In addition, it can be hard to tell the difference between termites and winged ants, but there are telltale signs that can help make the job easier.
Winged Ants – have a narrow waist and body that is divided up into three distinct segments. Winged ants have two pairs of unevenly sized wings, and their antennae are bent into an elbow shape.
Termites – have extremely large wings compared to their body size. The wings are also evenly sized. Termites have no waist and their bodies are the same width along their length. Finally, termites have generally straight antennae. Termite workers look a lot like ants except they have translucent or white bodies with no waist.
Types of Termites
• Dampwood Termites
• Drywood Termites
• Formosan Termites
• Subterranean Termites
Homes constructed of wood are most susceptible to termite damage; however, termites are also capable of traversing plaster, metal siding, concrete and more. They’ll feed on your furniture, cabinets, wooden floors or any other wooden structure once inside your home.
Termite inspections are performed by a termite control specialist who looks for visible signs of infestation and termite damage. In addition to identifying termite activity, your termite control specialist should indicate areas in or around the home that can be conducive to termite activity. These areas include standing water on the roof or around the foundation, wood mulch close to the foundation, and wooden deck supports that touch the soil. They also look for discarded wings, wood damage and termite exit holes.
• Termite Bait Stations – This treatment includes liquid treatment at infestation sites, plus termite monitoring stations strategically placed around the home. If termites are found in the monitoring stations, your pest exterminator will replace the monitoring stations with termite bait stations. Termites ingest the bait, carry it back to the colony which leads to effective termite control.
• Termite Fumigation – This treatment provides termite control to the entire area of your home. Your home is covered with a tent like structure and then gas is pumped into your home or business for full penetration of the entire area. Termite fumigation is generally recommended when multiple colonies have been found within a structure. This type of termite control should only be performed by a highly trained termite specialist.
• Liquid Treatment- This treatment involves placing a chemical treated zone around the foundation of the structure to prevent termites from entering building.
A termite warranty is a legal agreement between the homeowner and termite control company. A termite warranty outlines the frequency and type of termite treatment. In addition, it may include retreatment and repair guarantees at no additional charge. In most cases, the terms of the termite bond state that a pest management professional will inspect the home on a regular basis (usually quarterly or annually, depending on the treatment provided) and provide additional treatment, when needed.
Termite Treatment Cost
Termite treatment and cost depend entirely on the size of your home and the degree of termite infestation. If subterranean termites are found, the termite control specialist will remove the tubes (the termite “gateway” into your home) and then drill down around the foundation about every 12 inches, and inject an organic pesticide into the holes. The holes are then filled, and the site is monitored by termite monitoring stations that placed around the home to check for re-infestation.