A termite infestation can be a costly problem. Learn about termites and what to do if they are trying to eat you out of house and home.

Termite Identification

What is a termite? In simple terms, a termite is a subterranean insect that lives in colonies and feeds on wood. Not a problem if the wood is a decaying tree in the woods, but quite a problem if the wood is your deck or house frame.

Termite colonies contain a queen, workers, soldiers, and swarmers. The workers are pale and resemble a cross between an ant and a grub. They are hard to spot and are usually only discovered when damaged wood is broken apart. The winged swarmers shed their wings in the spring, and these discarded wings are often the first sign that termites are present.

In Pennsylvania, the most common and most destructive termite is the eastern subterranean termite. Each colony can have several million termites. In areas of high termite density, 1 in 5 homes can be affected, causing millions of dollars of damage each year.

These termites feed on the soft sections of your timber, leaving the harder material untouched. Often, affected timbers become almost hollow shells, packed only with dirt and termite channels. These hollow timbers become warm and moist — the perfect environment for termites but structurally devastating to your home.

Termite Examination

If termites made your home a food source, you will be able to find telltale signs beyond the appearance of living termites or their discarded wings. Examine several key areas of your home to spot an infestation.

Where to Look

In Pennsylvania, the most common places for termite infestations are basements and cellars, or anywhere that is moist. Termites will make their way into studs, joists, and subfloors connected to these damp basement areas.

Any wood posts, decks, and beams that touch bare earth or concrete subfloors are also vulnerable to termites, as are window frames.

The wood around chimneys, furnace ducts, and hot water heaters attract termites as well, as they seek warmth during the winter months.

What to Look for

Termite-damaged wood will be soft and porous. A traditional tool to locate termite damage is a screwdriver. Poke the screwdriver at your wood. If it probes into the wood, you have a problem. You might even uncover some worker termites in the process.

Termites are not the sole cause of soft wood. Mold or dry rot may be to blame. Examine your space for other clues of an infestation. If you do not uncover any termites, look for signs of passages and termite tubes. These will look like hollowed-out pipes or carved lines in the wood. You may see the entrance and exit paths termites carve into your timbers.

Termite Termination

Termites will not destroy your home overnight but will gradually eat away at your house for years, even decades, if not eliminated. If you have found evidence of termites in your home, call a licensed termite control professional. They will eliminate those termites with one of two basic treatment options.

Liquid Pesticides

Liquid pesticides form a barrier around your home, as chemicals are applied in a perimeter at your foundation. Termites pass through this chemical fence on their way to and from their colony. Hopefully, they carry this poison back to their nest.

Bait Traps

Bait traps are positioned in areas of termite traffic. The termites are attracted to the bait and carry it back to feed their young. The bait is laced with chemicals that stop termite young from maturing into workers. This will kill the colony over time.

Work with your certified termite control professional to choose the termite control technique that is best for you and your home.

Do not panic if you find termites, but do act right away to prevent further damage. Contact Environmental Services Pest Control, LLC, today! We are FHA-VA termite certified for your termite control needs.