6 Things You Should Know About Termites

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Have an infestation in your home? Before calling termite control, it is recommended to know your enemy first before attacking. Here are six things you should know about termites


They Serve a Purpose

Don’t be put off – we’re not going to attempt to stop you from exterminating them when you get the chance. Termites have a bad reputation because of the damage they do to homes. Outside of a residential property however, they do have a positive purpose in an ecosystem by being waste processors.

The reason they feed on wood is because they are attracted to the cellulose present in dead trees and plants. Termites have the ability to turn this cellulose into usable nutrients by recycling them into humus which is healthy for soil. Because of this, termites actually help to create a fertile environment in fields and forests. Sadly, this means they mistakenly think that the cellulose in the wood of your home needs to be turned into humus too.

How They Find Wood

From the main colony, termites tunnel in a starburst pattern and keep doing so until they find tree roots, moisture, and potential food sources. If the need to go above surface arises, then they create mud tunnels for them to travel in. They usually do this if they sense a food source inside a building. Just like ants, they enter buildings by trailing the edges until they find an opening.

Once they find a food source they will lay down a pheromone trail while making their way back to the heart of the colony. This is what other termites will follow in order to get to the food source.

The foraging territory of termites depends on:

  • Age and size of the colony
  • Species of termite
  • Availability of nearby food sources

They’re Full-Time Workers

Termites work twenty-four hours a day for all days of the year. Because they are so efficient at it, their destructive capabilities cost eleven billion dollars in property damage and repairs every year in the United States of America and twenty-two billion dollars a year worldwide.

Flying Ants Doppelgangers

Flying ants can look very similar to termites. Here are a few factors that can help you distinguish between the two:

  • Termite’s wings are all equal in size while one pair of ant wings are smaller than the other. The wings of termites are also twice as long the termite’s bodies. Ant wings are much smaller.
  • Termites have straight antennae while ant’s antennae are elbowed.
  • Ants’ body segment are easily defined by their thin waists. Termites have a uniform, straight body.


Simple Ways to Prevent Infestations

A full-blown termite infestation is very serious, so prevention is key. There are many easy ways to make sure the termites don’t even think of looking for a food source in your home.

  • Remove as much moisture from your home as possible
  • Repair leaks immediately
  • Eliminate standing water from pots, roofs, etc.
  • Make sure vents are clear of any clogs
  • Properly seal and dispose of food
  • Keep lumber, paper, and firewood on high ground and/or away from the house
  • Install screens on vents, doors, and windows



Signs of Infestation

The process of prevention is not the same as the remedy. If you see these signs of termite infestation at home, then you should immediately call termite control:

  • Swarms of winged bugs inside your home
  • Cracks of bubbles in your paint
  • Termite droppings
  • Hollow wood
  • Mud tubes
  • Damaged wood


Now that you know your enemy, you understand why they are hungry for the food in your home. Use this information to prevent or purge them from your home.