Termite Signs And Identification – It is important to learn what the signs of termites are because termite infestation is a common problem. These insects can infest a home and destroy the house’s structure before you even realize that you might have a termite problem. For this reason it is important that you rid your home of termites at the first sign that they are in residence.
Termites do have an important natural role in the scheme of things but they are an ugly bug that can do a lot of damage to your home and other wooden structures. One of the main roles that these insects play is that they help to recycle rotted wood into the environment.
When looking for signs of termites in your house you have to know that there are a couple of different types of termites. One type is known as dry wood termites, and then there is the subterranean type. The subterranean type of termite is prevalent all of the US; you will most notice these insects during the spring and fall when they are swarming. These termites look a lot like flying ants, and can be found in hard to reach places, especially under cement. This species of termite prefer moist areas where they create their own safe environment with mud tunnels that lead to wood so they can eat.
Termite Signs And Identification | Types Of Termites
The two main signs of termites for this species will be the flying swarms and the mud tunnels; the best places to look for these mud tunnels are in crawl spaces and basements, under porches and decks. Look for signs of termites anywhere where it moist.
The dry wood termites are seen in dry desert regions such as Southern California. This is a larger species of termite and they can be found in the wooden structure of houses, barns, dead trees, etc. The dry wood termite has a red colored head, darker body and grayish wings.
Signs of termites of this type will leave little rounded piles of grainy like wood around places like windowsills, doors, and anywhere there is woodwork. This is the insect fecal matter containing wood they have been eating. You may also see the insects wings after they have shed them, and during the season when they are flying you may see them around ground areas where there are fallen dead trees, and around windowsills. The termites are getting ready to feast on the wood in your home, if they have not already been doing this.
If you detect signs of termites of either species, you will want to contact a professional exterminator to check for termite damage. Although there are some, do it yourself treatments, getting rid of termites should be done by a professional that knows how to best get rid of these bugs, if you let them continue eating the wood in your home you will end up with some serious damage.
If you do try and exterminate the termites on your own, make sure you follow instructions for safety, plus do a follow up In some regions of the United States it is almost a necessity to have regular treatments for termites by pest control experts, such as in the southern regions, as well as the dry southwestern regions. If you see any signs of termites you can be sure that there are many more termites than what you are seeing, and there may even be a great deal of damage.
Termites can cause some serious damage to your home, but termite identification can be tricky. Termites often resemble other insects, especially ants, and might not be visible at all. Learning how to distinguish termites from other insects and being able to recognize the signs of termite infestation may end up saving you a lot of time and money.
There are over 4000 species of termites in the world and about 10% of those are considered to pest to humans. Termites are eusocial insects, meaning that they live in hierarchical societies that are de-centralized and self-organized. They run off of swarm intelligence, meaning no central figure rules them; each individual insect makes its own decision to act accordingly for the colony.
Termites live in colonies that may be several million termites strong, and divide labor among workers, soldiers, queens and kings. Kings and queens are only responsible for reproducing, while workers and soldiers collect food, care for the young and protect the nest. Termites eat dead plant material, which in a forest environment is an ecologically important way of recycling wood material, but it can also mean termites can eat your home. They are able to consume and digest wood with the help of bacteria inside of their gut.
To help protect their colonies, termites build nests or mounds. They then consume wood material all around to feed their growing colony. There are two types of termites that feed on wood products inside of human homes, subterranean and dry wood feeding termites. Termites inside of your home will build nests and create tunnels to protect them as them move around looking for food. Termite identification is a blend of looking for insects and checking your home for evidence of their nests or food sources.
There are several differences between ants and termites. Often your will see ants inside of your home, usually in a line towards a food source or individually. You will probably not see a termite in your home. Termites may be seen if a hole develops where you can see into the wall, or flying termites may be seen going in or out of parts of the house. Flying termites represent your best chance for identifying them as termites.
Termites are generally white, although flying termites may be darker in color, and have six legs, straight antenna and an equally proportioned waist. Flying ants and flying termites appear similar, but termites have equal sized wings and ants do not. Ants also have bent antennae and thin waists. Flying termites will often be spotted coming out of support beams or foundations of your house. It you do see flying termites coming out of these places, it means you have got a problem.
Another way to identify a termite infestation is to check the under parts of the house, like the foundation or support beams, for termite tunnels. These look like mud tubes about the thickness of a pen, and are what termites use as protection when they move about. Break open a tube and you may even see little white termites. They create many tubes and use different tubes at different times.
Tubes are a clear sign of a termite problem. You may also see damaged wood. Hollowed out wood is a sign of termites and you can identify that the damage is from termites and not other wood destroying critters by checking for soil or mud deposits. Only termites leave small, sand like grains of soil or mud where they eat. Chewed sections of wood will also have soil around the edges and walls with burrowing termites behind them may begin to have a sunken or warped appearance.
Termite infestations may go on for years before they are discovered and the damage they can cause can be massive. Termite identification can be difficult even for professionals, so for best results have a professional check your home for termites every few years. If you do find signs of a termite infestation, get working on treatments and controls immediately to avoid further damage.
Although termites are a problem, they can be controlled but it is necessary to be vigilant and catch them before they can damage your property.