Houston Homeowner's Guide To Summer Termite Prevention
Termite damage is a serious nightmare for any property owner, so it’s imperative to address your termite control needs if you own a home in Houston. These wood-eating destroyers can cause large-scale, costly damage, and you should not ignore their presence. Termite control in Houston is hands down the best way to protect your home, giving you the greatest chance of avoiding infestation and the resulting damage.
To give you a better idea of what termites look like, consider the fact that termites generally measure anywhere from 1/8 – 1 inch in length. Their bodies have two segments, with a straight abdomen, two antennae, and six legs. They vary in color from translucent white to brown to black, depending on their life stage.
One of the first things to understand about how termites function is their caste system. The trajectory of a termite’s life cycle determines what member of the colony they become. All termites begin as eggs, and after that, they turn into larvae. Then, they develop into a specific member of their colony with a particular purpose. There are three castes that divide the colony. After the larval stage, adult termites become one of the following:
Worker Termites - These look like the typical image of a termite, resembling the general characteristics listed previously. These termites are sterile, blind, and wingless, and they perform important tasks that keep the colony running property, such as maintaining the nest and gathering food.
Soldier Termites - They’re similar to worker termites in terms of their appearance, but the only difference is that they have powerful jaws that help them protect the colony from intruders. Soldier termites protect the queen, primarily serving the purpose of security for the colony.
Swarmer Termites (aka “reproductive termites”) - Reproductive termites become nymphs after the larval stage, and then the nymph becomes an alate, which is also known as a reproductive termite. The alates have two sets of wings that are equal in length. They use these wings to act as swarmers, flying around the property in search of new breeding sites.
Here in Texas, there are two main termite types that we deal with. Houston's humid, subtropical climate makes it conducive to both types of termite activity. As a local homeowner, it’s a good idea to be familiar with these different species and what threats they pose specifically.
This is the most destructive termite species around; they can cause a building to collapse completely over time. They’re attracted to moist, warm climates, and you can usually find them near damaged wood and wood products. Infestation can occur both inside the interior and around the exterior of the property. They’re highly attracted to humidity and drawn to excess moisture around the foundation.
They need to be near soil and water sources to survive, as they are moisture pests. Their jaws are saw-toothed, and they feed on wood constantly, creating mud tubs to travel to the foundation of your structure and secure food. A small colony can eat 1/5 ounce – 5 grams of wood every single day. Colonies range in size from 60,000 to two million termites, and several colonies can co-exist at once.
These termites are different from subterranean termites as they do not operate in the same caste system and do not have workers. Their colonies are smaller in size and can have up to 2,500 members. These termites infest dry wood and do not require contact with soil. They access your property through small holes in damaged or weakened wood, entering via attics, vents, eaves, fasciae, and gaps around windows and doors. They infest dry wood and chew on support beams, floors, and walls. They are harder to see because they nest deep within the home's structural timbers. They emerge on hot, sunny days when temperatures are higher, and they can easily navigate to different places via wooden items like furniture.
Whatever kind of termites you’re dealing with, the fact is they can become a real problem around your home and expose you to some serious consequences. They may be small in size, but termites can cause large-scale destruction. Worse, termite colonies can go undiscovered for years because they rarely leave the colony and usually build them out of sight, making it hard for homeowners to spot them.
Why Termites Can Become A Problem For Houston Homeowners
Whichever way you spin it, termites are a big problem for Houston residents. As cellulose-feeders, termites eat common construction materials that make up the structure of your home. They eat and burrow through wood, creating intricate pathways called gallery tunnels in which they nest and travel from site to site.
As termites weaken the wood, they damage the structural integrity of your property and put you and everyone on the premises at risk. They erode the structural timbers of your house, making it an unsafe environment for you and your loved ones. Aside from the safety threat posed by termite damage, there are also financial repercussions to face.
The NPMA (National Pest Management Association) estimates that U.S. home and business owners spend around five billion dollars annually on termite repair and prevention costs. Termite damage costs the average homeowner around $3,000. What makes things worse is that most homeowners’ insurance plans don’t even cover termite damage, leaving the cost entirely up to you. That’s a colossal expense, and the best way to avoid it is to proactively address your termite control needs.
