A Close View of Termites
As a descendant of the extremely versatile cockroaches of old, it’s no wonder that the termites of today are so resilient. A testament to their longevity and resilience is that they have been around for millions of years, which meant that they were around during the time of dinosaurs. Today, they are present and thriving on every continent on Earth except for Antarctica; it is not rare to see a place wherein termites are present.
In biological terms, termites belong to the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, and order Isoptera. Three of the most common termites that invade houses and other structures are the Pacific dampwood termites, the Southeastern drywood termites, and the Eastern subterranean termites.
They are able to do so by living as coordinated social colonies in any relatively warm or moist space – preferably on the ground or in a wooden object. They live in numbers that can range from hundreds up to the thousands, and they enact their own sense of order by implementing a sort of a caste system amongst its population.
The third tier is comprised of the working class – they are in charge of providing for the colony’s basic needs. Foraging, food, and shelter are among their top priorities. This is the most common type of termite that people usually see since they tend to venture far away from their colony.
The second tier is made up of the soldier class whose main duty is to defend the colony. They are anatomically different from their peers in the sense that they have evolved dangerous jaws for this function – a side effect of that is that they are unable to feed themselves. The working class is in charge of their nutrition.
The third and last tier is comprised of the colony’s breeders – a fertile couple, often called the king and the queen. They remain mates for a long time, and depending on when they initiate, a certain type of termite will be born.
Identifying termites may start off as a challenge, as they can be difficult to identify due to their similarity to common ant species. They are known as “silent destroyers” due to the fact that the damage they do will not be apparent, and they tend to live inside structures, hidden from plain sight.
The size of normal termites can range from ½ to ¼ of an inch, which can be difficult to spot with the naked eye. Kings and queens can grow larger, around an inch in length and can be easier to spot. Swarmers, in particular, are winged termites which are easier to spot, due to the fact that they tend to fly and look for locations where they can mate and nest. The average termite has a pale soft body. When you see them in and around the vicinity of your home’s structure, it is best to get a termite control system, in order to avoid the problem getting bigger.
Difference between Ants and Termites
Despite their resemblance, there are certain key differences that ants and termites have visually, which can help you identify them properly. Some people tend to mistake household ants as termites, which can lead to more problems. Here is a list of key differences between the two insects:
- Wing Length – The wings of ants may vary by length, while termites have a standard wing length.
- Waist – The waist of the ants looks more pinched compared to the termites, which have straight waists.
- Antennae – The antennae of the ants are bent, whereas the termites have straight antennae.
- Swarmers and Flying Ants – The significant difference between the two is that flying ants do not shed their wings, unlike termites, which shed after settling into a new colony. More termites fly during the mating seasons.
- Body Color – Ants can be black (builder ants) and brown (hostile ants) in color, and have opaque bodies. Meanwhile, termites are white in color, and have translucent bodies.
Looking for Termite Damage
The main target of termites is cellulose, which is found in wood. Since the damage done is not visible from the outside, it is important to check the insides of houses for any damage that can cause the structure to be compromised. Evidence of damage from termites includes the following:
- Ceiling Damage – Wooden ceilings, rafters, and beams are susceptible to termite damage, despite being at a higher elevation. It is important to look for parts that are cracked or sagging, which can be an evidence of a termite infestation.
- Floor Damage – Termites have a tendency to go under, and set up colonies or tubes under your floors. It is best to check your flooring for termite activity, while also being on the lookout for blisters and sagging on the floor. You might want to also check if the floor is unstable, as spongy and springy floors are signs of infestation.
- Wall Damage – One of the most common signs of termite infestations are damaged walls. One of the first signs would be unexplained cracks on the walls. This can mean that your wall may have been compromised.
- Damage to the Foundation – The foundation is what keeps your structure standing. This means that if this gets infested with termites, it can render the said structure unfit for people to reside in it. Most foundations are made mostly of concrete, but the termites can go through the cracks in between, where they can look for wood that they can consume.
- Termite Droppings – Termite droppings, also known as frass, is solid evidence that there are termites going around your structure. Frass is also used by the termites when building up their colonies.
- Mud Tubes on the Walls – Made out of damp soil and droppings, these tubes are used by termites to connect their colonies. These tubes are colored brown, and can be seen from exteriors of walls and other parts of the structures.
- Weakened Wood – Since termites consume wood from the interior, they leave hollow parts inside, which drastically can weaken the wood. Simply knocking or tapping on the wood would help you know if there are signs of infestation. If the wood has a hollow sound, you can take this as a sign of termites.
- Damaged Windows and Doors – Door frames and window frames are also just as vulnerable to termites as the rest of your house’s structure. Termites can reshape the door and window frames, which can result to your doors and windows becoming hard to open.
