What To Do If You Think Your Missouri City Home Has Termites
There are few things more concerning than the possibility of termites in your home. These pests can be incredibly destructive, difficult to detect, and even harder to deal with once you realize they’re inside your home. Termites cause unprecedented levels of damage to properties across the United States every year; homeowners spend over 5 billion dollars on termite damage annually.
Even worse, homeowners’ insurance rarely covers these damages, so people whose houses have been affected by termites are left to deal with these costs on their own. However, if you think your Missouri City home might have a termite problem, there’s no need to panic. Despite these disturbing statistics, there are some things that you can do to keep termites away and make your home less of a target.
This article will outline some important information about termites that you should know, starting with how to recognize termites if you happen to see them. Proper identification is essential to deal with any pest, not just termites. Next, we’ll examine some of the signs of termite damage that will alert you to a potential issue. You’ll want to keep a close eye out for these indicators so that you aren’t caught off guard by an infestation. Then we’ll cover some of the ways that you might be attracting termites to your property without knowing it, as well as what you can do to remove these factors and mitigate the presence of termites on your property. Finally, we’ll tell you what you can do if you do find yourself dealing with termites in your house.
Pest control in Missouri City is proudly brought to you by Modern Pest Control. We’re on the cutting edge of today’s pest control industry, and we’re here to bring you the best and most up-to-date solutions possible. Let’s start with how to identify termites, as well as why many people don’t see them until it’s too late.
You’re Not Likely To Ever Actually See A Termite
Unfortunately, you aren’t likely to see termites or evidence of termites in your home before it’s too late. This is often because termites enter from the outside or underneath the home and burrow into the wood, making them invisible from both the interior and exterior of a structure. While it might not be common to see active termites, it’s still vital that you know the general habits of termites and how to identify them.
Termites are insects with six legs and two antennae. They are typically a narrow oval shape and are usually less than an inch long. Termites are social creatures that live in colonies. Outside, these colonies are most often found in naturally occurring wood like trees or shrubs or underground. Termites need cellulose to survive, as well as a certain amount of moisture, which varies by species. They consume wood to acquire these necessary nutrients, and most species will build their colonies inside or very close to the wood they infest.
Though there are more than 40 species of termites in the United States, one of the most common in the Missouri City area is the subterranean termite. These termites get their name from the fact that their natural habitat is underground. They are among the most destructive termites that exist. Let’s examine what a subterranean termite colony looks like to get a better understanding of these pests.
Within a colony, termites divide into three types, or castes, which determine their role in the colony’s survival and expansion. These three castes are the reproductives, also called swarmers, the soldiers, and the workers. The reproductives, which include the king and queen termites, are responsible for the continued growth of the colony by mating and producing new termites. Much like in ant colonies, the queen is the most crucial part of any termite colony. A healthy queen in a mature colony can lay up to 1,000 eggs in a single day.
When a colony has matured and is ready to expand, reproductives will leave the nest in large numbers to find new colonies. This activity is where this caste of termites gets the name “swarmers.” Once they have mated, the reproductives shed their wings and become kings and queens of new termite colonies. A colony usually takes between five and ten years to mature fully. In ideal environmental conditions, queen termites can survive for more than a decade.
Reproductives are typically the largest members of a subterranean termite colony, measuring between a quarter of an inch and half an inch long. They are darker in color than soldiers or workers, ranging from dark brown to black. They are the only termites in a colony with wings.
Soldiers are responsible for defending the colony from outside threats. They protect the king and queen, as well as the other reproductives and the workers, from outside threats. Soldiers are similar in appearance to workers, except for their flat, rectangular heads, which are darker in color than the rest of their bodies and have a large pair of mandibles. These mandibles are their primary means of protecting the colony. They are usually about the same size as the workers, averaging around a quarter of an inch or less. Their bodies are usually a creamy white color, while their heads are a darker brown.
Workers are the backbone of any colony. They tend to make up the majority of a colony’s members, and they are responsible for maintaining and repairing the nest, providing nutrients for the colony, and finding new sources of food. Workers are usually a quarter of an inch long or less, and their bodies are a creamy white color. They have tiny jaws that help them tear wood apart one piece at a time. A mature subterranean termite colony could have anywhere between 60,000 and 2 million workers.
