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What To Look For When Looking For Termite Activity In Your Lee County Home

March 15, 2022 - Termites

Subterranean termites are destructive pests that can eat away at your Lee County home all year long. Over time, they can destroy your home. Every year, termites cost U.S. property owners over $5 billion. If you don't have year-round termite protection for your home, you should at least know how to find evidence of termite activity and where to look for it. That's what we're going to discuss today.

Termite Detection

Many pests will get into your Lee County home and crawl around on your walls where you can see them; subterranean termites are not one of them. The worker termites of a subterranean termite colony (the only termites in a colony that feeds on your home) have a strong aversion to light. This is important to understand. This aversion to light makes termites very difficult to detect.

In a recent study conducted by the National Pest Management Association, half a million termites were released into an environment with a scale model of a home. The results were astonishing. After a few months, the home was completely destroyed. But you wouldn't know it to look at it. Visually, it looked utterly sound. That is the reality of termite activity. If you want to find termites, you'll have to get into the ground or inside the wood of your home. Here are a few tips:

  • Termites may be active in the soil near your foundation. If you dig in the ground to create areas of landscaping, keep an eye out for tiny, pale insects that look like white ants.
  • If you have stumps in your yard, breaking a stump up could reveal termites inside. The same is true of logs and other deadwood.
  • When you renovate your home, be sure to look for termite workers and soldiers or the tunnels created by termite workers. These tunnels will look like trenches in the wood, and they will be gritty to the touch. If they are smooth to the touch, you have a carpenter ant problem. 

Shelter Tubes

Along with light, worker termites have an aversion to dry air. A worker termite has thin skin that can dry out quickly. This is another reason why they stay in the moist soil or inside the wood of your home, which is lined with moist soil from the ground outside. Subterranean termite workers need moisture.

If you know anything about subterranean termites, you probably know that they create mud tubes up the sides of foundation walls and other hard surfaces. These tubes are also called shelter tubes because they protect the workers from the dry air. But don't expect to easily see these tubes. Workers usually create them in dark hidden places. You'll have to get dirty if you want to find shelter tubes. If your home has a crawl space underneath, this is a good place to start looking.

Wood Damage

Termites damage wood from the inside out. You're not likely to see areas that have been eaten away. If you do see damage to wood, it is more likely to be damage caused by mice, rats, carpenter ants, and other wood-damaging pests that can tolerate light and that don't mind the dry air. Here are a few ways you might be able to detect termite damage being done:

  • Tap wood with something hard. If it sounds hollow, there could be termite tunnels inside.
  • Use a stethoscope to listen to the wood. Termites bang their heads on tunnel walls to warn of danger. If you hear clicking in a piece of wood, you have a termite infestation.
  • Inspect wood in locations that are dark and damp. If it is dark enough and damp enough, termite workers may cause damage that you can see.

Swarmers

The tiny winged insects, known as swarmers, are very different from workers. They are attracted to light, and they have no trouble being in the dry air. As we head into spring, it is important to keep an eye out for swarmers. If you see one or two on your home, it is a warning sign of an impending infestation. But, if you see hundreds or thousands around your home, there is a mature and active colony nearby. You should get that checked immediately. Sadly, it is extremely difficult to detect termites "before" they attack your home. Termite swarmers are only about ⅝ of an inch long. Noticing a pair of them in your home is not easy. You may, however, find their discarded wings near windows or doors.

Year-Round Termite Protection With A Bugs Life Pest Management Inc.

It is very difficult to detect termites. That is why property owners invest in professional termite protection with A Bugs Life Pest Management Inc. We have the tools and experience to diagnose your termite problem and implement a customized solution to rid these unwanted pests from your home. Furthermore, if you're worried about termites, we will implement year-round pest control to keep them away.  

If you live in Lee County, we'd love the opportunity to speak with you about how you can protect your property investment from the destructive impact of termites. Reach out to us today.

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