Modern Pest Control

Termite Pest Control

Termites are serious pests, whose control is best left to professionals. Termites and termite manage

Some of the most common termite questions raised by homeowners are answered below.

  • Why worry about termites?
  • Why are infestations often discovered during March – May?
  • How will I know if my home is infested?
  • Can I treat the house myself?
  • How do I choose a termite control company? Why is there such variance in price?
  • Which treatment methods and products are most effective?
  • Does the entire house need to be treated — or can they just treat areas where I see termites?
  • How long will the treatment last?
  • Will the chemicals harm my family or pets?
  • Have I been “cheated” if termites continue to infest my house after treatment?

 

Note

NOTE: The answers contained in this publication are based on conditions and regulations as they exist in Kentucky, USA. Timing of termite appearance and regulatory/legal considerations may be different in your local area. You may also wish to consult your local cooperative extension agency or government department about specific recommendations for your area.

Q: Why worry about termites?

A: Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. They primarily feed on wood, but also damage paper, books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners and filtration systems. Termites can injure living trees and shrubs, but more often are a secondary invader of woody plants already in decline. While buildings may become infested at any time, termites are of particular importance when buying or selling a home since a termite inspection/infestation report is normally a condition of sale. Besides the monetary impact, thousands of winged termites emerging inside one’s home are an emotionally trying experience — not to mention the thought of termites silently feasting on one’s largest investment.

Q: Why are infestations often discovered during March – May?

A: Spring typically is when large numbers of winged termites, known as “swarmers,” termite swarmersemerge inside homes. In nature, termites swarm to disperse and start new colonies. Triggered by warmer temperatures and rainfall, the winged termites emerge from the colony and fly into the air.

Above: Winged termites emerging indoors are a sure sign that the building is infested.

The swarmers then drop to the ground, shed their wings, pair off with a mate, and attempt to begin new colonies in the soil. Few swarmers emerging outdoors survive to start new colonies. Swarmers emerging indoors are incapable of eating wood, seldom survive, and are best removed with a vacuum. They do, however, indicate that an infestation is present.

Q: How will I know if my home is infested?

A: Discovering winged termites indoors almost always indicates an infestation warranting treatment. People often confuse winged termites with ants, which often swarm at the same time of year. Termites can be differentiated by their straight antennae, uniform waist and wings of equal size. (Ants have elbowed antennae, constricted waists and forewings that are longer than the hind wings.)
The swarmers are attracted to light and are often seen around windows and doors. Termite swarmers emerging from tree stumps, woodpiles, and other locations out in the yard are not necessarily cause for concern, and do not necessarily mean that the house is infested. On the other hand, if winged termites are seen emerging from the base of a foundation wall or adjoining porches and patios, there’s a good chance the house is infested also and treatment may be warranted.
Other signs of infestation are earthen (mud) tubes (shown right) extending over foundation walls, support piers, sill plates, floor joists, etc. The mud tubes are typically about the diameter of a pencil, but sometimes can be thicker.
Termites construct these tubes for shelter as they travel between their underground colonies and the structure. To help determine if an infestation is active, the tubes may be broken open and checked for the presence of small, creamy-white worker termites.

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