All about Termites

termiteTermites live in colonies, where they work together to raise larvae. They form a colony in drier or cooler climates, depending upon the individual termite species. The most common species of termites include subterranean termites, dry wood termites, Formosan termites and damp wood termites.

Subterranean termites live in the underground soil and they feed on soft, spring wood fiber. The colonies of this species contain thousands of workers. They form nest in warmer climates. They are found in all the states of America except Alaska. Dry wood termites, as the name implies lives in dry wood. They can tolerate dry conditions for a longer period, as they receive moisture from the wood they consume. They can build nest in different areas of the home, including the basement, porch and attic. They usually target the wood, which include furniture, structural timbers and hardwood flooring.

Formosan termites are the sub species of the subterranean termites, but they are slightly larger than other subterranean termite species. Formosan termites do not require soil contact to receive the moisture they need in order to survive. They have the capability of forming cartons, which are actually nests made up of chewed wood and undigested cellulose inside the colony. They use the cartons to retain water until they find a permanent water source.

Damp wood termites can survive only in wood, which has high-moisture content. They can be generally found in moist or decaying wood in logs, tree stump and dead trees. Man made structures having wood-to-ground contact or areas moistened by water leaks are other favorite haunts of damp wood termites.

Damages caused by termites:

Termites have been causing destruction to the tune of billions of dollars in the United States every year. Subterranean termites can damage wood breaks easily. They are cellulose-loving insects and they leave nothing behind except the wood grain. They have the habit of eating the wood inside out and therefore the termite damage is typically hidden.

The colony of dry wood termite is smaller than other species and therefore they cause lesser damage than the subterranean termites.  Homeowners can identify dry wood termite damage by the piles of small, hard fecal pellets left behind by them. Damp wood termites generally do not cause damage to the structures.

Termite Prevention

A single termite colony can consume 2.3 linear feet of 2x4 pine in one year. It is therefore advisable to inspect your home on a regular basis. You can take some precautionary steps to prevent termites.

  • You need to locate and fix all the water leaks in your home. Termites need water to survive. Hence, they can find your home suitable for their colony, if there is a virulent water source.
  • Vegetation can create intense moisture in the nearby areas. Removing any heavy growth around your home can discourage the survival of termites.
  • You need to take steps to eliminate any pooling water from around your home.
  • You can use treated lumber for wooden structures. The chemicals in the treated lumber can act as a deterrent for decks and patios.
  • You should not bury waste lumber or wood scraps in your yard. Waste lumber attracts termites to your property.
  • You have to seal any cracks or holes within the foundation of your home to prevent the entry of termites.
  • If your home is sufficiently ventilated, it can prevent the buildup of moisture required by termite colonies.
  • You can avoid using mulch near your home, as mulching supplies food and water to termites.


Termite Treatment Options

You can use liquid termiticide around as well as underneath the foundation of your home. Some termiticides act as repellents and barriers to termite invasions.

Termite baits can help eliminate the termite colony at its source. You can install the bait units in the untreated wood segments. The toxic bait is ingested into the termites and carried back to the colony. The toxins in the bait cause the termites to die within their shell.

The combination of termiticides and bait units installation can help get rid of termites completely. If you do not get the desirable results, the best alternative is to contact a professional for help.

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