To identify termites vs ants can sometimes be very hard for the average person. They are often mixed with ants. Termites live in large family units with between several hundred and several million family members. They work together in an organized system to find food sources.
Formosan termite identification can be done by looking at the colors on them because unlike the others they are a yellowish-brown.
They usually come out after the sun has set, and usually on warm and humid evenings in the months from April to July.
The Formosan termite colonies can be as large as 300 square feet and have no problems digging through the soil as well as eating your wood.
The LSU Agricultural Center has maintained records of the daily flights and records of how many of the termites in the process were caught in light traps in New Orleans since 1989.
These critters usually go after old tree stumps, poles, or other wood structures in contact with the dirt. They have even constructed galleries to second stories in buildings in order to feed on the wood.
The termite identification is easiest to see when they are in their swarming and or mating flight, though believe it or not they tend to cause more damage during the times after the swarm is over.
The Drywood termite must be identified in a different way. They are seen on most continents in the world and differ from subterranean termites in their appearance mostly due to their color difference.
Drywood termite swarmers look red and have black or dark brown wings. They are most commonly confused by people with the carpenter ant.
Wood termites can also thrive in dead branches or logs. Though once most of the deadwood has been eaten, the termites will either move onto greener pastures (more wood) or the colony will die.
How Termite Baits Work
People use impregnated wood slabs with toxic chemicals and set them out to control termite foragers. The termite will feed on the bait and bring it back to the nest. They then share the toxic chemical with other termites in the colony, and eventually the king and queen if all things go as planned.
For the termite, wood is a precious commodity because without this source they would have no place to live, eat or thrive. So they will live off of your deck, tree stumps, fencing or other visible food.
The termite is able to digest the wood as food because of they the flagellates for digestion and nutrition. If the termite did not have the flagellates in their body or stomach passage, the termite could still eat wood but it would slowly die in the process.
The termite is an active forest preserver because they eat dead wood and digest it into new soil making for new growth in the forest where they live.
Some common questions termite control companies asked a lot; do termites fly? What do I need to know about DIY termite treatment? How much expertise do I need to do my own termite control? Where do I even start?
Contrary to popular belief, treating these nasty pests yourself can be easier than you think.
Should I do the Job Myself?
This is one pest control companies hear a lot and frankly, one that gets asked in many home improvement arenas. It doesn’t matter if you’re treating termites or doing other home improvements, the first thing you need to assess is if you have the know-how, tools, and aspiration to do your own work.
Regardless of the job, you need to understand the amount of work ahead of you before you take on any home improvement or termite treatment job. If you can’t visualize all of the steps involved in the job, it may be best to hire a professional, however; if you’re comfortable with the steps involved, go for it.
How To Know If You Have Termites In Your Home
You would know if some of them are already around if you see termite swarmers around your home and discarded wings on sills. Mud tunnels on the areas of your house touching the ground and hollow wood pieces may also be signs that you have the beginnings of a Sonoma termite problem.
Some smart homeowners usually prevent termite infestation even before or while their home is being constructed. Make sure that the soil is treated with termiticide before the foundations are even built.
You can also initiate Sonoma termite control by having your wood pre-treated before using it on parts of your house. The problem, however, is that a lot of home buyers prefer to have pre-constructed homes rather than build from scratch. If this is the case, there is no guarantee of pre-treatment.
You may have to employ a Phoenix termite pest control company for post-treatment or prevention.
Phoenix Termite Companies
You might think of performing your own termite control methods. Your lack of skill and knowledge, however, may not ensure the complete extermination of an underground termite colony.
Hiring termite experts are always a better option. Before termites can be killed, experts would have to carefully assess the condition of your home and the extent of termite infestation.
The results of their evaluation will help determine the exact method needed for your termite problem. Expert pest control agencies will also know how to effectively and safely apply treatment options without damage to people or property.
Choosing a Good Company
It would also be a good idea to shop around and compare services before deciding to go to a particular company. To give you more peace of mind on your initial pest control experience, you should ask for second opinions. Beware of companies that may pad their prices.
There are several termite control companies in Phoenix. Make sure that you ask people who have had successful extermination procedures to recommend you a good company.
Both carpenter ants vs termites can do damage to your furniture and home. Identifying which is which however is important for you to get the right help and treatment.
Not everyone knows what a subterranean termite looks like but it is important to know exactly what they look like because they can cause serious damage to your home. There are many different species of termites that may further muddle your idea of how a termite looks like.