How To Tell If Your Home Has Termites
Detecting termite activity at its earliest stages is the best way to get ahead of the problem, allowing you to stop the spread of the infestation and minimize the scope of the damage. The first step is knowing how to tell if your home has termites in the first place. To aid you in your termite activity detection efforts, here are some common signs of termite infestation:
Coming across wings discarded on the floor near doors and windows (from termite swarmers)
Discovering ceilings and walls that buckle, and crumbling windowsills
Discovering signs of water damage to wood or other structural elements
Finding drooping drywall, loose tiles, and painted walls that bubble and peel
Finding tight-fitting doors and windows that are hard to open and close
Hearing excessively squeaky floors that make noise whenever you walk around
Hearing hollow noises when tapping or knocking on wood
Hearing small tapping sounds or clicking noises coming from inside the walls
Noticing the presence of damp, damaged, rotting, or weakened wood
Noticing mud tubes in the ground traveling to openings along your foundation
Noticing wood structures with maze-like designs and gallery tunnels through drywall
Seeing active termite swarmers flying around doorways, walls, windows, etc.
Seeing visible cracks and crevices along the foundation
Seeing worker termites in the soil; they are translucent, which makes them look like white ants
If you think there may be termites in your Houston home, it’s best to take action right away. Even if you don’t notice any of these signs, being proactive in your prevention efforts is a great way to tackle your termite control needs effectively.
How To Prevent Termites From Getting To Your Home
When it comes to preventing termites around your Houston home, it’s crucial to know that termites are moisture pests. Not only do they depend on water to survive, but they produce moisture when they feed, so reducing sources of moisture in and around your home can help you avoid a termite infestation. Eliminating attractants and conducive conditions around the house can aid you in your termite control efforts, and taking proactive measures is the best way to prevent infestation.
Here are some tips for keeping termites out of your home:
Always monitor mulch distribution as mulch contains moisture.
Be sure that your soil has good drainage to reduce moisture.
Check any wood or wooden items brought onto your property.
Do not permit any wood-to-soil contact throughout the property.
Eliminate excess moisture around the property.
Fix leaky pipes, faulty faucets, and plumbing issues.
Get rid of any rotting or moisture-damaged wood.
Get your HVAC unit serviced on a regular basis to control moisture levels.
Install vent fans in moisture-rich areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
Keep water diverted away from the house by maintaining functional gutters.
Keep woodpiles and wooden structures a good distance from the house.
Make sure outdoor lights are turned off at night, as termites are drawn to light sources.
Put a dehumidifier in moisture-rich areas of the house.
Repair downspouts to extend further away from the house.
Routinely apply loose mortar or weather stripping around doors and windows.
Use indoor plants that are known for absorbing humidity.
These efforts can assist you greatly in minimizing your exposure to termites. However, the truth is that no matter how diligent you are in your prevention efforts, a termite infestation can be hard to detect and even harder to control.
The only guaranteed way to protect your home and your loved ones is to secure ongoing services from a team of highly experienced pest professionals. That’s why we’re here. Our professional termite inspections are scheduled to make sure your home is guarded against these wood-eaters all year long.
Call Modern Pest Control For Professional Ongoing Termite Protection
As the “silent destroyers” of the pest world, termites undoubtedly pose a huge threat to the structural integrity of your home as well as the safety of those inside the house. At the first sign of termites, call in the professionals right away. It’s not a good idea to deal with the problem on your own. While there are a variety of DIY treatments, these methods are ineffective in the long run and usually end up costing you more money and more time.
The best, most effective way to address termite activity in your Houston home is to reach out to your local team of pest professionals. That is the only guaranteed way to keep your house protected from the detriments of termite infestation. That’s why the team at Modern Pest Control is here to address your termite control needs. We take care of termites in the home, and the lawn, wood, and soil using trusted brand name products like Sentricon® to bring you guaranteed results.
Our termite control process includes the following steps:
- Inspection - One of our licensed pest control technicians arrives at your home to conduct a full interior and exterior inspection, looking for signs of termite activity as well as entry points, conducive conditions, and active areas.
- Treatment - We install Sentricon® stations at precise intervals around your property. The Recruit HD termite bait attracts termites, causing them to leave a sent trail that draws the rest of their colony. They take this bait back to their territories, effectively eliminating the population.
- Ongoing Protection - We use the Sentricon® System to monitor your property for any new termite activity, to bring you continuous protection from these destructive wood-eating pests.
One of our main termite treatments is Sentricon®. There are a variety of benefits to the Sentricon® System, and we’re proud to offer this safe, effective technology to successfully exterminate termites from your home and protect you from the perils of infestation.
Sentricon® is a green product that uses minimally active ingredients to eliminate entire termite colonies around your property, including the queen of the colony. It strategically uses natural termite behavior, such as the foraging nature of worker termites, to draw them to the bait, which they then spread to their colonies. It is our preferred method of treatment because your safety and well-being, as well as that of the environment we live in, is our top priority.
Call today to discuss your termite control needs and we’ll get the ball rolling right away. We look forward to serving you.