HOW to GET RID of TERMITES
Termites live in a colony which means that they are a social insect. Social insects have a division of labor called castes. There are 3 different common types of termites: Subterranean, Formosan, and Drywood Termites.
Subterranean Termites workers and nymphs construct the colony and fix the damages in them. Soldiers cannot eat wood but only defend the colony against enemies. Winged adult termites are called swarmers or primary reproductives. They will swarm up above ground and go mate, which is normally during spring time when the days are sunny, warm, and in high humidity. If you find a winged insect around your home during the spring time it might be termite swarmer so pay extra attention.
The worker adults are the most abundant in number. They do all the work and are sterile and blind. The worker termites are usually light in color with no wings. The adult soldiers in the colony have large, hard heads with large laws. The adult supplementary productive are wingless or have short, non-functional wings. They will replace the queen if the queen is killed and they are high in numbers as well. These termites produce most of the colonies eggs.
The primary reproductive adult is dark in color and have 4 well developed wings of equal length, size, and shape. Subterranean termites can build a nest above the ground and it is called aeria colonies. These nests can survive above ground if a moisture source is available. There can be at least 13-14 subterranean termite colonies per acre, so in a typical home you can easily have 3-4 subterranean termite colonies under the house or around it on average.
Subterranean Termites can eat wood at the rate of 2-3% of their body weight each day which is about 7 lbs of wood. Subterranean termites construct their tunnels of wood particles and their feces.
Many times termites are often confused as ants. The difference between termites and ants are:
- Termites antennae are straight while ants are elbowed
- Termites have 2 pairs of wings that are in equal length and size, while ants have 2 pairs of wings unequal in length and size.
- Termites waists are thick and broad and ants are narrow and thin.
Moisture is essential to termite survival. Since moisture is so essential they will construct mud tubes that will cover the exposed areas. Termites will move up and down the soil to accumulate for their moisture needs. Termites prefer decaying wood because it can be eaten faster and it increases the moisture content.
Subterranean Termites can be found at or near ground level. You can find infestation usually above the level of the first-floor windows. Examine thoroughly in crawl spaces and basement walls, supporting piers and beams, sill plates, floor joists, subfloors.
Pay special attention to areas where concrete steps, porches, or concrete slabs comes together with the structure. If you find wooden dust around the walls or window/door frames, patio area then it is also a sign of termite infestation. Also swarmer termites will shed their wings so if you see large number of shredded wings then it is also a sign of infestation.
Holes inside the wood are not visible so you can just tap on the wood with your knuckles or a small hammer to hear a hollow sound because the damage wood by termites looks like regular water damage. The type of soil is important on how infested termites can be. They prefer sandy soil however they can survive in many different types of soil as well.
The main reason on why structures get infested with termites is because the wood is often in contact with the ground. When the wood has contact with the soil it supplies the termites with food, shelter, moisture, and entry into the home which is often hard to know.
The exterior wood should at least be 6′ above the ground level and may require in pulling the soil or mulch away from the structure to prevent wood to ground contact. If there is wood in your crawlspace, make sure that it is at least 18′ from the ground. Doors, stair carriages, posts, etc, and anything that is made out of wood will need to be cut off at the bottom to be supported by a concrete base. If it is unavoidable then you should treat the wood with preservation.
Termites can build tunnels over the wood surface. You should not bury wood, cardboard, paper, or any other cellulose materials because they will attract termites. Mulch and wooden chips can also attract termites because it will give them a food source and a favorable moisture conditions.
If you have to use mulch, do not apply them in contact with the foundation. Stack wooden materials, and firewood away from the structure and elevated from the ground. Vegetation should not be allowed to grow against the side of the structure because it traps moisture causing wood decay. Soil should be sloping so that the water can be drain away from the home. Plumbing and appliance leaks can lead to damp wood in crawlspaces.
You should repair leaks right away and you can place polyethylene sheeting which acts a moisture barrier over the soil in the crawlspace to reduce evaporation from the soil and condensation from the structure woods. Ventilation vents can help reduce moisture problems dramatically. Crawl spaces should have ventilating opening around your home at every 2 sq ft per 25 linear ft of the foundation wall. One of the vents will need to be within 5 ft of each exterior corner of the building.
There are two types of ways to treat termites, but these are not the only ways just the most common. These types are: soil treatment where you will dig a trench and treat the soil also to drill a hole into the structure and apply the termiticides and bait this treatment is where you place wood bait inside a termite monitoring station and burying the station under ground.