FAQ About Termites

  • There is an old saying; there are two kinds of houses, those with termites and those that will get termites. Seriously, there is no guarantee that a house will or will not get termites. Termites are all around us in the soil. They convert thousands of pounds of dead trees and other forms of cellulose to organic matter each year. They are constantly foraging for food sources. They do not intentionally set out to destroy your house; they just see it as another food source. If your home has not been treated and they are in your neighbor’s house, chances are they will eventually run into yours. 

  • The whole purpose in treating a house with liquid termiticides is to kill or repel the termites and to provide a continuous barrier around and under the entire structure. Drilling inside the house enables the pest management professional to create a more thorough barrier. 

  • If your neighbors’ house has termites, this does not mean your house will have them. It does mean that your house is at above average risk of a termite infestation. Inspections can be made for a modest cost so it is probably a good idea to have your home inspected periodically. 

  • Legally yes, but total gallons of solution required to properly treat an average size structure can easily be 200, 300, or even 400 gallons. Unless you have the proper equipment, properly treating your home could be difficult and time consuming. In addition, the termiticides available to the homeowner for termite treatments are limited, and if bought retail, they may be expensive. Therefore, unless you are experienced and have the proper equipment, it is best to let a pest management professional treat the structure. 

  • Many houses have remained termite free for years while some new houses get termites in just a few weeks or months. If your house was pretreated and you have a termite infestation in less than 1 year, it is possible that during construction your home did not get a continuous termiticide barrier around and under it. Also, the termiticide barrier may have been disturbed in some way such as planting shrubs around the foundation or adding sidewalks or patios after the final grade treatment. 

  • If use correctly, most termiticides, should give control for at least 5 years. If the house was not treated properly or the treated barrier around the house was disturbed, this could leave a pathway to the structure. Termites foraging in the soil will find the weakest spots in a barrier, and eventually penetrate to the house. If you are still under contract with a pest control company, give them a call and let them evaluate the problem. One thing to remember is always read the contract and make sure that you do not do anything to void the warranty, such as new construction, woodpiles near the house, or changing the grade of the soil outside the foundation. 

  • First, do not panic. Although termites can do severe damage, they work very slowly. Your house will not collapse overnight. If your house has been treated in the past five years, call the company that did the treatment. If your house has never been treated, call some local pest control companies and get estimates for their termite control services. These companies can inspect your house and determine whether you actually have termites, and can provide proper treatments. 

  • Physical differences between the two groups are often subtle, but there are characters that easily distinguish the two groups. The main differences between ants and termites are ants have a constriction of the abdomen between the thorax and the rest of the abdomen while termites are broadly joined between the thorax and abdomen. In other words, ants have a narrow or pinched waist and termites do not. The front and hind wings of termites are approximately equal in size while the hind wings of ants are much smaller than their front wings. The antennae of ants are elbowed after the first two segments. Termite antennae are not elbowed but appear like a string of beads. 

  • Any source of cellulose would be attractive to termites. Damp conditions under layers of mulch are ideal habitat for termites. Landscape mulch should be used sparingly and care should be taken not to place mulch against wood siding, window sills or door thresholds. 

  • Swarming termites inside your house are a sure sign. Window sills and door frames should be checked for damage. Mud tubes on walls, along baseboards or in cracks and crevices indicate termites. It may be necessary to open small holes in sheetrock to see termite tubes on wall studs.