When subterranean termites get into a home they can cause a lot of damage. But they don't do it all at once; they do one bite at a time, slowly, over the course of several years. The secret to preventing significant termite damage is to catch these insects early. Sadly, it isn't easy to detect subterranean termites. These wood-eating pests are wired to elude detection. They live in the ground or inside the wood they're feeding on and rarely expose themselves to the light or to the drying effects of the air. Here are our top 4 detection tips and a few things you should know about each.
In a termite colony, there are many roles to play. There are queens, kings, soldiers, workers and reproductives. Swarmers fall into the last category. They are reproductive male and female termites that can grow wings and leave a nest for the purpose of creating new nests. If you have a mature colony of termites on your property, you might see termite swarmers crawling on your home in the spring. They are black in color and have long, white wings that stack on each other and are rounded at the tips.
3 reasons you might not see swarmers:
- Swarms don't last for more than 30 minutes. After termites swarm, they disperse and disappear into the ground or into man-made structures.
- Swarmers are small. If a king and a queen come onto your property from a nearby property, you're not likely to see them. A swarmer is only about ⅝ of an inch long—that is including their wing length. They are very small.
- Swarmers sometimes swarm at night. If you see a swarm of insects around a streetlight or exterior light, you may want to take a closer look.
Worker termites sometimes create tubes of mud on hard surfaces to get from the soil around a home to the wood of a home. These tubes can be stacked near each other and form large masses. Some pest control technicians have seen masses of tubes as large as 4 feet in diameter.
3 reasons you might not see mud tubes:
- A single mud tube can be the width of a pencil.
- Mud tubes are made from the soil around your home and can look like mud splatters.
- Worker termites have a strong aversion to light and they create mud tubes in dark places. For this reason, you're only likely to find them under structures, in a crawl space under your home or in your cellar. Some pest control technicians have found mud tube running up the inside of concrete piers under homes, which makes them even more difficult to detect.
If you plan on doing some renovations in your Houston home, you may expose tunneling created by subterranean termites. Exposed tunnels will look more like trenches than tunnels and trenches don't always mean termites. You could have carpenter ants. The difference between the tunnels created by subterranean termites and the tunnels created by carpenter ants is that termite tunnels have soil in them and are gritty to the touch.
3 reason you might not see trenches:
- You don't do renovations. Let's face it, life gets busy. Who has time to renovate?
- Sometimes termites create tunnels inside 2x4s and support timbers without any contact with sheetrock, plywood or other materials attached to studs or trusses. If this is the case, you won't see them.
- Termites don't attack just one location in a home. When workers find a food source, they recruit only a portion of the other workers to feed on that source. This can create several areas with limited tunnels rather than one location with a noticeable number of tunnels.
The best way to detect subterranean termites in Houston is with the Sentricon System with Always Active technology. When termites attack the bait stations placed in the ground around your home, it is easy to tell.
3 reasons you might not detect termites when they take the bait:
- Sorry. We don't have three reasons for this one. The only reason you won't be able to detect termites in this way is if you don't have the system installed. The Sentricon System must be installed and maintained by a Certified Sentricon Installer. Do you want to protect your Houston home from subterranean termites? Reach out to Modern Pest Control. We are a Certified Sentricon Installer and an industry-leading pest control provider. We can help you keep those sneaky pests from eating you out of house and home. Get your termite protection in place today.