X-Pert - Protect your home from termites
Termites are an insect species that consume wood and other cellulose materials. Although some structures are more prone to termite attack every house is susceptible to potential termite invasion. Many homeowners worry about fire or flooding, but termite damage is actually much more common.
Even if your home is built primarily of brick or stone, you can still find yourself with a termite problem, because structural supports as well as other building components are constructed of wood and other cellulose containing materials.
Over time, termite damage can become significant. Termite damage weakens wood which can eventually lead to costly repairs and structural failure.
In the Mid Atlantic states we typically find Subterranean Termites.
Termites are social insects which live in colonies. They originate from the soil and generally enter structures undetected via hidden pathways in foundation walls and floors. They primarily live below the soil surface.
Although they can be a menace they are extremely important to the environment because they break down dead plant material converting it to humus. Like any pest, termites become a problem when they invade your living space.
The most common symptoms of termite activity include:
- Swarmers - Generally in late winter / early spring winged reproductive termites emerge and make short flight to areas of bright light. This includes windows, where they often shed their wings leaving a tell tale sign of their presence.
- Shelter Tubes - Termites build mud tubes to protect themselves from dry air and sunlight as they travel from their underground colony into your house.
Damage - As termite workers consume wood they create honey combed galleries which run parallel to the grain of the wood. There is often more damage than at first thought due to their secretive lifestyle and consumption of wood from the inside out.
People often confuse termites with winged ants, especially when they swarm.
Key differences include:
- The bodies of ants have a narrow constriction or waist, termites do not.
- Termite wings are of equal length, ants have a long pair of wings and a short pair of wings.
- All ants have elbowed antennae and termites have straight antennae.