What are termites?
Subterranean termites (Reticulitermes flavipes) are social insects that live in nests or colonies in the soil. Each colony consists of three forms or castes of individuals, which are the reproductives, works, and soldiers. Reproductives can be winged or wingless. The latter are found in mature colonies and serve as replacements if something happens to the primary reproductives. Soldiers are also wingless and resemble workers except they have large, rectangular, yellowish and brown heads with large mandibles (jaws).
The presence of winged termites, or their shedded wings, inside a home is a warning of a termite infestation. They can be differentiated from winged ants that have elbowed antennae, constricted waists, forewings are larger than the rear wings and not easily detached.
Signs of termite infestations
Signs include swarming of winged adults in the spring (March, April, May, June) and occasionally autumn (September and October). A “swarm” is a group of adult male and female reproductives that leave their nest to establish a new colony. Swarming occurs when a colony reaches a certain size. Emergence is stimulated when temperature and moisture conditions are favorable, usually on warm days following rainfall. Other signs of termite presence include “pencil size” mud tubes constructed over the surface of foundation walls mud protruding from cracks between boards and beams and hollow sounds from infested wood when it is tapped or extreme softness when probed with a knife. Termites feed slowly and there is no need to panic.
Is it a termite or an ant?
Many people confuse termites with ants because they are found in the earth and often move in ant-like file. Some people mistakenly call termites “white ants” when seen in the ground and “flying ants” when they are swarming. Notice the drawings showing the outline of the two insects. Ants have narrow waists and elbowed antennae. Identification tip – look for the narrow waist on the ant. A wide waist or a “white ant” or “flying ant” may mean termites. That’s trouble with a capital T!
Termites are known as the “silent destroyers” and can infest a home eating away at its wooden structure for years before the damage is ever noticed. These pests are typically discovered during a real estate inspection or termite inspection upon sale or purchase of a home or during a remodeling project. Once termites have entered a building, they do not limit themselves to wood. They can also damage paper, cloth, carpets, and other cellulosic materials, such as silicone rubber and acrylics, which are often used in construction.
What is included in the free termite inspection?
We will probe or carefully sound exterior porches, doors and window facings, baseboards, and hardwood flooring, being careful not to deface finished wood when probing. We will examine all known or suspected joints, cracks or expansion joints in the foundation and unusual blistering in paint or wallboard surfaces. Discoloration or staining on walls or ceilings may indicate water leaks that can decay wood and aid termite infestation.
We will especially inspect where plumbing or utility pipes enter the foundation or flooring. Check the floor covering for raised or split areas. Carefully examine the plumbing, particularly in bathrooms on slab construction. Examine areas underneath or close to earth-filled porches, patios, planters and bathrooms for water leakage and termite damage.
Can Amco protect my home from termites or treat an active termite infestation?
We always begin with a thorough inspection of your property for signs of termites. Amco utilizes conventional treatment methods such as liquid termiticides, like Termidor, to treat active infestations.
We are also Certified Sentricon Specialists. Sentricon is the number one brand in termite protection for a home. This termite baiting system is strategically installed around the home with in-ground bait stations. If termites are present and feed upon the bait within the system they will share it with others in the colony, killing off the colony.
Termites are not a do-it-yourself pest. First of all, proper pest identification is necessary before treating your home for termites. Leave this to a professional. Winged ants and termites are often mistaken for one another. We highly recommend that you get an annual termite inspection from a licensed pest professional and proactively protect your home with a termite baiting system.
For most people their home is their largest investment. Termites are known as the “silent destroyers” and pose a serious threat to the value of your home. In fact, according to the National Pest Management Association, experts estimate that termites account for $5 Billion in property damage each year. Don’t be part of the statistic, let Amco restore your peace of mind by protecting your home’s value from this destructive pest with Sentricon, the #1 Brand in Termite Protection. Termites are wood destroying insects that silently eat away at the wooden structure of your home threatening its integrity and lowering the value of your home.
Most homeowners don’t detect a termite infestation unless:
- Termites swarms occurred where hundreds of winged swarmers fly out into the home, most typically the bottom floor of your home to find a mate and establish a new colony. The event lasts just a few minutes but homeowners may discover evidence of a swarm by finding piles of wings around windows, doors, tubs, sinks or in basements.
- Damage becomes so severe that the homeowner suspects something is wrong. Common signs of termites damage are:
– hollow sounding wood or wall studs
– softened wood
– wood that has tunnels appearing throughout it
- The homeowner is remodeling and discovers signs of an infestation such as termite damaged wood or mud tunnels, which termites build to access their feeding source within your home.
How do termites get in to my home?
Subterranean termites search for food and moisture and will squeeze through cracks as narrow as 1/32 of an inch to get to it! They can make their way through expansion joints, foundation cracks, very small gaps around plumbing, and service entries. Once they penetrate into your home, if unnoticed, the damage can be quite significant.
Drywood termites can survive without any contact with soil. Entry points into your home include your attic and any floor in your home.
What can I do to prevent termites?
Avoid moisture accumulation near the foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks. Ground near the foundation needs to be sloped or graded in order for surface water to drain away from the building. Poor draining may need tiles or drains installed. Termites and ants are attracted to moisture.
Severe infestations may not be found until a structure is threatened and integrity of the home is seriously compromised.