Now that spring is upon us; termite season is here. These silent destroyers chew through wood, wallpaper, flooring and whatever else they can in your house. Termites cause over $5 billion in property damage every year, and your homeowner's insurance most likely doesn't cover that type of damage. In most cases, by the time you notice termite damage, your home is already invaded. The five types of termites that are most common in the southeastern United States are drywood termites, subterranean termites, dampwood termites, conehead termites and formosan termites.
In addition to looking for signs of termites, such as "sawdust" piles on your floor, or tunnels through the wood, you can look at the bugs. Termites with wings often look like flying ants, but you can tell the difference by looking for these termite characteristics:
A termite's antennae are straight, while a flying ant has curved antennae.
Termites have wide waists, while flying ants have a narrow waist.
A termite has two pairs of wings, and both pairs are the same size, while flying ants have the two pairs, but they are not the same size.
Termite sizes range from 1/4-inch long to 3/8-inch long.
Eastern subterranean termites have rectangular-shaped heads with protruding jaws.
Formosan termites have a more oval-shaped head that is darker. It does not have eyes.
Drywood termites excrete solid waste (those little piles of 'sawdust,' while subterranean termite feces is liquid.
Eastern winged termites have just one pair of wings, instead of two, and have rounded abdomens.
The queens usually look different from soldier termites and worker termites. A queen can lay hundreds of eggs every day. They live up to 15 years for the most part, though some could have a lifespan of up to 30 years.
If termites would just recycle dead wood and plants, they'd be a great thing to have around. But, they "recycle" your house, costing you thousands of dollars. Dampwood termites prefer wood that is damp, so you'll find them on wood that is in contact with the ground, such as porch posts, stumps, or wood lying around. Drywood termites get their moisture from humidity and moisture in the wood. They'll quickly go through exposed wood on your home. Formosan termites attack areas of wood in your home that touch the ground, and will go through joints and cracks that are not sealed. They like wet soil and moist wood. Subterranean termites live in the soil under your house. They build mud tubes from the soil to the wood.
Do-it-yourself treatments are usually ineffective for any of these termites. If you see termites of any type, contact a professional exterminating company as soon as possible, before the can do any more damage. If you are not sure if you have termites, or it's been over a year since your home was treated, you should have a termite inspection. We'll inspect your home for termites and will eradicate them with the proper termite treatment, which is stronger than what is available over-the-counter.
Contact Clint Miller Exterminating if you need a termite inspection, you see termites damage, or if you notice flying termites around your home or outbuildings to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.