What are termites?
Termites are wood-destroying insects that live and work together in large groups. The most common termite species that live in the United States nest in the soil below the ground. Termites feed on pieces of wood and other items made out of cellulose and are one of the few organisms able to do so.
Termites divide their colony into different groups. The soft-bodied workers make up most of the colony and are responsible for gathering food for the entire colony. Soldiers have strong jaws that they use to guard the colony. The reproductive members (males and fertile females) have wings and are dark brown or black. Reproductive termites emerge and swarm from mature colonies in the spring to find a mate and start a new colony.
Are termites dangerous?
In nature, termites are beneficial, helping to break down decaying materials made of cellulose. However, when termites decide to nest near our homes, they often find their way inside, where they quickly become destructive and unwanted pests. Termites are not directly dangerous to people, but they are very dangerous to our properties!
Termites are responsible for causing more than five billion dollars in damages across the country each year. Entering indoors unseen where they work unnoticed for months or even years makes termites formidable pests to have to tackle.
Discovering their damage is what usually alerts homeowners to a termite infestation. The structural damage they cause is expensive to repair, and most homeowners' insurance does not cover repair costs.
What is a termite's life cycle & habits?
In a typical termite colony, the king and queen are the only active reproductives, they perform no other function. They are fed by the other termites and some have lived up to 25 years. A mature queen can lay thousands of eggs each year.
During the two-week incubation period, eggs are tended by the worker termites. The nymph hatches directly from the egg. Attendants feed nymphs regurgitated food for the first two weeks, enabling them through molting to become workers, soldiers, reproductives or supplementary reproductives. As the reproductive nymph matures, its body lengthens and sexual organs develop. The body turns black, eyes become functional and wings extend twice its body length. All mature reproductives leave the colony at the same time, usually in the spring and sometimes in the fall.
The worker nymph has no eyes and is sterile. Its main function is to provide the colony with food, usually obtained by eating the understructure of buildings. Workers need a high humidity to survive and will carry mud up into the wood where feeding to maintain a 97 percent relative humidity.
The soldier nymph develops a long, armored head and large jaws during its last molt. The sole purpose of the soldier is to defend the colony against enemies such as ants.
Swarmers are poor fliers and when above ground, usually flutter a few yards and fall. Swarmers, emerging outdoors from tree stumps, railroad ties, etc., are usually not of concern and are in no way an indication that the structure is infested. After dropping to the ground they shed their wings. Surviving males find compatible mates and then burrow into the ground to become king and queen. These termites live in nests underground and tunnel up for food which includes the wood understructure of home.
A very small percentage of swarming termites survive to initiate new colonies. Many are eaten by other insects, birds, etc. likewise, swarms emerging inside a structure usually never survive. However, it is an indication of infestation.
Termites have the ability to move their colony up and down in the soil to find optimal temperature and moisture conditions.
Why do I have a termite problem?
Termites tend to become a problem in homes after they find their way inside while out foraging for food. Termites move through the soil and into buildings through tiny cracks and crevices in the foundation. They also move into structures through wood that is making direct contact with the earth. Once inside, termites prefer structural wood that has once been damaged by water.
Where will I find termites?
Witnessing a termite swarm is one of the few times a person will ever see termites. Termites spend a majority of their lives either underground or in the wooden structures that they are feeding on. Most species of termites do not live within the pieces of wood they are feeding on. They travel back and forth from their nest to a food source each day either through the soil or inside the mud tubes they have created.
Those termites that feed on structural wood inside homes are usually found behind walls and below floors. Areas around pipes or wood damaged by water are where they generally start eating. Infestations typically begin at ground level. Over time, the termites will move up walls and above ceilings.
How do I get rid of termites?
Getting rid of termites from your yard, home, or business is best left up to a professional. The experts here at Amco Pest Solutions will provide you with comprehensive termite control services to get rid of them and prevent their return. Whether you are looking to get rid of a current infestation or prevent future problems with pests, our family-owned and operated company is here to help.
Our professionals are committed to providing the pest control services needed to keep your home or business free of termites and other common pests. Reach out to Amco Pest Solutions today to learn more about our effective home pest control and commercial pest control solutions. Let's work together to protect your New Jersey, New York, or South Florida property from being taken over by termites!
How can I prevent termites in the future?
To make your property less attractive to termites, use the following easy-to-execute prevention tips:
Keep gutters clear of debris to prevent water from backing up and seeping into your home's walls.
Place weatherstripping around all windows and doors to prevent rainwater from getting into your home.
Fix leaky pipes, faucets, or fixtures.
Use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture levels in your home.
Ventilate crawlspaces to keep them dry.
Maintain a barrier between any soil and your foundation.
Eliminate wood to soil contact on your property.
Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, and leaf piles from your property.
Replace mulch with non-organic gardening materials.
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