Termites are sneaky insects that hide in the ground or inside the wood of a home. How do you protect your property from an insect that does this? The secret is to apply layers of protection. You'll need routine inspections to detect termites and warning signs of termite activity. To perform an inspection, you need to know how to identify termites, where to look for warning signs, and how to alter conditions around your home to avoid termite damage. Join us as we look at what you can do about termites and some of the benefits of getting year-round termite pest control in Fort Worth. These tips and insights will give you everything you need to find signs of termites in your yard and to stop termites in their tracks.
How To Identify Termites And Their Damage
The first layer in termite control is termite identification. When you see termites in or around your home, you must recognize them if you hope to protect your property. You must also know how to identify termites when looking for warning signs, which we recommend doing at least once a year if you don't have professional inspections or termite control installed around your home.
We have all types of termites in Fort Worth: drywood, dampwood, and subterranean termites. There are some differences in appearance, but they are negligible.
- A worker termite is about 1/8 of an inch in length. It is pale to yellowish in coloration and looks like a fat ant. The fat appearance is because termites don't have a noticeable pinch between the thorax and abdomen like ants do.
- A soldier termite is larger than a worker termite and has black pincers on the head. You'll find these termites near the workers because it is their job to protect them.
- A winged termite (also called a swarmer) is black or dark orange and has stacked wings on its back. When winged termites are in a swarm, they're hard to miss. But, when just one lands on you while you're in your yard, you may not even notice it. Swarmers are only 3/8 of an inch long. That is surprisingly small. You may brush it away without thinking another thing about it.
You can see termites at any time. It is best to stay vigilant and catch them when you see them. You may only get one chance. Let's look at a few ways you might notice termites and not realize it.
- You may glimpse a worker termite when you pick up dead branches on your property. Termite workers love natural, decaying wood matter. But there are lots of insects that crawl on sticks. You may see them and pay them no mind.
- You may see worker termites under wood scraps, wood pallets, wooden borders around flower beds, stacks of cardboard, and/or other materials on the ground. Many insects hide under the objects in your yard. Be sure to take a moment to make sure they're not termites.
- You may see winged termites in vegetation, underneath a deck, or in shaded and concealed areas. If you see one or two winged termites, it is a warning sign of an impending infestation. If you see dozens, you likely have active termites on your property.
- You may only see the wings left by swarmers they mate. A termite swarm lasts about thirty minutes. Inspect spider webs for these shed wings. You may recognize them by their stretched teardrop shape, rounded tips, and the fact that they're all the same size.
Along with termite identification, you should know what termite damage looks like on your home. Termite damage varies with the type of termite doing the damage.
- Subterranean termites are the most destructive termites in Fort Worth. These insects have a preference for softwood. You may see damage in humid or damp areas near the soil, and you're likely to see mud on the wood subterranean termites are damaging. In some cases, you might see damage moving along the grain, which creates a trench-like appearance.
- Drywood termites attack hardwood. You might notice damaged door and window frames, baseboards, banisters, or furniture. You may also see frass, a material that is mostly the droppings of drywood termites.
- Dampwood termites aren't as secretive as subterranean termites, and you're more likely to see their wood damage near the soil. You may see damage and notice that the damage is clean and goes across the grain.
Now that you know how to identify termites and termite damage, it is time to look at why and how they destroy homes in Fort Worth. How does this relate to termite control? When you know what termites are doing in your yard and how they get into your home, you'll have what you need to deter them.
Why And How Termites Infest And Destroy Homes
Why do termites destroy homes? Your home is just one of many potential food sources for termites. If termites have a reason to explore you yard, they will eventually find your home. Termites don't pass through your yard. They establish themselves. Winged termites may select your yard and create a nest, or workers may come into your yard and recruit reproductives from the original nest to establish a new nest. In both cases, it is the beginning of a termite problem that will only worsen over time. When the nest on your property matures, it will send out winged termites to make more nests.
How do termites destroy homes? Drywood termites get in through gaps, cracks, and holes. Take the time to seal exterior holes and you'll create a physical barrier these termites may not get past.
Subterranean termites are trickier. They live in the ground and come up from the ground to attack your home. The good news is they create shelter tubes. These mud structures may look like wiggly lines on your foundation, brick stairs, or other hard surfaces. When you see these tubes, it is time to contact a certified termite control professional. We also recommend removing wood-to-soil contact to prevent worker termites from being able to access the wood of your home without making these mud tubes. For example, put deck support posts on concrete piers.
Factors That Attract Termites To Homes And How To Remove Them
Before termites select your property, you can take steps to deter them. As you can probably guess, these steps are linked to what termites are looking for on your property. As you diligently watch for termite activity, use these tips to make your property less interesting to termites.
- Remove dead branches from the ground and store them in a plastic bin.
- Place scrap wood, construction materials, campfire wood, and other wood sources off the ground. You may use a rubber mat, a plastic pallet, an elevated platform, or some other solution.
- Remove stumps, logs, dying trees, and other natural food sources.
- Refrain from leaving piles of cardboard or clothing on the ground.
- Address moisture problems, such as clogged gutters, dense landscape vegetation, and plumbing leaks.
Your goal is to give termites few reasons to live and explore the soil around your home and block them from getting into your home. When you combine these suggestions with routine inspections, you may have all you need to stop termites. Unfortunately, there is still a risk. The only way to mitigate that risk is to install a termite control product. It is best to have a certified termite control professional handle the installation and maintenance of termite control. Let's look at why.
The Benefits Of Professional Termite Control
There are many benefits when you choose a professional company like All-Safe Pest & Termite to take care of termite control for you. Some are obvious. Others are not so obvious.
- A professional uses professional products that are not available to consumers, products such as the Sentricon® System with Always Active™ and certain Termidor termiticides.
- It isn't easy to install termiticides correctly. A professional goes through a certification process to learn how to install Termidor products.
- Installing termiticides requires trenching and drilling. It is best to have an insured service provider handle this so that the damage is covered in the rare case when something goes wrong.
- Termiticides require maintenance to provide continued protection. Professionals know how often your property will need retreatments.
- The Sentricon® System is a powerful termite colony elimination system that uses bait. But it isn't as simple as sticking a few bait stations in the ground around your home. Your service professional will monitor the stations and swap out bait if more than one colony, or a larger than normal colony, attacks your home.
- A professional performs routine inspections to ensure no termites find a way past your termite control.
- Termite control is hard work. Let a professional handle this tough job.
Are you in Fort Worth? Let the certified termite control professionals at All-Safe Pest & Termite protect your property against termite damage. We specialize in pest control and use the most trusted and tested products. Reach out to us today to learn more or to request service for your Fort Worth home. We're here to help!