When the topic of termites comes up in a conversation, it is surprising the range of stories that arise. You might hear, "My buddy got termites in his brand new home. Those termites destroyed it before the paint could dry." Others might say, "I've had my home for over 20 years and I've never had a termite. All I do it spray some stuff on my foundation walls every spring and voila--no termites!" So, which is it? Are termites going to destroy your home even before you have a chance to enjoy it for a few years or are they a pest you keep away with a yearly spray on the walls of your foundation? Both of these are urban myths. If you're not familiar with what an urban myth is, it is a story we share that has little or no supporting evidence and often ends with an amusing or shocking ending. It is never a good idea to rely on stories about termite infestations when deciding what you should do to protect your home. Termites are perfect for creating an urban myth; most people don't know all that much about them, and they're super creepy. After all, what is scarier than bugs living inside the wood of your home and eating away at your equity? Not much. Let's take a moment to demystify these creepy bugs.
Some urban legends have an amusing ending. Sure, it is usually a mixture of shock and humor, like thrusting your arm out into the light of a campfire to reveal that you have a hook for a hand, But termite stories are amusing in another way. If you've ever been told a story about how someone has protected their home by spraying some pesticides on their foundation wall every spring, there are a few things you need to know.
First of all, you're not likely to stop termites by doing this. Professionals inject termiticide deep into the soil so that termites can't get under the barrier. This creates a better protective wall to keep termites out.
Many homes have foundation walls that are difficult or impossible to get to. They may be under a deck, patio, porch, stairwell, or other exterior structure. And, since termites prefer locations that are shaded and moist, these are the areas they are most likely to attack your home.
It is also important to understand that pesticides can be dangerous. If you use the wrong kind of pesticide to stop termites, or you apply it in a topical way, you could expose yourself, your family, and your pets to something toxic. There are tragic cases across the country where improper pesticide usage has led to death. That is far scarier than anything termites could do.
What is more shocking than someone finding out that their home has been destroyed from the inside out by bugs? That's right up there with ghostly hitchhikers, sewer alligators, and Slenderman. But they're not going to destroy your home before the paint dries. In fact, you don't have to let them destroy your home at all. Here are a couple of things you should know about subterranean termites.
First, it is important to understand that subterranean termites are head and shoulders above drywood termites in terms of how much damage they can do. Annual drywood termite damage in the United States is in the hundreds of millions. But the damage done by subterranean termites is in the billions. That is pretty shocking.
There are several species of subterranean termite in the United States. Some are more ferocious than others. If you live in Florida or Texas, you know what a Formosan subterranean termite is. They have been in the news quite a bit. This is because Formosan termites are more destructive than other subterranean termites. One reason for this is that Formosan subterranean termites can establish a colony inside the wood of a home, with no need for contact with the soil. This allows them fast access to the wood which they consume as food. This scary fact makes them perfect subject matter for news agencies.
Floridians and Texans are also familiar with a species of termite that has been called the "super termite," by entomologists. A super termite is basically the offspring of Formosan subterranean termites and Asian subterranean termites. They are more destructive than both their parents. But even these termites can't destroy a home before the paint dries. It can take two or more years for these insects to total a home.
In our New Jersey service area, we don't have Formosan subterranean termites or super termites, but that doesn't mean the termites here can't produce shocking results. All termites do damage over time, and the damage termites cause is hard, or impossible, to correct. It may not happen overnight, but it happens. And it is just as shocking to find out that your home has been destroyed by termites that have been feeding on it for several years as it is to find out it happened in a night.
How Do Termites Feed For Years?
There are several reasons subterranean termites can feed on a home for years without being detected. Here are a few of the big ones:
They come up from the ground. Some people think all termite have wings, but this is not true. Swarmers are the only termites in a colony that have wings. When termites appear on a home, it is usually a sign of a current infestation, not an infestation that is about to occur. When termites come to feed on your home, they are likely to come up from the ground.
They're sneaky. You may be aware that subterranean termites create mud tubes on basement walls to get at the wood of a home, but don't count on this warning sign to detect termites. These mud tubes are most often created in secluded and hard-to-see locations that are shaded and moist--that is assuming they establish mud tubes at all. If a home has wood that touches the soil, there is no need for subterranean termites to make mud tubes.
Termites feed on the inside of wood. These are moisture pests. If they are exposed to the air, they dry up and die. For this reason, they're going to do damage like carpenter ants, carpenter bees, or even drywood termites, which push their droppings out of holes.
Termites are quiet. While it is true that worker termites hit their heads on tunnel walls to communicate, this noise is often too quiet for the human ear to pick up. It is only when an infestation is significant, or termite workers are extremely agitated, that these noises can be heard.
Understanding Subterranean Termite Control
Another way termites are allowed to feed on a home for years has nothing to do with how these insects behave; it has to do with how we behave. Here are two examples:
When we think we're protected, we don't worry as much, and we don't think to look for termite signs. If a homeowner thinks their sprayed pesticides are doing the job, they're not likely to spend much time looking for signs of termites.
There are a lot of things we fill our brains with. For most of us, learning about termites isn't all that much fun. So, we can sometimes look at a sign of termite damage and not even realize what we're looking at. When paint begins to bubble, baseboards have honeycomb-like indentations, tiny lines of dirt appear on a closet wall or on the side of the a toilet or bathtub, white wings appear on the front steps or on a window sill, or a swarm of winged insects fluttering around an exterior light at night, we might not know that we're being warned of a subterranean termite infestation.
No Shocking Ending
A story of termites doesn't have to have a shocking ending. Sure, it isn't as interesting, but do you really want the story of your home to be a cautionary tale for others? Of course not. Let someone else's home be the urban legend people share at parties and around campfires. When you invest in termite control form an educated, experienced, and trusted pest control provider like Arrow Pest Control, you can know for sure that your home is protected. With Arrow Pest Control you get:
Routine inspections from someone who is trained to look for termite signs, no matter how subtle.
A deep and reliable termite control barrier that doesn't just stop termites in their tracks, but works to eliminate the termite colony that sent those workers to feed on your home.
The confidence that termite control products have been administered according to strict safety regulations.
If you have not yet invested in termite control for your New Jersey home or business, reach out to Arrow Pest Control today or sign up for a free inspection. When you have termite control, you decide how much you're going to allow subterranean termites to cost you.
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