When a floor starts to creak, or a wall looks like it is bulging, it can make you wonder; do I have termites? Or when a door starts to stick, a window opens and closes without resistance, or you notice bubbling on your baseboards, maybe that is what will make you nervous. If you know anything about West Chester termites, you know that it is possible for these insects to eat your home right out from under you. So, what do you do if you think you have active termites in your home? The first step is to find the signs and piece the evidence together. Then, you'll need to evaluate the issue, consider how much of a problem those termites may cause, and choose a control plan. If you don't find evidence of termites on your property, it is time to start considering proactive prevention. At the end of this article, we'll give you some great tips to help you reduce the risk of termites damaging your home. As always, keep in mind that the Masters Touch Pest Solutions team is available to provide advice and service options. We offer advanced termite pest control in West Chester and we'll make sure you have the right protection. Jump to our contact page to reach out.
How To Identify Signs Of Termite Activity
Sometimes a creaky floor is just a creaky floor. We hope that if you've noticed a change in your home, termites are not to blame. But, if termites are to blame, you'll need to know how to inspect your home and yard to detect signs of termites.
The first step is to look for mud tubes. The termites in West Chester are subterranean termites. These insects live in the ground and often access homes by creating above-ground tunnels made of soil and termite saliva. A good place to check first is on your foundation walls. Don't neglect any spot, even if it is under your deck, patio, or porch because worker termites are most likely to create tubes in these places. Why? It has to do with how termite workers avoid the light. They don't even like the reflected light that comes off the moon. So they typically only come out in areas where all light is blocked.
What does a mud tube look like? Workers build their mud tubes starting from the soil. Each tube is about the width of a pencil. As they build upwards, they may create several branches, which can make the mud look like veins on a foundation wall. Or they may just create one wiggly mud line. If more than one tube is built, the workers may stack them. Many tubes built on a foundation pier can make the pier look like a thick mud column.
While you're getting dirty looking for mud tubes, take a moment to examine any spider webs you see. Why? Because spider webs can catch evidence of termite swarmers. What are termite swarmers? They are winged reproductives that gather into a swarm when they mate. After the mating process, they shed their wings and tunnel into the ground. If you miss a swarm, you may still see the wings on the ground or stuck to spider webs. A termite wing is white and shaped like a stretched teardrop. It helps to find more than one as they are equally sized, which helps to differentiate them from ant wings.
As you search your property, you may see termites, though not likely. If you do see them, termite identification is essential. Here are a few visual traits to consider.
- You may find worker termites under wood sources or objects that sit on the soil. A worker is about ⅛ of an inch long, pale yellow, with six legs and a fat waist.
- Termite workers are rarely alone. Where there are workers, you'll likely see soldiers. They are larger insects with orange heads and black pincers.
- Termite swarmers may appear in broad daylight. They don't hide from the light like the workers do. A swarmer is about ⅜ of an inch long, black, and adorned with long white wings that hang well past the abdomen.
You may need to dig soil, cut into a stump, rake mulch, move things around in your yard, or take some other step to reveal termites on your property. These insects are experts at hiding from view. If your efforts reveal signs of termites in your yard or on your home, the next step is to consider what it means.
A Termite Infestation Can Cause Extensive Property Damage
Are termites as bad as you've heard? We can't tell you how much of a threat these insects will present. The best we can do is share facts related to how termites damage structures in St. Charles. Here's what you need to know.
- Subterranean termites are the most destructive termites in the United States causing the lion's share of property damage. To put this in perspective, the cost of subterranean termite damage is billions of dollars. All other termite damage is in the hundreds of millions.
- The primary reason subterranean termites are so destructive is that they avoid detection. They are known to feed on structures for years without any noticeable warning signs. As a point of reference, subterranean termite swarmers appeared in the White House, not far from the West Wing. Since it takes more than three years for a nest to produce swarmers, we know for sure that these insects are sneaky. There is no house in the country as protected as our White House!
- The termites in our area are Eastern subterranean termites, which can create colonies of 60,000 to over a million individual worker termites, depending on the conditions. If you have lots of wood sources, termite colonies will grow quickly.
- Termite workers can travel well over 50 yards in search of food. Therefore, it is possible to have more than one termite colony damaging your home at the same time.
- Termite workers continue to find food even after ample food sources are discovered. What that means is they'll eat your back deck and the subflooring in your kitchen at the same time they're feeding on an old fence or brush pile in your yard.
- Termites never sleep. They can actively consume food and bring it back to their colonies day and night, 365 days a year.
All of this activity is done right under your feet or within your walls. The sound termites make as they consume wood is subtle and hard to detect with the human ear. While termites may create a clicking noise, that sound is not common, and it isn't produced by the workers. The soldiers make that noise when termite tunnels are threatened. We don't recommend waiting to hear the gentle clicking sound of termite soldiers banging their little heads on their tunnel walls. If you do, you may allow termites to cause significant damage to your home over time, due to the factors listed above.
Say Goodbye to Termites! Call Our Expert Team Today
In light of how sneaky termites are, it is best to contact a certified termite control professional to deal with a termite problem. If you have a termite infestation in West Chester, contact Masters Touch Pest Solutions for assistance. Our pest management professionals are trained to detect termite activity, evaluate warning signs, and catalog conducive conditions to help you understand your termite control issue. We use Termidor, the most trusted name in professional-grade termite control to arrest termite activity and eliminate the colony. We can treat the soil for long-lasting and sustainable termite damage prevention. We may also suggest a termite bait solution for colony elimination and foolproof termite detection. Contact us to get more information about the services we offer or to schedule a termite inspection to get started.
Practical Tips To Prevent Termites From Coming Back
If you don't see warning signs, and there is no evidence of termite damage, you can still invest in termite control for proactive prevention. But, if you're not ready to take that step, we don't want you to go without any protection at all. That is why we've added a section for practical tips to help you deter termites and avoid termite damage. These prevention tips don't require any knowledge of termite product applications.
- When you pick up sticks in your yard, remove them or store them off the ground or in a container.
- If you have campfire wood, store it in a container.
- Remove any logs or lumber from your property.
- Check to make sure all of your trees are healthy and hire a tree doctor if any trees are in need of help.
- Pick up any trash piles as they may contain termite food, such as wooden items, documents, books, cardboard, clothing, etc.
- Address wood-to-soil contact on structures. For example, replace a wood skirt on your home with a vinyl skirt.
- Consider replacing wood mulch with another material, such as pea stones.
- Maintain a healthy gutter system to prevent ground saturation, which can lead to wood rot and is desirable to termites for hydration.
When you remove food options and address moisture, termites may not move onto your property and start looking for a pathway into your home. For a professional termite treatment and ongoing termite damage prevention in St. Charles, contact Masters Touch Pest Solutions. We are always standing ready to offer assistance!