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Termites Are On The Move – Watch Out! 

April 2014

 
 

Termites are often called the “silent destroyer” because they may be secretly hiding and thriving in your home or yard without any immediate signs of damage. All termites consume cellulose-based plant materials. Unfortunately, all homes, regardless of their construction type, can provide cellulose food for termite infestation.

Termites are detritivores, or detritus feeders. They feed on dead plants and trees as well as dead parts of living trees, including wood and wood in the soil. A termite’s mouth is capable of tearing pieces of woody material. This ability is what causes concern in human dwellings: while termite workers only measure approximately 1 cm to a few millimeters in length, their feeding habits are capable of causing costly damage to property. House foundations, furniture, shelves and even books are all possible feeding sites for termites.

subterranean termite colony

Subterranean termite homes are usually formed in soil. Within these mounds, termites build elaborate tunnel systems and mud tunnels through which they access above-ground food sources. Drywood termites live within the wood they consume and oftentimes infest walls and furniture.

When a colony has matured, winged, swarming termites can be seen around windows and doors. Winged termites are highly attracted to sources of light and are most active in springtime. After mating, these termites locate a new breeding site and create another colony, spreading infestations throughout multiple locations in the case of drywood termites.

  Barbara Allen

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What Can You Do to Help Protect Your Home?

Since termites are a constant threat to your home, here are small steps make a big difference in termite prevention and sustaining an effective termite treatment plan. Start by eliminating moisture conditions and termite food around your home. These simple steps make your home a less attractive target, helping deter termites.

Eliminate Moisture Problems

  • Repair leaking faucets, water pipes, and A/C units
  • Divert water from foundation
  • Keep gutters and downspouts clean
  • Remove excessive plant cover and wood mulch
  • Get rid of standing water on roof
  • Keep all vents clear and open
  • Seal entry points around water and utility lines or pipes

Remove Termite Food Sources

  • Keep firewood, lumber or paper away from foundation or crawl space
  • Get rid of stumps and debris near house
  • Place screens on outside vents
  • Check decks and wooden fences for damage
  • Wood on your home shouldn’t contact the soil

Termite Warning Signs & Identification

Some indications you may have a termite infestation:

  • A temporary swarm of winged insects in your home or from the soil around your home.
  • Any cracked or bubbling paint or frass (termite droppings).
  • subterranean wide mud tubeWood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Mud tubes on exterior walls, wooden beams or in crawl spaces.
  • Discarded wings from swarmers.

Is That An Ant Or Do I Have Termites?

Three Signs It's A Termite

There's nothing like having a swarm of flying insects in your yard (or worse yet in your house) to suddenly make you realize how important it is to be able to tell the difference between a termite and a flying ant.

Mistaking a swarm of termites for flying ants can be expensive. The average repair bill following a termite infestation is $3,000, according to Terminix and termites live everywhere in the U.S. except Alaska.

When flying insects swarm, the safest thing to do is to call in a pest professional who can check your home for signs of termites.

To identify the bugs on your own, catch one of them without smashing it. Put it in a plastic bag and then check for these three things:

The antenna:

One long string of beads and no elbow = termite

Elbowed = ant

The body:

Uniform with no waist = termite

Hour-glass waist = ant

The Wings:

Both wings same size = termite

Back wings smaller than front wing = ant

Want to be sure you're right?

Contact the cooperative extension service and ask if they do bug identification.

Recommended Termite Control:

  • Dewey Pest Control  323 666-1361
  • Western Exterminators 213 382-8151
 
 
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