Frequently Asked Questions about Termites
1. What are termites?
Termites are wood-destroying insects. Their presence dates back to the dinosaurs. While they play an important role in nature, experts estimate they cause $5 billion of property damage each year.
2. Are there different kinds of termites?
Yes, the three major kinds of termites in the United States are dampwood, drywood and subterranean. Dampwood termites commonly live in heavily forested areas of the country as they prefer wet wood; while, drywood termites, much more rare in the United States, prefer extremely dry wood. Subterranean termites require moist environments, live
mainly in the soil and are the most destructive species.
3. How do you recognize termites?
Depending on your geographical location, termite swarms should be visible in the early spring. Termite swarms can be confused with flying ants. Termites shed wings, often leaving files of wings; ants don’t shed wings. Telltale signs of termite infestation include soft wood in the home, mud tubes in the interior or exterior of your home (often near the
foundation), and darkening or blistering of wood structures.
4. What is the biology of a termite?
Termites are social insects that live in colonies. Each termite has a specific role in the colony. The queen lays the eggs - possibly several thousand each day in some kinds of termites. Workers termites are the only ones that cause damage to wood – their job is to gather food and enlarge the colony. Soldiers have huge heads and long jaws they use to
protect the colony from enemies. The termites that you may see are the winged reproductives that swarm in early spring.
5. How much damage do termites cause?
It is often said that there are two kinds of homes: those that have had termites and those that will get them. Termites work 24 hours/7 days a week at damaging the wood in and around a structure. And, while they cause $5 billion in damage each year, there is no reason to think that termites cannot be controlled.
6. When does a homeowner see termites?
Termites swarm in the early spring, depending on their geographical location.
7. What can a homeowner do to prevent termites?
The most important thing is to remove the conducive conditions termites need to survive. Termites love moisture; avoid moisture accumulation around the foundation of your home. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents. Be sure to remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., left in place after the building was constructed. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building. Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil. An 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the
building is ideal. It doesn’t hurt to routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of termite damage.
8. Does homeowner's insurance cover termite damage?
Homeowner’s insurance typically does not cover termite damage.
9. How difficult are termites to treat?
Termites are nearly impossible for homeowners to treat on their own. On the other hand, pest control professionals have the training, expertise and technology to eliminate termite infestations.
10. Why should someone hire a professional instead of attempting to control their pest problems by themselves?
Just as you wouldn’t prescribe medicine for yourself or drill your own cavities – you shouldn’t attempt to control termites – or other pests -- on your own. The products, equipment and expertise offered by a Pest Management Professional far surpasses what a homeowner could do on his own. The cost of professional protection is well worth the
11. Is it true that termites are only a problem in southeastern states?
Termites are a problem in homes from New England to Florida, throughout the Midwest and to California. All states except Alaska have some degree of termite pressure. Having your home preventatively treated with the Advance Termite Bait System is a sound decision to protect your largest investment.