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Termites Explained

June 30, 2015

termite on wood

You've probably heard of termites, especially if you own a home. But do you know enough about termites to protect your home from devastating structural damage and the possibility of your equity being eaten away by an insect that consumes wood twenty-four hours a day? If not, here is your two minute primer on termites.

What is a termite? There are over 2,000 species of termite in the world, 50 species in the United States, and only 20 species that are considered structural pests. Of the 20 that can invade a home, the most destructive is the subterranean termite. All termites eat wood, but subterranean termites prefer moist decaying wood.

What do they look like? Termites aren't much to look at. Most of them look like tiny little worms from a distance, but when you have millions of termites in a single colony, they can do quite a bit of damage.

How much damage do they do? Subterranean termites alone are responsible for $2 billion in property damage annually. The National Pest Management Association estimates that property owners spend over $5 billion on termites each year.

Are there subterranean termites in Pennsylvania? Yes.

How do I know if I have termites in my home? There are a few ways you can check for termites, but this is an invading insect that can live entirely inside the wood of your home. For this reason, a certified termite inspection is needed if you want to know for sure.

What signs do I look for? Subterranean termites build mud tubes up the sides of basement walls. These mud tubes can also be found on inside walls, especially in damp areas. Winged termites, also known as swarmers, can also be a sign that you have a colony of termites living within your walls. Swarmers don't fly far from the mature colony that produces them.

Can I prevent termites? The only sure protection from termites is a year-round treatment plan from a pest control company.

What should I look for in a pest control company? Find a company that uses Termidor®, the #1 termite defense product in the U.S. and Europe. This product has an active ingredient that termites take with them back to their colony to poison other termites.

Now you're armed with the knowledge you need to protect your home from invading termites. If you would like to learn more about the entomology of these little bugs, Penn State has a great resource. If you need a termite control specialist that is associated with the National Pest Management Association--as Penn State suggests--give Moyer Indoor | Outdoor a call at (215) 660-3642.




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