Subterranean termites, however, are the most common species found in homes. They usually feed on wood and paper-based products and to the unaware, every termite looks like it can harm your precious library or furniture. Your major concern, however, should be the worker termites.
A termite colony can be composed of several groups: soldier termites, swarmers or reproductives and worker termites. Not every termite looks like a grain of rice but a lot of them do.
Soldiers, however, have mandibles while reproductives have wings. The worker termite looks like a reproductive but is smaller and has no wings. They are the most numerous in a colony and are the main wood eaters.
Swarmer Ants and Termites
The presence of swarmer termites is usually one of the first signs that there may be a termite infestation in your home. This is because swarmers are the ones who propagate termite colonies. Some think that a swarmer termite looks like a flying ant. The truth is that there are major differences.
An ant’s body is composed of a head, a slim abdomen, and a thorax. A termite looks like it only has a head and a straight body.
As far as looks are concerned, both termites and ants share the same number of wings: four. Ants, however, have longer front than rear wings and have apparent vein marks. Termites have four wings of equal length that are far longer than the body and do not have vein marks.
Ants also have slightly bent antennae that may end in some sort of a small club. Termites, on the other hand, have beaded antennae that do not bend and have no club-like ends and point away from the body.
Where Swarmers Stay
There is no need for much concern if you find swarmers outside your house. These swarmers may just possibly be blown with the wind. Swarmers are also not the main termite wood eaters.
You should be a little concerned though if you notice a number of swarmer ants flying away from your house and from cracks, windows and woodwork. You may have some form of termite infestation.
Termites are notoriously difficult to get rid of. Extensive infestations may not be effectively and safely treated by just gas or ordinary insect spray.
You may have to ask for some expert help. Experts may use chemical treatment in which termiticide is applied on wood and other house areas to prevent termites from invading the house structure.
The baiting technique may also be used in which chemicals are spread throughout the colony through wood baits carrying chemicals.
There are two fairly new and very popular methods of getting rid of termites you can choose from, Sentricon or Termidor HE. Termites are a serious problem for homeowners.
An infestation can cost you thousand of dollars to treat and potentially knock tens of thousands of dollars off the resale value of your house at a time when market prices are already suffering.
There’s absolutely no surprise then, that people are increasingly more interested in preventing termite problems before they ever get started. There are two very popular ways to prevent termites on sale these days, Sentricon and Termidor, and they work very differently.
Sentricon uses the bait method, which is a way to trick the termites into killing themselves. The process involved planting tubes into the ground as bait station, and then baiting them with wooden stakes.
Once the termites have found the stakes and started feeding on them, the bait stakes are removed from the stations and then a bait matrix is inserted, which the termites then begin feeding on.
The matrix contains a chemical that interrupts the termite’s ability to molt, which means they slowly begin to die. The process is gradual, and in theory doesn’t alarm the termites until the colony is dead.
The problem with this method is that there really is no guarantee that termites will act this way, and there are debates as to whether or not the system is effective for most people.
There’s also the problem that while it may kill one colony, there’s nothing to prevent another colony from developing. But it’s cheaper than tenting, and there are no chemicals that would be harmful to humans involved.
Termidor works through a different method called the barrier method. With the barrier method, the soil around the perimeter of the house is saturated with a chemical designed to repel the termites.
In theory, this prevents termites from ever getting to your house.
Problems can arise when it’s not possible to thoroughly saturate the area. Houses built on slab foundations, for example, can be hard to treat. If the soil isn’t saturated, then there will be areas where the termites can get to your house
The treatment is also fairly expensive, much more expensive than the initial Sentricon treatments, and it’s not nearly as green as the bait method.
It is an improvement on the tenting method, and most providers will give you a seven-year guarantee on the system.
So, which is better? Honestly, it’s a hard question to answer. Sentricon is probably better for treating an existing colony, which means if you already have termites, this might be the best method for you if you already have a problem.
On the other hand, Termidor is definitely better, when it works, for keeping termites for ever getting to your house. But it’s not necessarily the best choice for someone with an existing termite problem.
So Sentricon or Termidor? Which termite prevention treatment works best?
On the whole, Termidor gets a slight nod. It’s a little better at what it does than Sentricon, but it’s a close race and either one can be effective.
Termites eat huge amounts of wood and cause damage to your property. Termite inspections can help a homeowner know if there are termites in his property. A good pest and termite inspection professional can tell whether termites are present in a small number or a large number.
