There are countless home and building owners worldwide who are sharing the same dilemma of property damages and inconveniences to living conditions due to termite infestation. Long has it been since termite control and pest control became a vastly serious and important business due to the increasing influx of termites to residential and industrial properties causing billions of dollars in damages every year. Not only does this predicament costing people money, it is also giving them emotional stress. This is basically why the demands from termite control companies are increasingly high; because the need is there to get rid of termites.

There are several different ways to get rid of termites: DIY with a termite treatment or a guide, or hire a termite control specialist to come to your house and do an inspection and treatment.

From a professional point of view, thorough understanding and learning termite behaviors are keys to finding valuable and efficient solutions to different termite problems. That is why homeowners are advised to at least acquaint themselves about termites so as to obtain helpful information on how to deal with an eventual infestation.

Termites Overview

It is amazing to know that termites have existed since the time of the dinosaurs! They have an indispensable role in many ecosystems by recycling wood and plant materials. Regarded as master builders in the animal kingdom, termites coped over the millennia due to their abilities in tunneling and burrowing and living in soil.

Commonly known as “white ants”, these insects live in a social caste system comprising of a queen, a king, the soldiers and workers. It’s the queen who lays eggs in thousands each day and the king’s only role is to mate with the queen. Soldier termites’ sole duty is to fight for and defend the colony. But it’s the workers who carry out all the necessary and important tasks for the colony including gathering of food. They comprise the majority population in a colony and come in large numbers particularly in feeding locations. They are born blind and are typically white in color in most subterranean wood eating termites, thus dubbed as “white ants”. One main basis on why a portion of termite species are such destructive pests is that these worker termites have specialized bacteria in their gullet that aid in digesting cellulose found in wood.

Termite DamageTermite Control

Types of Termites and Termite Control Methods

As far as termites go there are over 2,600 known species and only a small percentage of them are considered destructive pests. Each of these types has their own uniqueness in habitation, nesting and wood preferences requiring different termite control methods accordingly that is why it is imperative to know and differentiate termite infestations in houses and buildings.

Subterranean Termites

These termites are the most common and are very destructive. Subterranean termite colonies are huge with its swarm reaching millions. They take a long time, usually years, to create significant damage to structures because they spend time to establish and grow their colony underground, building tunnels that spread out in all directions to forage and breed. Once they have established, they begin to infest structures they can access especially if there is the presence of moisture and creating mud tunnels to conserve moisture.

Wood and other cellulose materials are the primary diet of subterranean termites. It is characteristic to these termites the need of steady moisture source and soil contact. They are considered the most destructive pest that feed on wood as they attack door and window frames, wall paneling, wooden floors and furnishings, etc. The damaged wood would appear layered with brown soil accumulation in certain galleries. These damages could range from destroying a building’s physical appearance to structural damage that could be irremediable and expensive to manage

Red flags to subterranean termite infestations include swarming termites around lights, on door frames and windows, shedding of wings which can be found on window sills and frames and sometimes trapped in cobwebs, the appearance of mud tunnels running in both interior and exterior of the structure in vertical position, and the visible damages on wood walls, posts, etc proof that the established colony has now started to eat and destroy wood.

To save on termite control costs, homeowners can minimize, prevent and stop termite infestations by disrupting their moisture source and keeping landscapes trim and clean such as trees not touching building walls, keeping firewood dry and stored away from the house, and installing gutters to eliminate moisture problems.

Formosan Termites

Formosan termites are actually the most well known subterranean termite. They work similarly and possess the same characteristics. Damages brought about by Formosan and subterranean termites are also the same. The major difference lies on how fast these termites can affect damage to wood structures. Typical subterranean termites take years before significant damages are observed while mature Formosan termite colony could wreck havoc to properties in as short a period as three months such that they are referred to as “super termites”. Also, these termites can create secondary nests called cartons which can be found above ground, usually on walls, so long as there is constant moisture. These cartons can cause walls to bulge that could ruin structural aesthetics and cause significant damage.

Ground treatment is vital to Formosan termite control so homeowners are advised to eliminate wood debris and remove all woods on soil. Nests can be addressed by significantly reducing moisture level on wood by drying them out.

Drywood Termites

By their name, drywood termites nest above ground and do not require moisture and soil contact. These termites infest on dry wood and mostly feasting on wooden furniture and fixtures. Their swarm is significantly smaller than subterranean termites which could start with 50 workers and growing to 3000 in over 15 years.

Due to the colony’s size, a considerable structural damage to properties could take years to happen however giving a blind eye to early signs of infestation could prove detrimental later on.

Homeowners may conduct regular inspection to properties prone to drywood termites such as furniture and inspect for signs of termites on wooden materials brought from the outside.

Dampwood Termites

These termites nests and colonize in damp or decaying wood. Unlike subterranean termites, dampwood termites do not require soil to breed or build colony. However, these termites do require moisture source in the wood that they eat. It is very characteristic of dampwood termites to eat across the grain of the wood while creating smooth tunnels along it. They are commonly found on tree stumps, logs and dying trees and eventually migrate to buildings and infest. Areas prone to these termites are leaky pipes.
Termite control for this type is through checking for leaking pipes and decaying wood. Moisture elimination is also important.

Homeowners can practically find do-it-yourself remedies to termite infestations. Educating one’s self about the problem could prove vital. With termite control costs going up as the demand is also skyrocketing, it may be wise for homeowners to start doing the job themselves.

Termite Control

However, termite control can effectively and efficiently be done by professionals who have thorough knowledge and experience on where to look and how to access infestations. It isn’t a piece of cake looking for nests on walls and grounds and could sometimes need specialized equipments to do so. Scores of termite control companies have evolved over the years because of the increasing need of termite exterminators. What seems to be a hopeless case for homeowners to solve could only be a common day to day task to them.

Video on Termite Control

Here is a helpful video on termite control.