About of Termites

What are some signs of termites?
Unless there are signs of active termite infestation, you probably won’t detect termites because they forage and hang out hidden from view. The most common way of detecting termites include discarded wings. Not so obvious signs include wood that sounds hollow when tapped, cracked or bubbling paint and termite droppings that look like sawdust (frass).

What do termites feed on?
They feed on cellulose-based material like wood, books, boxes, furniture and drywall coverings. Termites are constantly foraging and have been found over 150 feet from a colony.

Why are termites a threat to my home?
Termite colonies work 24 hours a day, and signs of termite infestations can go undiscovered until serious damage is done. Because homeowners insurance typically does not cover termite damage, termite detection and continued termite treatment are the best ways to help protect your property.

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Conducive Termite Conditions

When is the best time to treat for termites?
The best time to treat for termites is before they infest a structure. Termite control is an ongoing process; a control plan should be in place to avoid an infestation and damage repair costs.

Isn't it customary for the builder of a new home to protect it against termites?
There are only a few states that require soil pretreatment for control of subterranean termites during construction. It is usually the mortgage lender that requires this, especially in termite-prone areas.

I have an old tree stump about three feet from the house that is infested with termites, mostly underground. I inspected the house and it is free of termites. Should I have the stump treated for termites?
In areas of the country where termites are common, it is not unusual to find them in the ground, in tree stumps or in debris near a structure. If the structure has not been treated to control or prevent termite entry, one should maintain a close watch for activity in the structure, and/or have a termite control professional implement a termite control program.

Subterranean termites nest in the ground and forage for food (cellulose or wood) over areas up to 1/2 acre or more in size. There is a high probability that if they are detected close to the structure they will eventually infest the structure – if they have not done so already. Treating the stump will not have any great impact on the colony or its continued search for new food sources. Contact your local Terminix office for an inspection, and to find out your control options.

I have recently moved, but my old house had a termite infestation. Can you offer any advice to prevent this from happening at my new house?
As a homeowner, you can take some action in making your home less attractive to termite infestation. Although this will not prevent or control potential entry by subterranean termites, these recommendations will reduce or eliminate some of the "conducive" conditions that make it easier for termites to gain entry.

Preventive action makes good sense in any termite-prone area, and you should also consider having a termite control professional implement a termite control program before you notice an infestation.

Remove all wood debris from around your home, especially after new construction and remodeling. This includes wood from boards along foundations, tree stumps and roots, as well as firewood stacked near the house.
Since termites need moisture to survive, grade the soil around your foundation so it carries water away from the house. Maintain gutters and downspouts in good repair.

I have noticed some termite or pest excrement that has fallen from the ceiling. How can I tell if it is from termites or other insects?
Drywood termites produce small bun-shaped pellets as excrement. This often accumulates on surfaces directly below infested areas. Evidence of activity can include small "pin holes" in the surface of the infested area, and the droppings accumulating below. Winged termites, called swarmers, might also be observed. The adult reproductives swarm to start new infestations in other areas of the structure. This usually occurs between early summer and late summer.

I live in a stucco home. Should I be concerned with termites?
The main reason stucco homes and subterranean termites don't mix is that the stucco exterior finish often extends beneath the soil level around the exterior of the structure. A small space often develops between the foundation and the stucco finish, and this permits termite entry that is completely hidden from view.

Another situation involves the "synthetic" stucco finishes that have a base layer of rigid foam board. This type also often extends beneath the soil level, and once the termites access the foam, they can move anywhere around the structure. This type of exterior finish is also prone to moisture intrusion, which will help support the termites once they get in.

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