A colony on the smaller end of this spectrum is capable of consuming several square feet of wood over the course of a single year. When they go unnoticed for months or years, subterranean termites can cause major structural damage to a home, even resulting in instability or collapse if they aren’t dealt with. Subterranean termites will typically swarm during spring or summer, usually in the morning after a lot of warm, rainy weather. The moist, warm climate of Missouri City and the surrounding area provides these pests with the perfect conditions to thrive.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the key information to know about termites, as well as how to identify termites, let’s talk about some of the most common signs of termites and termite damage. This will enable you to recognize the presence of termites when many homeowners would not, thus giving you an advantage against them.
How To Identify Signs Of Termite Damage
So how do you know when you have termites? The average homeowner doesn’t know how to spot the signs, so Modern Pest Control is here to help you know what to look for. Once you know the basics of termite identification, you’ll want to keep an eye out for several common signs of termite activity in your home.
One of the most common signs when it comes to subterranean termites is the presence of mud tubes on the outside of your home or other structures on your property. Mud tubes are tunnels that subterranean termites construct using dirt and wood. These keep them from drying out as they travel since moisture is essential to their survival.
You may also begin to notice that the wood inside your home feels soft and sounds hollow when you tap on it. This can indicate that there are termites infesting it. Wood that has termites in it may also darken or start to blister over time. If you notice bubbling or peeling paint, you should investigate the wood underneath to see if it has damage. Wood that has been damaged by subterranean termites will often have a buildup of dirt or mud inside the tunnels they create. The wood will often have a layered appearance, as subterranean termites will only eat the softwood portions.
Unlike other types of termites, such as drywood termites, subterranean termites will feed in the direction of the wood grain rather than across it. You aren’t likely to find the colony’s actual nest, at least in the case of subterranean termites, unless the colony is established and has been there for a long time and the moisture conditions are sufficient.
Another sign of termite activity on your property is the presence of termite feces, which often resembles small piles of sawdust. Finding the wings of termite swarmers near windows or doors often indicates the presence of a colony nearby, if not within your home itself. Next, let’s discuss the factors that might attract termites to your Missouri City property and how you can get rid of them.
Factors That Attract Termites To A Property
The main thing that attracts termites to your home is the presence of wood, their source of food. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to remove this factor, as all homes built in the United States contain some amount of wood. There are other factors that you can influence, however.
Subterranean termites typically find their way into a home from underground by accessing wood that contacts or is close to the soil. They may also find their way in through cracks in a foundation or hollow areas in a home’s construction. Aside from food and ease of access, the other main factor that contributes to termite infestations is moisture. Subterranean termites especially need a lot of moisture to survive.
While do-it-yourself termite control is a waste of time and money, there are some things that you can do to reduce the likelihood of a termite infestation in your home. Here are a few simple tips:
Eliminate any areas of standing water, especially near the foundation.
Reduce excess moisture in the home as much as possible.
Seal any gaps or cracks in the exterior of your home.
Store firewood away from your house and off the ground.
Keep a close eye on any wood parts of your home that contact the ground.
These tips all aim to help you mitigate the risks of a termite problem, so let’s examine each one in more depth. For tip number one, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the foundation because this is one of the most common entry points for termites, especially subterranean termites. Tip number two is meant to help you make your home less attractive to termites by removing a major factor that attracts them. You may also find it helpful to install a dehumidifier. For tip number three, you’ll again want to focus on the foundation of your home, as this is where subterranean termites often enter.
Tip number four should help you keep termites out of your firewood, another method of easy access they would otherwise have to your home. Following tip number five should give you the opportunity to spot any signs of termite activity, such as mud tubes before they get too far out of hand. Now that we’ve gone over some of the things that attract termites to your property and what you can do to keep them out of your house, let’s talk about getting rid of termites for good.
What It Takes To Get Rid Of Termites
If you do find yourself with a termite infestation in your home, there’s no need to panic. Now is the time to act quickly and contact a professional pest control company. For Missouri City homeowners, Modern Pest Control is the best termite control company you could ask for.
We’ve been in the pest control industry for over 70 years, and our technicians are all highly trained and licensed by the Texas Department of Agriculture. We deliver prompt, personal, professional services, leading the way in our field with cutting-edge techniques and treatments. We bring the kind of customer service that only an independent company can. Contact Modern Pest Control today and request a free inspection!