Everyone should conduct termite inspections to keep their properties safe from termites and other bugs.
Here are the steps you should follow to carry out a thorough pest inspection at your home:
Find Termite Inspectors
Ask about termite inspectors from friends and acquaintances. Conduct research about inspectors on the internet and the local telephone book.
Make Sure The Inspectors Are Legitimate
Enquire whether or not the inspectors you consider are legitimate, from the local agency of consumer protection.
Meet Some Inspectors
Enquire if the inspector or the inspection company is a part of any reputed pest control organization. If yes, it suggests that the inspector or the company is actively doing pest inspection, and holds a good experience in the job.
Ask the inspector about his experience. If you are hiring a company, ask it to assign the work of inspecting your home to the most experienced professionals.
Request A Schedule For Pest And Termite Inspection
Home owners should ask for pest and termite inspection from three or more inspectors or companies. Enquire about their fees.
Ask them to give you a written report that has information like materials they will use, the number of treatments needed, areas with pest infestation and warranty options if any. Enquire about how much time the inspection will take. Ask whether you and your family members and pets, if any, should stay at home during the pest treatment.
Review The Reports Carefully
Make sure that you understand the report well. Find if any guarantees are there and whether the inspector or the company will offer services for free in the guaranteed period.
Compare the materials that the inspectors or the companies are using, and make sure that the materials are safe to use in your home. Compare the labor costs and other aspects also.
Choose An Inspector
After comparing and analyzing all the inspectors, select the one who has adequate skills and experience, and charges a reasonable fee.
Get The Finalized Contract
Obtain the finalized contract from the inspector or company you have selected and compared it with the original estimate.
Make sure that there are no changes in the terms agreed upon. This also includes the contract has the current date and year, the company’s signature and contact information. If you the contract is satisfactory, sign it and schedule the inspection.
By following these steps, you can find an efficient inspector to carry out pest inspections at your home. Homeowners should conduct termite and bug inspections at fixed intervals. Many inspectors offer pest control services also to homeowners.
You may ask the inspector or company you hire, to offer pest treatments at regular intervals.
Termites are famous for causing huge damages to wood and structures. Although it is not possible to make a home bug proof completely, there are many ways in which one can prevent pest infestation using effective and safe termite control methods.
You can prevent pest infestation by trying to keep bugs out and taking measures to make your home inhospitable for bugs that might enter your home rarely.
Here are some effective ways in which you can keep pests out of your home:
- Put screens in all windows and doors
Install screen doors in your home. Replace or repair the damaged or torn window screens. Get fine mesh screens to prevent even the smallest insects from getting into your home.
- Seal all the doors
If your doors allow light and air to pass through, they would also let bugs in. Install door sweeps and thresholds that fit tightly to exterior doors’ bottom. Fill gaps at the sides and top of the doors with a door seal.
- Seal all cracks in fascia boards, exterior walls and foundation of your home
Cracks in exterior walls can easily allow insects to get into the home. Conduct a thorough inspection of your home and seal the crack well if you find any.
- Seal gaps around appliance vents and utility lines
Minute gaps around the telephone line, gas line, and dryer vent can allow insects to enter your home easily. Put caulk on all crevices in the exterior. You may also seal the gaps from the inside with spray foam. Sealing of gaps and cracks can help you in pest control to a great extent.
- Place critter-proof mesh in crawl spaces and vents inside attics
Birds, mice, squirrels, and raccoons may also enter your home through attics and crawl spaces if there are no barriers to prevent them from getting in. Such animals may have mites, fleas and other pests, which may infest your home.
- Fix leaks to lessen moisture
Most insects need a humid environment to survive. Moisture sources attract pests. Repair all the plumbing leaks in your home, even the ones that are very minor.
Condensation on pipelines may lead to dripping of water, thereby creating suitable places for pests. If the crawl space or basement accumulates water at times of heavy rains, pests may get in. Hence, build a good drainage system.
- Keep the kitchen clean
Bugs find those places appealing that have food and water. Always keep the kitchen neat and clean. Clean the spills immediately, sweep the floor and wipe up crumbs. Clean the dishes at night itself, instead of keeping them inside the sink overnight.
Clean the microwave, toaster, and stovetop regularly. Throw any packages and food scraps.
- Seal food items tightly
If you often find pests in your kitchen, take steps to remove the food sources from the access of insects. It is important to store food items like rice, grains and cereals in air-tight containers. Store the open food containers in your refrigerator.
