What are termites?
Termites feed on items made of cellulose, primarily wood, and are commonly found feeding on tree stumps, fallen trees, wooden fixtures, and the structural wood of homes and businesses. Termites living outside are considered beneficial insects as they help to break-down decaying matter and return those nutrients back to the soil. But when termites find their way inside homes and businesses, they quickly turn from beneficial to destructive!
What termites look like depends on their exact species and which caste they are a part of. In a termite colony, there are three different castes or groups of termites that work together to maintain and prosper the colony:
- Worker termites make up the majority of the termite colony and their job is to gather food. Termite workers have soft, creamy-white bodies, and are blind and wingless.
- The main responsibility of soldier termites is guarding the termite colony against danger, which is typically ants that are trying to invade the colony. They are quite a bit larger than worker termites and have large, elongated heads that are typically yellow in color, short legs, and large, powerful jaws.
- The reproductive members of the colony are the largest and are dark-brown to black in color. Reproductive termites have wings which allow them to swarm from their mature colonies, find a mate, and start a new termite colony. The queens are also a member of this category, though they are more or less in a category of their own.
Are termites dangerous?
Termites rarely come into contact with people and, therefore, pose no direct threat to us. Termites don't bite or sting and aren't known to transmit diseases to people, so they aren't considered dangerous in the typical sense. However, termites are actually still considered a dangerous insect species due to the extensive structural damages they can cause to properties as they tunnel through and feed on the structural wood of the homes and businesses they invade.
Because of their sneaky nature and the fact that they invade our homes in secluded, out-of-the-way areas, termites often go unnoticed when they enter homes, and therefore have the potential to create significant damage before their presence is discovered. In fact, termite infestations often go on for months or even years without being noticed, but the damage that these wood-destroying pests can cause inside the home or business they are invading during that period of time can be widespread and very costly to repair; what's worse is that most homeowner insurance policies don't cover termite damage, as they consider this kind of damage preventable!
Why do I have a termite problem?
The most likely reason that termites are on your property or inside your home or business is that it's providing them with easy access to their preferred food source which is wood; termites are especially attracted to wood that has been damaged by water, is decaying, or that is in direct contact with the soil. When out in nature, termites can be found feeding on fallen trees, tree stumps, and decaying logs and leaves. When invading homes and other structures, termites will first be attracted to water-damaged structural wood. If the infestation is allowed to continue, they will consume both sound wood and non-wood items such as insulation, plastic plumbing pipes, and sub-flooring.
Where are termites commonly found?
The termites in West Tennessee typically nest in the ground underneath the soil and do not establish their colonies inside the wood they are feeding on like some other species. Instead, they travel back and forth from their nests in the ground to their food source through underground tunnels or mud tubes that they create. Termite mud tubes are about the width of a pencil and run along the ground, up the foundation, and along the basement walls of the building they have infested.
How do I get rid of termites?
The best way to deal with a termite problem is to partner with a trusted pest control provider. At HTP Termite & Pest Control, Inc., we offer the responsive services needed to provide customized residential and commercial treatment programs for all our customers. Our technicians utilize modern treatments as well as eco-friendly and EPA-registered products to solve termite problems. To learn more about our termite protection program and how it can protect your home from termites, reach out to us!
How can I prevent termites in the future?
Preventing problems with termites can be a difficult task. There are a few things you can do in and around your home to discourage them from making themselves comfortable:
- Clear out your gutters of any obstructions to prevent water build-up.
- Repair any leaky pipes, faucets, or fixtures inside or outside your home or business.
- Install weather stripping around all your exterior windows and doors.
- Reduce the moisture levels inside your home by using de-humidifiers.
- Ensure that your crawl spaces are well-ventilated to avoid moisture build-up.
- Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, and other organic debris from your property.
- Replace any wood inside your home that has been damaged by water with sound wood.
- Limit the soil-to-wood contact on your property to avoid attracting termites.
- Trim back the limbs of trees and shrubs away from the exterior of your building to help the soil dry out.
- Create a stone barrier between any soil or mulch and the foundation of your home or business.