What Do I Do If I Think My Houston Home Has Termites?
If you’ve been listening to the news in Houston lately, you’ve probably heard about the recent swarms of termites. Hearing people talk about dark clouds of these flying pests in the air, or worse, in the house, is enough to get you wondering if you might have a termite problem in your home. Termites are common pests in Houston, and if you suspect you may have an infestation, it is time to take action.
The climate in Houston is ideal for many pests to be active, especially in the warmer, more humid months, and termites are no exception. This article explains everything you need to know about the three types of termites Houston pest control companies find in homes: Formosan, subterranean, and drywood termites.
A termite infestation in your home can cause significant damage before anyone realizes they are around, eating wood and cellulose in your home 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In this article, we’ll review some signs to watch for that indicate termite presence. Learning some of the more noticeable signs can help you catch infestations early on and limit the damage they can do.
We’ll also explore the types of damage the various species can cause and which parts of your home they will likely chew their way through. You’ve probably already heard about the billions of dollars worth of property damage termites in the U.S. cause yearly, but some species are more destructive than others. One species in the Houston area can cause severe damage in just six months.
We will review the factors that attract termites to homes to help you find any areas you need to repair or eliminate to help prevent these insects. If you are already dealing with an infestation, we will help you find the best way to eradicate these destructive pests. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about termites with the pest management professionals at Modern Pest Control.
What Are The Signs Of Termites?
It may be hard to believe, but some species of termites in the walls of your home can chew away at the wood for years undetected. Knowing some signs of this pest can help you spot a problem sooner and protect your home from additional damage.
Let’s start with the first and most obvious sign, seeing actual termites. Earlier, we mentioned the news about swarming termites. Seeing these winged swarming termites on your Houston property is a sure sign that you have an infestation or that one close to your home is checking out your property to see if it is suitable for them to nest.
Swarming termites are part of the reproductive caste in a colony. When a colony matures, it will send these flying termites out of the nest to locate a place to start a new colony. When they find a good location with a nearby food source (your house), they shed their wings and begin the process of mating as a new queen and king.
Of the three species common to this area, each has a particular environmental trigger that tells them it is time to swarm. Formosan termites are the ones making the news in Houston lately. They swarm in late spring or early summer, in the evening after a warm rainy day, and people often notice large groups flying around their property or in the house.
Subterranean termites usually swarm in the spring, the morning after a warm rainy day, and dry wood termites are most likely to swarm on sunny warm days after a sudden increase in temperature. Drywood termites infestations can occur without a swarm, too, because these insects are sometimes unknowingly carried into homes via infested picture frames or furniture.
If you see a termite swarm in your house or yard, it is best to contact a local company that offers termite control as soon as possible. An inspection can potentially save you thousands of dollars in repairs.
Now that you know how to watch for the start of an infestation, we’ll review the potential cues that you already have a termite problem. Let’s take a quick look at some of the signs of termites in your home to be on the lookout for, and we’ll provide further information below:
- Discarded wings near windows, doors, and vents
- Small round holes in wood with frass under them
- Mud tubes on the exterior of the house
- Peeling, warped, or sagging drywall
- Soft wood that sounds hollow
- Blistering or darkening wood
- Bubbling or uneven paint
- Warped floorboards
All three species of termite swarmers in Houston are drawn to light sources, so it can help to keep an eye out near window sills and doors for discarded wings, as these are sure signs of activity. Swarmers are sometimes confused with flying ants. To help you differentiate them, termites have wings that are equal in size, while flying ants have bigger front wings.
Dry wood termites are known for the round holes in wood with frass below. Frass is piles of termite droppings that look like sawdust. As their name suggests, these termites infest hard, dry wood, including anything from furniture to structural timbers.
Mud tubes on your home’s exterior, usually near the foundation, indicate the presence of Formosan or subterranean termites. These two species live underground and travel in mud tubes made of wood and soil between their nest and food source. Both species have high moisture needs, and the mud tubes help to keep them from drying out.
Termites chew wood from the inside out, so you might notice wood darkening in color or blistering. If you tap on the wood, it will sound hollow. Bubbling or uneven paint is a sign of moisture buildup from either water damage or termites.
If you see signs of termites or have a suspicion there may be a problem, the best way to know for sure is to contact us at Modern Pest Control. Our pest management professionals can inspect your property, determine whether or not you have termites, and help protect your home from future infestations.
How Long Before Termites Destroy My House?
Termites are known as “silent destroyers” in the pest world because they can quietly work within the walls of your home, sometimes for years, without you seeing any evidence of termite damage. Over time, any infestation will cause significant damage, but the time it takes to destroy a house depends greatly on the species and size of the colony.
Formosan termites are the most aggressive species in the world. These voracious eaters can chew through wood, flooring, and wallpaper undetected, and this species is incredibly challenging to control once they enter a structure.
Underground colonies of Formosan termites contain an average of 350,000 workers, and in homes with moisture issues such as leaking pipes, they can also build aerial colonies. Their queens can produce over 1,000 eggs per day, and when colonies release swarmers (as we have seen in the news recently), over 70,000 reproductive termites will search for a nearby location to start a new colony.
A mature colony of Formosan termites can chew through one foot of a 2x4 in just 25 days and cause structural damage in just six months. These destructive termites also chew through the material covering electrical and telephone cables, causing damage and, in some cases, power outages.
Subterranean termites are next on our list. These termites are also capable of causing significant costly damage. Subterranean termites often spend years chewing through the structural wood in a home, while homeowners are completely unaware of their existence.