Termites normally thrive in tropical soil, such as the kind found in the Philippines. In fact, of the 54 species of termites, six of them are commonly found in homes and other structures in the country. These species of termites all consume wood, and are dangerous in any setting.
In the rain forest ecosystem, termites normally play an important part by recycling wood in decaying plants. This ensures that rotten wood will not become a nuisance within its surroundings.
Unfortunately, they become economic pests when their appetite for wood extends to the home, commercial establishments, and agricultural crops. This is dangerous as structures can be compromised to the point of severe damage, which can lead to structural hazards that can cause danger to the people residing. Food stores, which are ravaged by termites, can cause severe supply shortages and loss of income.
Termites also have an appetite for cloth, paper, and other cellulosic materials, causing billions of pesos worth of damage annually, and leaving various houses and infrastructures in states of disrepair. In some places, such as libraries and schools, termites tend to damage important files as well.
Topbest offers several options for termite pest control in the Philippines such as the Sentricon Colony Elimination System, repellent liquid treatments, as well as non-repellent liquid treatments.
Termite pest control can be done prior to construction to prevent infestation as well as post construction to control or eliminate the termite colonies.
Sentricon® colony elimination system is an innovation in termite colony control from DowAgroSciences, U.S.A. It is a ground breaking alternative that eliminates the need for digging, drilling as well as for the injection of chemicals.
Sentricon uses very little chemicals so it’s safe for you, your family, pets, and the environment, while being a very effective system that eliminates termite colonies with efficiency.
This has been applied to more than a million properties and homes in the U.S. and in the Philippines. Sentricon is the termite colony system currently protecting the White House and the Statue of Liberty from these pests. Sentricon is also the winner of the prestigious U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Award.
Installing Sentricon requires a Certified Sentricon Specialist (CSS), who will be able to map out the right locations to install the traps, and help maintain the safety of the house even after the colonies have been eliminated. The traps contain cellulose, which attracts the termites, and noviflumoron, which is a chemical that prevents the synthesis of the termites. The termites will feed on the trap, until they slowly start to die out. One Sentricon trap is enough to kill millions of termites within a span of 3 to 6 months. Having Sentricons set up around your perimeter give your home or structure a stable solution that will not compromise the inhabitants inside.
Premise® is the first non-repellent liquid termiticide from Bayer Environmental Science and has a unique mode of action that can control even the toughest subterranean termite infestations.
Using a method called Lateral Soil Movement, PREMISE is evenly spread on the soil, creating a complete treated zone around your house that would protect it from intruding termites. The chemical binds to the soil, and cannot be washed away. The chemical would be spread into the perimeter of the structure, so when the termites enter it, they would slowly die. The termites can also pass on these chemicals through interaction, which speeds up the process of their elimination.
Premise is an odorless chemical, so it is safe for you or your family to stay at home during the entire application. The termites will be unable to detect the repellent and will therefore unknowingly digest it. Another good thing about this is that it is environmentally friendly and safe, meaning you don’t have to worry about your family’s safety.
Ceptiva® powder is a termiticide produced by Baden Aniline and Soda Factory (BASF), the largest chemical company in the world. A product trusted by pest control agencies across South America and Asia. It is composed of microcrystalline cellulose matrix, which attracts the termites into consuming them. Simply apply Ceptiva into the termite colony, and they will slowly die due to consumption and contact with infected termites. It is designed to eliminate subterranean termite species in the span of 2 to 4 weeks.
First introduced in the Philippines on March 2010 by Upgreen Corporation, Ceptiva is an odorless, low-toxic product that’s safe for humans, animals, and the environment. It is compact and ready to use, which makes it a great quick solution for your termite elimination needs.
Topbest pest professionals use T3i, the latest technology from Termatrac®. T3i can detect, confirm, and trace termites by combining Termatrac®’s patented Termite Detection Radar, Remote Thermal Sensor with Laser Guide, and an advanced Moisture Sensor. This 3-in-1 functionality enables Topbest experts to precisely locate nests, identify entry points, and mud-tunnels without drilling holes or taking down walls. With both the best and efficient chemicals, along with the best technology Topbest is guaranteed to give you the best and most effective methods of removing the worst termite infestations. You are also assured that you have the most qualified staff available to help you.
This pest control method can even be used in dark, confined areas for a more comprehensive diagnosis. Data from T3i will be connected to a PDA, which displays and stores information for review and reference. It’s a quick and efficient way to find out exactly where your termite problem is for targeted treatment.
Do you want to get the best home protection against termites? You can contact us now and schedule a free consultation!