The most destructive termites in the United States are subterranean termites. Property owners in the U.S. pay more than $5 billion every year battling these termites, and property damage caused by subterranean termites adds up to more than hurricanes, tornadoes, hail storms, and wind storms combined. That is a sobering thought if you've made a substantial investment in a property here in Dallas. But subterranean termite damage is preventable. Here's what you need to know.
1. Subterranean Termite Detection
While it is usually difficult to detect subterranean termites, these insects do provide warning signs. Every Dallas property owner should be aware of these signs:
Shelter tubes: Subterranean termites create above-ground tunnels made of soil and saliva on foundation walls and other areas where they need to travel from the soil to the wood of a structure. These tubes protect them from the dry air and shield them from the light. If these termites attack your property, you might be able to see these tubes. Look for them in dark, damp, and secluded places.
Swarmers: When a termite colony matures, it will start to produce male and female reproductives. We call these "swarmers" because they gather together in a swarm to pair off with mates. If you see lots of tiny black or orange insects with noticeable white wings, those are probably termite swarmers. A swarmer is about 3/8 of an inch long. This makes it difficult to see a couple when they enter your yard to start an infestation.
Damage: Most of the damage subterranean termites do is on the inside of wood. But you might see damage to wood in damp locations. If you find termite damage, you're likely to find soil. These termites bring soil up into their tunnels. They also use soil to plug holes if their tunnel walls are breached.
Clicking: If you have a large number of termites inside a timber, you may hear them. Soldier termites bang their heads on tunnel walls in response to threats. If ants find their way up into their tunnels, this can set the soldiers off. Unfortunately, this is rare, so you are not likely to hear this.
White ants: We often hear people describe termites as white ants. This is because they are pale in color and look a little bit like fat ants. It is possible to see worker termites in stumps and logs, underneath boards, in stacks of cardboard or piles of clothing, and in rotting wooden structures.
2. Subterranean Termite Damage Prevention
Subterranean termite workers will feed on many food sources at the same time. While they're eating your old wood fence, they can be eating your old wood porch. While they're nibbling on the railroad ties you've used as flower bed borders, they can be feeding on the sole plates of your home. Remove sources of wood from your yard to make your property less interesting to worker termites. Here are a few more tips that can help to deter worker termites:
Inspect your yard for any wood that sits on the ground. If it can be removed, you should remove it.
Inspect your home, shed, barn, and other structures for wood-to-soil contact. If wood touches the soil, it can give termites a direct path into these structures. Address these areas.
Refrain from burying wood, cardboard, or other items made from cellulose, in your yard.
If you have stacks of wood, move them away from your home and elevate them so the wood doesn't touch the ground.
Address conditions that allow for standing water. Moisture is a strong attractant for subterranean termite workers. Clean your gutters and make repairs to your gutter system. Repair leaky spigots or hoses. Grade around your foundation to allow water to flow away from your foundation wall.
Rake leaves and remove organic debris.
3. Apply Termite Control Products
No home should be without termite protection. Termidor and other termiticides have been the standard in termite control for a very long time, but experts have been turning to the Sentricon® System with Always Active™ for the past two decades. This amazing termite control system doesn't just eliminate termite colonies as they attempt to feed on man-made structures, it makes termite detection and inspections a breeze. Technicians are able to easily check the discreet bait stations installed in the ground around properties and see termite activity.
If you have questions or you'd like to discuss termite service for your Dallas property, reach out to us today. The certified professionals at All-Safe Pest & Termite are here to help you protect your investment from the threat of subterranean termites.