These are some effective steps you can take for pest control in your home. A pest-free home is healthy and hygienic for living.
While termites can certainly be quite persistent and can be difficult to get rid of without the help of a service providing professional pest control, you can significantly reduce your chances of facing an infestation from these destructive pests — starting off with baby termites to the colony.
There are three basic sub-groups within the termite colony. These include:
The reproductives consist of the female queen and the male king. Many people think that just one king and one queen “rule” the colony, but the reality is that there can be several pairs of kings and queens in a colony that are responsible for producing offspring.
At the height of reproduction, a queen may produce as many as two thousand eggs in one day, which is why it is important to implement an effective method for termite control as soon as possible.
While the reproductive sub-group is responsible for adding new life to the colony, the worker termites are responsible for finding food for the colony, storing food and maintaining the nest. Depending upon the species, the worker termite may also be responsible for defending the colony.
The worker termites are the ones most commonly seen in infested wood. Although the workers are usually blind, they are very skilled at creating and maneuvering through elaborate tunnel systems.
Unfortunately, when it comes to termite control, many people mistakenly believe they have taken care of the infestation if they successfully kill off a group of workers.
Since there are still plenty of termites left at the nest, and because the queen is able to reproduce so rapidly, effective termite control requires getting rid of more than just the workers.
As the name implies, the solder sub-group is responsible for defending the nest. The bodies of soldier termites are different from the bodies of the worker termites in that they are specialized for defense.
In fact, many soldier termites actually have over-sized jaws that make it impossible for them to feed themselves. Rather, they have to be fed by the workers.
Since termites have such a vast social caste, and because they can spread out and cover a fairly large area, including hidden tunnels and mounds, it is a good idea to hire a termite company to get rid of the termite infestation completely.
- Remove or reduce sources of moisture – add drainage to help run-off moisture and take steps to reduce the amount of condensation under your home.
- Remove food sources – termites feed on wood, so remove debris from your crawl space and minimize the use of mulch and landscape timbers. Remove stumps on your property and minimize the use of wood for house framing as much as possible.
- Remove or reduce cracks throughout the home – cracks in basement foundations and concrete slabs create the perfect home for termites, as do cracks around utility pipes and cracks in veneers such as brick, stucco, and wood.
Sadly though, a number of homeowners do not know how a termite life cycle alone poses a threat to their home. They are only aware that these termites need to be destroyed so that they do not keep coming back.
Sad to say, the process for getting rid of termites is an ongoing one. It does not end with a single process as it will need the utmost participation between a pest control expert and the homeowner.
There are unfortunate processes because these two main personalities do not communicate well. As such, they do not pay attention to the fact that these pests can return anytime.
Getting rid of a termite infestation does not simply mean killing one or two of these pests. This is because termites do not live independently. They live in colonies and infest your home. A single colony can be composed of a few hundred termites to a few million. With this number alone, you have to be on your ground and be prepared for these pests as they can return anytime. The only way for the infestation to end is when the whole colony has been totally eradicated.
But how does a colony get organized? How do they know when to stop attacking your home? Just like bees and ants, termites get classified according to their social group. Yes, these pests have their own social order and depend on the one on top. Each colony of termites is composed of the following:
- Queens- Contrary to what a lot of people think, termites can have more than a single queen. People usually think this because many kinds of ants have only one queen. With termites, this is not necessarily the case as they have a primary queen and several secondary queens. The primary queen is the usually the one that started the colony. Her successors, secondary queens, also lay eggs and are set to take over once she is killed.
- King- Unlike her, each colony can only have one king. This is the male termite which mates with a queen in order to start a colony. His role is to help start the colony, raise each of the younger termites while the queen lays her eggs. Once the king is killed, a reproductive can grow to become his replacement.
- Soldiers- These termites are responsible for defending the nest from the other intruders such as insects.
- Workers- These are the termites which stays inside the nest. They are responsible for tending to the eggs and larva, building the nest and gathering food. Worker termites are usually white and die easily when they are outside the tunnel they have created due to an exposure to sunlight.
- Reproductives- Lastly, these termites are the ones which are usually visible to most people. They normally fly around for short periods of time, looking for a place where they can start a new nest. When they do, their wings shed out. They are also known as the Swarmers or the Neotenics.
