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Termites 101
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Termites 101


Are you aware that termites are Texasís most devastating insect? They can literally eat your home to the ground. When examining your home and its grounds, there are key things to look for in determining if termites are a threat. First, you need to look for thick-waisted flying ant like insects. Pay attention to see if there are wings present and if pellets are seen dropping from the wood where the insects are found. Also pay attention to see if soft spongy wood is present in the area being examined. If you have suspicions that you have a termite problem, consult a reputable licensed contractor immediately so that a thorough examination of your property can be done. It is important to educate yourself as much as possible so that you can be prepared and wonít have any surprises.

Termite Education:

Do Termites only attack old, rundown buildings?
Termites have been found in buildings as early as four months after construction. Every building fabricated wholly or partly of wood is susceptible to termite infestation.

Are there different kinds of termites?
Entomologists have identified over 2,300 species worldwide, 45 of which exist in the United States. Generally, homeowners only need to worry about two types: Subterranean and dry wood termites. Each must be dealt with separately.

Are there other wood destroying insects to worry about?
Besides termites, there are many other insects which can feed on the food in your home. Powder-post beetles are second only to termites in the severity of their destruction. Like termites, they can also do extensive damage before their presence is known.

If Iíve never seen any evidence of dry wood termites or powder-post beetles, does that mean my home is free from wood-destroying pests?
Not necessarily. These pests work from the inside out and are extremely difficult to detect. Dry wood termites are especially difficult because with the exception of rarely seen swarmers, the other members of the colony spend their entire lives inside the wood.

Termites have been around for more than 250 million years since dinosaurs, when all they did was devour trees in forests. Today, termites eat away homes to the tune of more than $5 billion per year in property damage to more than 600,000 homes in the United States. A queen termite can live up to 25 years, laying up to 60,000 eggs in her lifetime. Termites will travel up to 250 feet from their nests. Research shows termites work 24 hours per day. Termite control in the home has three basic facets: prevention, barrier application or baiting, and elimination. Homeowners can do a great deal to discourage termite infestations by never stacking old scraps of lumber or firewood next to or near a home and by calling a pest control professional once a year to make sure the termites havenít gained access.

Termites are a species of Wood Destroying Insect. There are many species of Wood Destroying Insects here in the Southeast, including Carpenter Ants, Carpenter Bees, and Powder-Post Beetles, to name a few. Termites are insects that feed on wood and serve an important function in nature by converting dead trees into organic matter. Unfortunately, the wood in buildings is equally appetizing to termites and they cause serious damage to residential and commercial buildings. Termites are dark brown to brownish black and have two pairs of equal-size wings that extend well beyond the body. Swarms are common in spring and fall, especially after a rain. After a flight, the winged males and females return to the ground and shed their wings. The wingless males and females pair off and search for sources of wood and moisture in soil. Termites often infest buildings and damage lumber, wood panels, flooring, sheetrock, wallpaper, plastics, paper products and fabric made of plant fibers. The most serious damage is the loss of structural strength. Other costly losses include attacks on flooring, carpeting, artwork, books, clothing, furniture and valuable papers. That is why it is imperative to the homeowner to have the home treated at the first signs of a termite invasion or infestation.



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