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Action Pest Controls Answers Frequently Asked Questions About Termites

Of all the pests that can infest your home, this is the one that is able to make a grown man cry like a little girl. But before you start poking fun of that grown man, you may want to consider that termites cost property owners in the U.S. over $5 billion each year. Do you feel a tear welling up? Don't worry. We have you covered. Here is a quick FAQ to help protect your home from termites.

What Do Termites Look Like?

When we talk about termites, we usually speak mostly of the subterranean termite. It is responsible for 90% of all termite damage in the United States. But even when we narrow it down to only subterranean termite colonies, there are few distinct visual differences within these colonies.  If you were to find a termite infested stump on your property and split it open, you would immediately notice two distinct termites:  the worker and the swarmer. The worker will appear pale and worm-like from a distance, but up close you will see the six legs and two antennae that distinguish it as an insect. The swarmer will appear black in color and have white wings that layer on top of each other and appear as one.

Do Termites Have Wings?

In a termite colony, only the swarmer termites--also know as reproductives--have wings. Swarmer termites quickly shed their wings after mating and go on to become the queens and kings of newly established termite colonies.

When Do Termites Swarm?

Termite swarms can happen any time of the year, but often occur in spring when temperatures warm up.

What Attracts Termites?

Subterranean termites are attracted to moisture, especially moistened wood. If you have mulch, bushes, shrubs or dead stumps near your home, you will invite termites in close to your exterior walls. Termite swarmers are attracted to light, so it is important to keep lights off at night or switch white light bulbs to yellow, insect-resistant bulbs.  Click here for termite prevention tips.

How Do I Know If I Have Termites?

There are a few ways you can detect termites on your own. Pull up mulch or inspect any wood that is near your exterior walls. Examine your basement walls for the mud tubes termites create to go in and out of a structure. Look for swarmers or the shed wings swarmers leave behind. Be aware that termites are notoriously tricky to detect and can even elude a certified home inspector. If you want to be certain whether or not you have termites in your home, you need to hire a certified termite inspector.

How Do I Tell If I Have Termite Damage?

Because termite infestations can be so elusive, termites can spend a year or more eating away at a structure before it begins to show any obvious signs. If you have had termites for an extended period of time, you'll notice that doors and windows will become harder to open and close, walls will begin to bulge and floors will begin to dip. If you're hoping to discover termite damage before this, it may be difficult. Most termite damage will happen inside the wood of your home. If you notice areas of wallpaper, wood banisters or exterior fencing that appears as though they have been attacked by a hundred wood carving knives, you should have your home inspected by a professional.

Do Termites Only Eat Water-Damaged Wood?

No. They are lured in by moistened or decaying wood, but termites can eat any type of wood or wood products including drywall, wallpaper and furniture.

My Neighbor Has A Termite Problem, Should I Be Worried?

If you don't have termite protection around your home, you should be worried. When the termite colony in your neighbor's yard or house becomes mature, it will produce hundreds of termite swarmers. When this happens, your home is at great risk of a termite infestation.

How Do I Get Rid Of Termites?

Because of the invasive and stealthy manner in which these insects infest a structure, it is vital to have a pest expert treat and protect your home from termites each year.


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