September 26, 2019
When we talk about termites in the Greater Houston area, we're usually referring to subterranean termites because when it comes to destroying homes and businesses, this type of termite is head and shoulders above the rest. Subterranean termites cost U.S. property owners billions of dollars each year, while the combined damage of every other type of termite is only in the hundreds of millions. Why are subterranean termites so destructive? Their destructiveness is linked to their ability to avoid detection. If you want to stop termites from taking a bite out of your Houston home, you need to understand what it takes to detect these wood-destroying organisms.
Most termites will never reveal themselves. They live underground or inside the wood they are feeding on. Only one type of termite in a colony will expose itself to the light. We call them swarmers, due to the way they swarm together, but they're more accurately called male and female reproductives. The job of these reproductives is to exit their nests, pair off with each other, find locations to establish new nests, and mate. This is one of the ways termites spread. If you see winged insects crawling on your home, it is important to understand a few things:
The presence of two winged termites is a sign of an impending infestation. When you see dozens or hundreds on your exterior walls, it is a warning sign of a current and mature infestation on your property.
If you find termite swarmers crawling around on the inside of your home, you should know that those swarmers are drawn to light. They didn't get into your home. They emerged inside and are trying to get out.
When you see winged insects, it is important to be able to tell the difference between termite swarmers and flying ants. It is actually pretty easy. Flying ants look like ants with wings. Termites do not have an ant shape. They lack the pinched waist of an ant. If you're looking at winged insects from a distance, you can tell termites from ants by their wings. Termites have wings that are noticeably white, noticeably longer than their bodies, and rounded at the tips.
Subterranean termites require moisture to survive. If they are exposed to the air, they dry out and die. For this reason, they build shelter tubes from the soil to the wood of homes. If termites have infested your home, you may be able to find these shelter tubes but it isn't easy. Worker termites create these tubes in dark, hard-to-get-into locations around, and also inside, Houston homes. Look for them...
- on your foundation wall, beneath your deck, porch, stairs or some other external structure.
- on your foundation wall, within the crawl space under your home.
- on basement walls.
- on interior walls, especially in rooms with high humidity.
These shelter tubes are made of compacted mud and are the same color as the soil around your home. They can be as thin as a pencil or much larger when several tubes are created in one spot.
The best way to detect and eliminate subterranean termites is to have the Sentricon® System with Always Active™ installed around your property. If you're not familiar with Sentricon®, it is the #1 termite bait product in the U.S. and it has the awards to prove that it works. Unfortunately, this product must be put in place and maintained by a Certified Sentricon® Installer. This is to ensure proper deployment and effective results. The folks at Sentricon® care about their name and they understand that their systems must be properly installed and managed to achieve 100% control of termites and complete elimination of termite colonies. This dedication has not been shown by other termite bait manufacturers and the results have caused many consumers to lose confidence in termite bait. We're here to tell you that bait doesn't just work, it is the most effective way to stop termites. The greatest part is you don't have to take our word for it. When you have the Sentricon® System installed, you'll know when this system stops termites. Your technician will be able to show you which stations have activity and when that activity stops. You won't get that kind of feedback from a liquid termiticide treatment.
If you'd like to learn more about this termite control system or you'd like Sentricon® with Always Active™ installed around your Houston home, we can help. Reach out to us today to set up an appointment.