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What to do about a Termite Invasion

Termite problems require immediate attention, whether you see termite activity or not, so that's why we have found everything you need here to help you understand the surest methods for identification and prevention of termite infestations. Know what to look for and how to take immediate action to protect your residence or business in the Virginia Beach area.

What about Termite Damage?

Signs of termite damage are hard to find, but you may find wood that sounds hollow or some tunnels chewed through your deck. Refrain from replacing damaged wood until you are sure what's going on with professional pest control involvement.

Termite Infestation: Identification

Spot an Infestation

There are two main categories or types of termites in the United States: drywood termites (wood-destroyers), and subterranean termites. Here are the surest signs of termites and infestations:

  • Mud Tubes

    Subterranean termites create these mud tubes out of dirt mixed with their feces in order to travel between the colony and a food source without fear from predators or getting lost. Do not destroy these tubes if you see them, because the termites will simply create new ones in new places you might not be able to find a second time.

  • Fecal Matter

    Wood destroyers generally leave black pepper-like poop outside their nests, so if you find a pile of pellets and repeatedly clean it up in the same places, chances are you've found wood destroyers. Some kinds of wood destroyers and the subterranean termites leave wooden pellets lying around, so this can also be reliable diagnostics of infestations.

  • Flying Termites

    When colonies reach sufficient maturity and population levels, the queens and kings will produce breeding royalty (details below) that fly from the colony sanctuaries and establish colonies elsewhere, a process often referred to as swarming. Thereafter, the flying royalty, or alates (meaning winged ones), shed their wings and produce a new colony.

Ant or Termite?

Ants and termites are extremely similar, but they don't all do the same things, and they don't look the same if you know what to look for and if you're looking closely enough, so be certain to examine insects closely before making or deciding on termite management action plans.

Look for these differences to identify termites versus ant colonies:

  • Body Segments

    Ants have three distinct body segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen, but termites only have two, the head and abdomen. This difference came about, as scientists have recently come to discover because termites are distant descendants of early cockroaches that eventually became social colonizers.

  • Antenna

    Ant antennae are composed of two segments with an elbow bend in the middle, but termite antennae are composed of ten beads or more (a morphology referred to as moniliform) and do not bend the way ant antennae do.

  • Wing Size

    Both ants and termites grow four distinct wings, depending on the life stage and the needs of the colony, but the two forward ant wings are larger than the rear wings, and termite wings are all equal in length, which is one of the reasons the original scientific name for termites included "Isoptera," because "iso" is Greek meaning "equal," and "ptera" means "wings."

Colony Life

Termites live in three life stages: egg, nymph, and adult, and there is no pupal stage, unlike a number of other insects, like flies. There are three kinds of termites in a colony: Workers, Soldiers, and Royalty. The only adults in the colony are the king and queen, and they prevent the workers and soldiers from growing to adulthood with pheromones.

  • Workers

    These are pale or white in color and make up the largest percentage of the nest population. They do all the hard work, including construction, cleaning, caring for eggs and newly hatched nymphs, and feeding and caring for soldiers and royalty. Every worker has the potential to grow into a reproductive adult, so if even one worker remains, a new colony could grow from it, which is likely a deciding factor in the survival of termites over the millennia.

  • Soldiers

    Soldiers have enlarged heads and strong jaws, though some species develop a spout on their heads to spray chemicals on enemy termites or invading ant colonies. Because of their size, soldier termites cannot take care of themselves and require help from workers to survive. Soldiers produce a pheromone to prevent workers from developing.

  • Royals

    Kings and queens leave the nest with wings and shed them after settling down, and when a colony is large or mature enough, they can make daughter colonies (a process called budding) led by other reproductive adults. When an adult or soldier dies, workers grow to replace them.

Get Rid of Termites: Prevention

Prevent termites from coming to your home in the first place. Here are some common termite attractants:

  • Drainage | Ensure that gutters, downspouts, and water grading is installed properly and working
  • Entry Points | Seal foundation cracks and utility pipe gaps
  • Leaks and Water Damage | Find and replace pipes with leaks and repair damages wood
  • Trees and Plants Trimmed | Keep plants at least 1-5 feet from your house siding and exposed wood
  • Firewood | Place these piles at least 20 feet from your home and raised 1 foot off the ground
  • Steel Mesh and Sand Barriers | Install mesh around your house to keep termites away. Some kinds of sand prevent termites from entering as well

Fox Pest Control has Termite Control to Get Termites Out

Fox Pest Control will treat termites with our high-quality products, like bait systems, termite treatments in a protection plan, and termite baits to kill termites for good. Our Pest Pro Technicians can perform termite inspections and restore your peace of mind, so call today.

Posted on December 13, 2019.

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