It can take five to ten years for a subterranean termite colony to reach maturity, at which time the queen will produce around 1,000 eggs daily. A typical mature colony of subterranean termites will contain between 60,000 and two million workers, and the higher the number of workers, the more damage the colony will cause. Even a small colony of 60,000 can chew through over two feet of a 2x4 in a year.
Next up is drywood termites. These termites differ because they don’t live underground like the Formosan and subterranean species. Instead, they live in the wood they infest.
Drywood termites don’t require as much moisture as the other two species. They can extract the water they need from the dry wood they infest. Drywood termites will chew through almost anything with cellulose, including furniture, handrails, wood used for attic framing, hardwood floors, walls, and support beams.
This type of termite has much smaller colonies than the other two. A mature colony usually has about 2,500 individual termites, but the smaller size doesn’t necessarily correlate with less damage. Regular inspections from a termite specialist near you can help catch a termite problem sooner and limit the destruction they can cause.
It is time to call in the pros if you have even the slightest suspicions that there are termites in or around your home. Proper termite identification is paramount to effectively treating them. If you need assistance determining the type of termites in the house, and the best way to eradicate them, contact us at Modern Pest Control.
What Attracts Termites To Homes?
The best form of termite control available is proactive prevention. Learning more about what attracts these pests can help you to repair or replace any factors that may lure them to your property. Here are some of the most likely conditions that will attract termites:
- Cracks and crevices in foundation walls
- Water damaged wood
- Water near the foundation
- Leaking pipes, faucets, or air conditioning units
- Damp, humid areas in the home
- Wood-to-soil contact
We’ll explain more about these factors and what you can do to help prevent termites. First and foremost, termites can only become a problem if they find an entry point to your home. Thoroughly inspect your foundation and seal any cracks or crevices.
Moisture issues are the most likely conditions to attract termites to your property. As we mentioned, most of these insects have high moisture requirements. Wood with water damage is often the first part of the home to be affected, so removing and replacing any soft, damaged wood is critical.
Water near the foundation of your home will also draw termite attention quickly. You can remedy this by ensuring your gutters are clear and free-flowing with functioning downspouts and splash blocks.
Moisture problems inside the house ensure that when termites get in, they will likely stay. Inspect pipes, faucets, and air conditioning units and repair any leaks immediately. Controlling moisture in damp areas is also essential, so ensure attics, crawl spaces, and basements have adequate ventilation or install dehumidifiers.
Outside you’ll want to inspect your property for areas where wood and soil meet. Subterranean and Formosan termites frequently find their way into homes on properties with these conditions. Maintaining a gap between soil and structures, such as decks or areas with wood mulch, will make it less likely termites will find a way to enter the home.
The pest management professionals at Modern Pest Control can inspect your property for any possible attractants and offer specific termite prevention tips to help keep them away. We also provide proven systems to prevent termites from getting close to the house. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request an inspection.
What’s The Best Way To Get Rid Of Termites?
Because termites can cause so much damage relatively quickly, it is best to call the pros for assistance. Professionals will be able to determine the extent of the damage and can develop a strategic plan to eliminate the termites from your home.
With some pests, you may get away with setting a couple of traps or laying down some store-bought bait, but this is not the case with these destructive pests. DIY termite control is never a good idea. The most efficient and effective way to eliminate termites is to work with a local company like Modern Pest Control.
Modern Pest Control began over 70 years ago, and our commitment to using the most current, modern pest control strategies has never changed. Neither has our commitment to offering personalized service that only a local company can provide. We pride ourselves on protecting our neighbors’ homes and families from dangerous and destructive pests.
Whether you have seen termites with wings on your property or evidence of them inside the house, Modern Pest Control is here to help. Our highly skilled pest management professionals know what it takes to eliminate termites once and for all.
It helps when people know what to expect from a company servicing their home. When you contact Modern Pest Control for a termite inspection, our team will thoroughly check your home and yard for any signs of termite activity. Based on the results of the assessment, we will come up with a strategic plan.
If your home shows signs of termites, we will recommend the best treatment options for the species infesting your home. Different species require different techniques, but the goal remains the same, to eliminate the colony and, most importantly, the queen. If you don’t terminate the queen, the problem will quickly return.
One of the best ways to eradicate termites is to have our pros install SentriconⓇ termite bait stations around your property. We can strategically place these stations around your home with bait that is more attractive to termites than wood. Worker termites then share the bait with the colony, which inhibits them from growing, and takes out the entire colony, including the queen.
If there is no evidence of termite activity, we will explain how you can protect your home from future infestations. Here in Houston, termite problems are prevalent, and homeowner’s insurance considers this pest preventable and usually will not cover the damages. Our pest management professionals will review their findings and show you any areas of your property that might attract termites.
We also recommend installing termite bait stations even if you don’t have an infestation. These systems are not only a tool to eliminate termites but can also prevent an infestation. Putting this baiting system in place will eliminate colonies before they even enter the house and provide 24/7 protection.
Incorporating regular termite inspections into your home maintenance plan is another excellent way to safeguard your home. Because no system is foolproof, these devious pests will sometimes enter your home despite your best efforts. Regular inspections ensure we will catch an infestation in its earliest stages before severe damage occurs.
Contact us today with any questions or to learn more about how our termite control services in Houston can help to protect your home from these destructive pests. Whether you suspect termites are inside the house or want to learn how to prevent them, we have a solution that will work for you. Take the worry and stress out of termite control with the pros at Modern Pest Control.