Facts & Identification Information
Termites, often called the “silent destroyer” may be secretly living in your home or yard without any immediate signs of damage. Termites consume cellulose-based plant materials. Unfortunately, all homes, regardless of their construction type, can provide cellulose food for termite infestation.
There are three major types of termites found : subterranean, drywood, and arboreal. They all belong to the phylum Arthropoda, the class Insecta, and the order Isoptera. There are over 2,000 different species, which all have distinct scientific names.
Termites range from 1/4 to 1/2 an inch in length. The queens and kings are larger, capable of reaching over one inch long. The workers are typically soft-bodied and pale-colored. Flying termites, also called reproductives, have two pairs of prominent wings.
Termites are detritivores; they feed on dead plants and trees and get nutrients from cellulose, an organic fiber found in wood and plant matter. Wood makes up the majority of the pests’ diet, but they will eat other materials such as paper, plastic, and drywall. Most species prefer dead wood, but some termites feed on living trees.
A termite’s mouth is capable of tearing pieces of woody material. This causes major concern in human dwellings. House foundations, furniture, shelves and even books are all possible feeding sites for termites.
Commonly, termites live in wooden structures, decayed trees, fallen timber, and soil. Habitats vary among species as some termites require different amounts of moisture
Subterranean termites are the most abundant variety and can be found throughout . 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 termites mature, winged “swarmers” may be seen around windows and doors. Swarmers are highly attracted to light and are most active in springtime. After mating, these termites locate a new breeding site and create another colony.
What Can You Do to Help Protect Your Home?
Since termites are a constant threat to your home, here are some things you can do during the year to help maintain the effectiveness of The Orkin Man’s termite treatment plan. 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 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 should not contact the soil
Termite Warning Signs & Identification
Some indications you may have a termite infestation:
- A temporary swarm of winged “ants” in your home or from the soil around your home.
- Any cracked or bubbling paint or frass (termite droppings).
- Wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
- Mud tubes on exterior walls, wooden beams or in crawl spaces.
- Discarded wings from swarmers.