Now that spring is here there are a lot more in our lawns and gardens than blooming flowers. We’re beginning to see plenty of insects and other pests that thrive this time of year, which calls for a home termite inspection and treatment.
According to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, termite activity accounts for more than $1.5 billion in property expenses each year in the United States.
That’s a lot of wood for supper.
Among those is the eastern subterranean termite, an ant-like creature that feeds on wood. They swarm in the springtime when a part of a colony spreads to find a new home and build its own nest.
The swarm consists of up to a thousand or more flyers that look like ants with wings approximately twice as long as the insect’s body, although the termites that live underground and consume wood do not have wings.
According to the University of Arizona extension services, termite swarms peak in April and May. They most commonly occur in the mornings following a light rain or shower when the ground temperature is around 70 degrees.
If a property owner notices a termite swarm, it’s a good idea to hire a professional pest management agency to conduct a termite inspection.
A typical inspection will take about an hour (longer if it’s a large house or shorter if more than one inspector is working). The technician should check the baseboards, around plumbing and electrical conduits, and along visible sections of the foundation.
If an inspector finds evidence of an infestation, the pest management company can give you an estimate for treating the house to remove the infestation. Consult a construction contractor or even an engineer for estimates of repair costs.
Preventing termite infestation requires specialized tools and knowledge; the only people who recommend do-it-yourself treatments are the people who sell them.
Anyone else, from industry regulators to home builders, will tell you to leave it to the pros.
Termite treatment consists primarily of two methods: Chemical barriers and baiting systems.
A chemical barrier involves the injection of a termiticide into the structure’s perimeter (either soil or concrete, or occasionally both). The termites cannot reach usual entry points into the house without passing through the toxic chemicals.
A baiting system involves the installation of bait stations in the ground at regular intervals around the property. The bait is made up of growth regulators that are eaten by worker termites and taken back to the colony.
The bait inhibits the termites’ ability to molt, which causes death. No matter which approach is taken, follow-up inspections should be planned and carried out. It may take a few months before the property can be guaranteed to be free of termites.
Just because you notice a termite swarm in your back yard doesn’t mean your home is infested. It definitely means it’s time to call termite control services.
If you do, however, find a nest, do not disturb it; it will likely provoke the termites to relocate and spread the colony farther.
Within a matter of weeks, wood termites can easily reduce an entire house to nothing. And the funny thing is that you will cohabit with them for some time before the actual destruction is visible.
The only sure way to control problems with termites is to prevent them from infesting the residence in the first place.
All termites live on wood. Therefore the most likely damage will be on furniture, and other wooden products. But some types of termites are said to be more destructive than others.
However, no one wants to wait and see how destructive a colony of termites is. In any case, the destruction will surely come, even if it is slow and invisible at first.
All said and done, the following are some of the preventive measures that one can take to keep the termite problem at bay:
Use Synthetic Wood Products
It is important to undertake simple research of the area around which you live. If the area is highly infested with termites then it might be safer to purchase products made of synthetic wood.
That way, the small insects do not have food and a reason to be your visitors. One can also go further and only acquire furniture made of any other products but wood for assured safety.
A frequent check up on the wooden areas around the house as well as the insides will lead the homeowner to detect the presence of termites early enough.
For this detection to be fruitful, one must also know, prior to the exercise, what to look for and how to identify even the smallest indicators of the pests.
If the infestations, or signs thereof, are detected early enough it becomes easy to deal with it than when one has to respond after the termites have eaten half the house.
Before building the house, especially if it is an all-wooden one, it is essential to treat the timber against termite infestation.
This makes the wood unpalatable to the small machines. Popular treatments for the prevention of termites are ones that have borate as the major ingredients.
By so doing, then the termites will find it difficult to attack your house later on.
One of the ways in which one can get rid of termites is by use of pesticides, which are also known as termiticides.
This is probably the easiest and most straight forward way. It is also the cheapest among all other termite riddance systems. Usually the termiticides are sprayed in the areas that are affected and within a few hours one can see the results of his handiwork as the termites start dying.
The only drawback with this method is that it does not cater for termites that may recur in the future.
Fumigants can also be used under this category. In this method, the entire structure is tightly covered and then a chemical gas is let into it. The poisonous gas then kills the termites this is a good method though it is relatively expensive since only professionals can do it effectively.
This is a two-step process. In the first step, cellulose cartridges are used to attract termites. Once they show up the cartridges are then exchanged with baits, which if the termites feed on they promptly die.