Identifying Termite Activity On Your Spring Property
You may not think so by looking at them, but termites have a pretty intricate social structure. They live in large colonies and are separated by a caste system, which is a distinct division within a certain species of insects. Each caste has a specific task to perform and their characteristics are adapted according to their particular function.
There are three main castes in a termite colony:
Reproductives: These are the kings and the queens of the colony. Their primary responsibility is to fly around and mate, then nest in new places to create new colonies. There are a handful of kings, but only one queen.
Soldiers: These are the guards of the colony. They protect the nest and stop any intruders from entering.
Workers: These are the most common type of termites in the colony. They gather food, tend to eggs, repair the nest, and keep things clean, ensuring that the colony runs smoothly.
The caste system helps the colony operate efficiently, giving everyone a distinct purpose to fulfill. Most termites stay in their caste, but soldiers are capable of turning into workers or reproductive termites if there is a shortage of individuals in other castes.
So, how do you know if you have termites in your house? There are some telltale signs of termite damage that can indicate a possible infestation.
Damaged Wood: When termites damage wood, if they are drywood termites, they leave pellets and piles of powder where they burrow. If wood is damaged, it can make a hollow sound when you knock on it and it may be easily pierced with a screwdriver. Termites also produce moisture when they feed, and this can warp wood, causing doors and windows to become too tight to close properly.
Sounds: If you put your ear close to the wall, you may be able to hear noises. Termites are known to bang their heads against wood to warn others of danger.
White Ants: Oftentimes, people may think they are seeing white ants, but there is no such thing! These are in fact termites. Worker termites, in particular, have light, cream-colored bodies. So, if you see ants that look white, they are likely termites.
Swarmers: Termites that are a part of the colony’s reproductive caste are the only variety that have wings and the ability to see. They’re known to fly around in sizable groups, seeking out places to nest and build new homes. Since they’re attracted to light, you may find their cast-off wings on the floor near doors and windows.
Gallery Tunnels: Termites make little tubes as a way to shelter themselves between nests and feeding sites. They use their saliva and dirt to create little passageways that allow them to travel safely.
To make your home less attractive to termites, and therefore less susceptible to an infestation, there are a number of things to pay attention to.
Starting from the outside of the house, make sure there’s a considerable distance between your home and any soil or wood surrounding it. Termites can easily burrow through their self-made tunnels to travel to a cozier destination inside your house.
Monitor your foundation and house exterior for any signs of termite damage. Strengthen your weather stripping and replace the mortar around the doors and windows. You’ll also want to make sure your roof shingles, soffits, fascias, and box ends are all in good shape.
While you’re up there, check that your gutters and spouts are functioning properly, as you want to keep as much moisture away from the house as possible. Termites need moisture to survive, so repair any faulty pipes or leaky faucets and make sure your air conditioning is working correctly.
Even if you make a checklist and promise to monitor everything on a regular basis, you probably won't be able to totally avoid termites on your own. DIY termite control takes up a lot of your time, a large chunk of money, and you’re left with no guarantees. The smartest and most efficient way to deal with a termite infestation is to call in the professionals.
From the first sign of termite activity, the experts at Kingston Pest Control are eager and ready to help you rid your property of these relentless intruders. We offer comprehensive termite control services to both residential and commercial properties all around Houston and the surrounding Harris County areas. After a thorough inspection, our specialists come up with a customized plan to meet your particular pest prevention needs. If your home or business is in the Houston/The Woodlands/Sugar Land metropolitan area and you’re suspicious of a possible termite infestation, pick up the phone and call us today.