Eliminating and Preventing a Termite Invasion

Termites on wood in Des Moines

Subterranean termites are a serious pest. According to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and others, a termite treatment is always best left to professionals.

Ridding a home of major termite infestation takes special skills and equipment. Do-it-yourself products sold to homeowners will seldom eradicate a serious ongoing termite problem. Sometimes, infestations of wooden structures like mailbox posts, sandboxes or small wooden structures not attached to the house can be treated with these products.

Find a Qualified Pest Control Expert

The best termite treatment specialists have knowledge of home construction and the life cycle of the insects. They know the likely entry points which may be hidden and difficult to access. Termite control sometimes requires masonry drills, pumps, large capacity tanks and soil treatment rods. Hundreds of gallons of liquid pesticide (termiticide) sometimes has to be injected into the foundation walls, into the ground alongside the foundation, and beneath concrete slabs.

Take your time looking for a good termite control company. The termites do their damage slowly, so a week or a month will make little difference. If you have a serious termite problem the costs of treatment might be significant, but the consequences of not treating can be more disastrous. Try not to be pressured by scare tactics or special deal contracts. Find companies which employ the kinds of expert technicians you need.

There are two kinds of termite treatment, liquid termiticides and baits. These are soil applied treatments that create a lasting barrier preventing the termites in the ground from entering the building. In most cases, if you block termites from entering the building, the ones already inside will simply die off since their numbers are not refreshed and they cannot return to the nest in the soil.

Billions of dollars of damage every year are caused by termites that literally feed on wood and weaken the wooden beams and structures of homes. They also damage paper, books, insulation and even swimming pool liners and filtration systems. Termites also sicken living trees and shrubs.

A Termite’s Habitat

Termite inspections are normally a condition of real estate sale so termites may not be an important part of buying a home, but termite invasions can come any time. The vision of thousands of winged termites emerging from inside one’s home is an emotional experience, considering your knowledge that those beasts are silently demolishing the wooden structures inside.

Typically in the Spring winged swarmers, fertile females, emerge from their colonies in places like your home. They drop to the ground shed their wings, mate with available males and head off to found new colonies.  Swarmers, themselves, do not eat wood; but discovering winged termites indoors or emerging from your outside walls is a clear indication that treatment is warranted.

Termites and ants are related species. They swarm in a similar way about the same time of year. Their appearances are similar but not identical.

  • Termites have straight antennae, ants antennae are elbowed.
  • Termites have long, straight bodies. Ants have clear divisions between thorax and abdomen.
  • Termites’ wings are equal in length. Ants have long dorewings and shorter hind wings.

Sometimes you can see mud tubes extending over the foundation walls, support piers, sill plates, floor joists and other structures in your house. The mud tubes are about the size of a pencil (or slightly larger). Termites build these tubes for shelter as they travel to and from their colonies under your house foundation. If you break the tubes open, you may see the creamy white worker termites as they go about their nasty business.

Often termite infestations stay invisible for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation and the like. Termite damage can progress undetected. Exterior wood is often left undamaged.

If you think you have a termite problem, Miller Pest & Termite will inspect your property to locate possible entry points and conditions that are attracting termites to your home. Our exterior termite treatment will create a barrier to keep termites out of your home and install termite monitors around your exterior to keep track of termite activity, with regular follow-up inspection. If you are in the Des Moines area, contact us.