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Why Are Termites So Hard To Control?

July 10, 2014

up close image of a termite in pennsylvania

As a homeowner, you have made a huge investment in your home. You probably spend lots of time mowing and planting in your yard. You want to enjoy your home. It is your refuge. It is where you raise your family. It may also be a buffet to subterranean termites. These little insects are so small and hide so well that you may never know the invitation was sent to feast at your house.

A termite colony is generally not in your home. As their name suggests they are subterranean, living underground. A colony is made up of a queen, workers, soldiers and swarmers. The queen is there to keep the colony growing and in fact, the average queen may lay up to 1 million eggs in her lifetime.

Once an egg hatches it works in the colony in one of three ways: soldiers, swarmers and workers. Soldiers have the primary job of protecting the colony. Usually, this means protecting the colony from ant attack. Swarmers are the reproductives that leave the primary colony and create other colonies. Workers are the termite that you need to be concerned about. Worker termites are foragers. They are constantly on the move for food sources. It takes a lot to feed a colony of 1 million or more. The worker locates a food source and then lays down a scent for other workers to follow. This leads everyone to and from the food source 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A worker termite can’t tell the difference between a wood pile and your home. They are both wood and therefore food to be eaten.

Because termites are normally underground, it is sometimes difficult to identify their presence. You may see some signs such as mud tubes on your foundation. These are the tubes termites create and use to go from the ground into your house. You may also see a pile of broken wings from termite swarmers. Once a flying reproductive termite mates, it breaks off its’ wings and starts its’ colony. After the worker termites have been feasting on your home, you may notice the damage they cause. Damage such as soft wood, sagging or weakened floors is possible signs of termite presence. You may file piles of fecal pellets next to a wall or signs of dirt in any hollowed out wood. This dirt is brought up into the wood by the termites as they are feeding.

A termite infestation is a serious issue for your home. You will want to use a professional pest control company to inspect your home. After a thorough inspection, they can then give you some choices on resolving the current infestation and preventing future infestations. It is important to act quickly because termites are no easy match without trained termite exterminators.

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