Termites

What type of termite is most common in the Houston, TX area?

The subterranean termite is a bane for property owners in Texas.  While these wood destroying insects nest in the ground feed on a leaf, rotting stumps and other debris containing cellulose outside, they will travel through mud tubes to enter homes and buildings.  Once inside, termites feed on structural wood and other materials made from wood.  They prefer rotting or water damaged wood but will move onto sound wood. Not addressed with professional remediation, termites are capable of causing extensive damage over time and may result in costly repairs. 

Subterranean termite colonies are divided into three different castes: reproductive members (kings and queens), workers, and soldiers.

Workers

Workers make up the largest number of termites in the colony, as their name suggests their main goal is to tunnel through the wood the colony is invading gathering food and bringing it back to the colony. Worker termites have a soft creamy white body, are blind, wingless, and grow to be about ¼ of an inch in length. Workers are seldom if ever, seen outside of their tunnels or nest.

Soldiers

The soldiers look very similar to the workers; they are a bit bigger and have an elongated yellow head, large strong jaws, and short legs. Soldiers use their strong jaws to protect the colony from threats to the colony.

Reproductive members

The reproductive members of the colony are the largest members; they are winged, are dark-brown to black in color, and grow to between ¼ and ½ inch in length. Reproductives swarm from a mature colony in order to find a mate and start a new colony of their own.

 

Are termites dangerous?

Termites are not a threat to people or pets but they are certainly a problem for structures.  Feeding 24/7/365, termites do not stop. Unfortunately, termite damage is not often discovered until it has become a serious problem.  That’s because termites eat wood from the inside out.  What looks like a solid piece of wood could actually be a shell with nothing underneath. 

 

How can I tell the difference between winged ants and termite swarmers?

At first glance, winged ants and termite swarmers appear very similar in appearance. When you take a closer look, you’ll discover a few major differences between the two that will help you identify which insect is infesting. 

  • Ants have elbowed antennae while termites have antennae that are straight and shorter in length.
  • Ants have pinched waists while termites have thick ones
  • Both ants and termites have 2 sets of wings but the front wings of ants are longer than their back wings.  Termites have four wings all the same size.

If you’ve discovered winged insects in your home or business, contact a pest control company right away to minimize potential damage.  Professionals like Modern Pest Control have the experience and equipment to control and eliminate ants, termites, and other destructive pests.

termite tubes on a kat homes foundation

What are the signs of termite activity?

If you’re concerned about termites infesting your house or building, look for these signs:

Termite Swarmers

Termite swarmers inside your structure.  If termites are swarming from inside your walls or you’ve found discarded termite wings around windowsills, then you should be concerned. If you see a termite swarm occurring outside your home, that means a termite colony is on your property or on a neighboring one and action should be taken.

Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites must have moisture in order to survive.  To avoid prolonged exposure to elements that might dry them out, they travel from their nests to potential food sources via mud tubes.  These mud tubes are about the width of a pencil and are typically found going up a home’s foundation, basement walls, crawl space walls, and bathroom walls.

Termite Damage

If the paint on your wall appeared blistered or splintered, if you have discovered walls that sound hollow when you tap on them or have found tunnels that resemble mazes within walls or other wood products, termites are or have likely been active in your structure.  

 

Does Modern offer termite control?

Modern’s termite control services are available for property owners in Katy, Houston, Cypress and throughout our Texas service area.  When you contact us for help, we’ll start with a thorough termite inspection to identify if termite activity is present, if there is termite damage and if so, how extensive.  Based on our findings, we’ll develop a termite treatment plan that will include the installation of Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination Systems.  Please visit our termite control page for more information or contact us to discuss your termite issue.   

 

How can I prevent termite infestations?

The best way to prevent termites from coming indoors is to make sure they can’t get in.  We recommend sealing all cracks or openings along the foundation and elsewhere on the exterior,  limiting soil to wood contact on your property, reducing moisture and ventilation issues that could cause wood rot, and removing foliage and landscaping that touches the exterior of the structure.  You should also replace wood that has been damaged by water as well as repair leaking pipes and appliances.

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