TERMITE CONTROL SERVICES
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DO YOU HAVE TERMITES IN YOUR HOME? HERE'S HOW TO TELL
No one likes an unwelcome guest and termites are some of the worst offenders. While we can’t offer any help with human visitors, termites are one of our specialties here at Hawx.
Keep reading to learn more about how to identify these wood-eating bugs, what termite damage looks like, and how to handle an infestation.
What are termites?
Termites are pests that feed on wood, typically older wood like what is often found in the structure and foundation of your house. This means termites can harm the structural integrity of your home and should be addressed as early as possible.
Every year in the United States, termites cause more than $5 billion in damage.
Termites typically have straight antennas and defined waists. They’re brown, beige, or black in color. Some termites, especially those that reproduce, have wings, but not all termites do.
While there are many different types of termites native to the United States, subterranean termites may pose the greatest risk to your structure due to their preferred location in your foundation. As most termites are between ¼ and ½ of an inch in length, they can be tricky to identify.
Which type of termite is most common?
Eastern subterranean termites are the most common termites, generally speaking. However, depending on where you live, there may be other termite species that are common, like Drywood or Dampwood termites, which live in structures cut off from soil. There are over 2,600 species of termites worldwide, so it can be hard to identify what specific type you have in your home without professional help.
Subterranean termites typically infest fallen trees, stumps, or dead wood that are in contact with soil, including any dead wood in the structural lumber of homes, especially wood that touches landscape soil.
As their subterranean name suggests, they build their nests underground, ruled by a queen who has a significantly longer lifespan than the rest of the colony. The reproductive termites are winged, but the soldiers and workers are not. Most of them are dark brown or caramel colored. After it rains, you may see swarms of the winged termites appear. This is one way you can identify a termite infestation in or near your home.
Other ways to spot these termites include looking for termite shelter tubes, which are small tunnels they create from mud, soil, and even concrete to get from their nests to their food source. They look like small holes or tunnels, and if you break them open, you’ll find the termites moving back and forth from the colony to their food source (your home!). The last way to identify subterranean termites in your home is to look for punctures or blisters in your wood. If you’re able to poke them open easily and see termites inside—well, you have a termite infestation.
What is the lifespan of a termite?
While most termites live only for a year or two, queen termites can live for about a decade, The queens handle all the major destructive planning, like evil geniuses behind a heist operation. Any wooden structure that is close to soil or that is old is a great spot for them to spawn—that includes your spare firewood, older trees, or antique wooden furniture.
So why do termites eat wood?
It’s not the wood that termites are after as much as what is in the wood. Like other plant cells, wood has cellulose, which is an important polysaccharide carbohydrate that helps our little leggy adversaries thrive. Termites eat dead cellulose, which is found—you guessed it—in dry wood like what you’ll find in wood piles or the structure of your home. While drywood termites don’t necessarily prefer decaying wood, they will probably get through it faster because it’s easier to eat.
When it comes to wood species, termites don’t have much of a preference, although they may avoid cedar and redwood. Most commonly-used construction materials, however, are fair game.
Did you know? Termites do eat wood, but they don’t actually digest it themselves. Termites have a symbiotic relationship with a protozoa in their gut that breaks down the wood and turns it into a carbohydrate that they can digest.
The speed at which termites eat wood (and cause damage to your home) varies due to factors such as the size of the colony, the size of each bug, and the climate. However, once they start, the damage is slow and steady. In three to eight years, you could see significant problems that put your home and family at risk.
What causes termites?
When the weather warms up, so do termite appetites. Termites love warm, moist places to start their colonies, and, oftentimes, the subterranean areas of your home fit the bill.
Subterranean termites usually nest in or near soil because of its ability to hold moisture. They use shelter tubes to move out of the soil to find food. They are often found feasting on wood that has been slightly decayed because of the decay fungi mentioned above.
Where might I find termite damage?
Damage can occur anywhere there’s wood! However, the most common areas of damage are found in the foundation of your house because of its close proximity to moist soil where termites live. The moisture from the soil can also increase the speed of decay in your foundational wood, attracting the termites and creating an ongoing cycle of termite breeding and infestation. Ceilings, walls, and floors are also attractive to termites if they are exposed to moisture and have any decay you may not be aware of.
A good rule of thumb is to look for water damage in your wood. If it looks like you have water damage, it could just be termites capitalizing on a slightly damp environment and damaging the wood on their own. Wood damage caused by water and damage caused by termites looks similar. Signs like peeling paint and pin-sized holes (almost as if someone went to town on your wall with a thumbtack) are tell-tale signs you may need a termite protection service plan.
Help, I have termites! What do I do now?
Did you know: 52% of Americans have never even had a termite inspection.
The best subterranean termite management plan here at Hawx is the Sentricon System. The Sentricon System is a very effective option for termite colony infestations. Bait stations planted around the perimeter of your home will kill off existing termites and prevent new ones from setting up camp. The substance applied in these systems prevents termites from molting—and when they can’t molt, they die.
Studies show that within a month of being installed, Sentricon bait stations may already significantly weaken termite colonies.
Did you know the Sentricon System is also used at some of your favorite vacation spots, including national monuments like The Statue of Liberty and the White House.
Bait stations are kept away from your drip line and foundation. No chemicals are injected into the ground, and no drilling or major construction adjustments are necessary.
How can I prevent termite infestations before they happen?
In addition to scheduling regular termite protection services from Hawx, there are some simple things you can do in between professional pest checks to keep termites away.
- Prevent soil from coming into contact with wood on your property (minimize moisture that stays in the ground after it rains)
- Fill in any gaps (termites love to wedge themselves in tiny, unoccupied places)
- Store firewood away from your home
- Patch up leaks and watch out for water-based decay (your basement is a hot spot for termites due to its proximity to the ground)
Why choose Hawx for termite pest control?
Our core values are literally how we got our name. Hawx is an acronym for:
- Work ethic
These are the governing principles for why we do what we do. Hawx gives you the means necessary to ensure that your family’s well being and peace of mind are protected.
As a bonus, we also support reforestation and restoration efforts that allow us to give back to the delicate ecosystem we find ourselves participating in, such as Bayer’s “Feed a Bee” program. This allows us to keep your home, and all of our wildlife, safe and fruitful for decades to come. Most pests are actually beneficial in nature, so protecting them in their natural habitats allows our planet to function and thrive the way it’s supposed to.
Plus, with free estimates at Hawx, you’ve got nothing to lose by giving us a call about your newest home intruders.
Ready to bid those termites adieu? We’ve got you covered, and can’t wait to discuss the best options for you.
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