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Termite infestations can take years before homeowners notice them, and by that time, these pests can cause irreparable damage to your home. Each year, subterranean termites cost homeowners more than a billion dollars in property damage – that's a lot of money! Fortunately, annual inspections and the right termite treatment can help you avoid some of the costly damage these pests may cause. 

 

For Katy homeowners, here's what you should know about the signs of termites, the damage they cause, what attracts them, and how pest control in Katy can help you get rid of and prevent termites.

 

How To Identify A Termite Infestation In Your Katy Home

 

Because the signs of termites tend to be subtle, it's important for homeowners to know what to look for, such as:

  • Doors and windows that feel like they constantly get stuck on their frames
  • Paint that starts peeling off the walls
  • Drywall that droops or bubbles over time
  • Walls and floors that look water-damaged
  • Mud tubes surrounding your foundation or the soil around your home
  • Tiny, pin-sized holes in your walls
  • Termite droppings, which may look like coffee grounds and sawdust, in areas of high termite activity
  • Termite wings, which may look like fish scales, around your home or property
  • Hardwood floors or tiles that suddenly become loose due to excess moisture
  • Wooden structures that start to rot or look water-damaged over time
  • Actual termite swarmers flying around your property or your home
  • Wood that sounds hollow when you step or tap on it
  • Maze-like patterns in your furniture or other wood in your home

Even with the signs above, the easiest way to identify a termite infestation is by working with a pest control professional and obtaining annual inspections of your home. The signs above can still take years to become apparent and occur only after the damage has begun. Annual inspections can help you catch infestations much earlier.

 

Besides identifying the signs of termites, what do termites look like? The answer to this question depends largely on the role of the termite in the colony. Termite nests are made up of workers, soldiers, and alates. The most common termites we see are alates or reproductive termites. These insects are the only termites to have wings and can be easy to confuse with flying ants. There are a few things to check to tell the difference. Termites have a straight waist and antennae, and their wings are equal in size, whereas flying ants have a pinched waist, bent antennae, and their top set of wings is larger than the bottom. 

 

Soldiers and worker termites are sometimes mistaken for white ants. Workers are generally a creamy color but otherwise similar in shape to ants aside from the straight waist and antennae. Soldiers are a similar lighter color but have darker heads with larger jaws. Termites range in size from a quarter-inch to one inch in length, with workers being the smallest, soldiers slightly larger, and alates the largest. 

 

While similar in appearance, there are different kinds of termites in Katy. Subterranean termites are the most common type in the country and Texas. Living underground makes it harder to spot these termites since the signs are less obvious. Sometimes called "super termites," Formosan termites also live underground and aren't something you want in your Katy home as they are one of the more aggressive types of termites. Drywood termites don't need constant access to moisture to survive and make their colonies above-ground in dry wood. Drywood termites are the easiest to catch in your home only because the signs are more prominent. A subterranean or Formosan termite infestation is more likely to go unnoticed for extended periods if you're not getting annual inspections. 

 

The Extent Of Damage Termites Can Cause To Your Home

 

Do termites eat wood? Yes, termites eat wood, but they also nest in the wooden structures of your home by hollowing out the wood and building tunnels. Keep in mind that termites aren't interested in the wood itself, but the cellulose in the wood is what they like to digest. Termite damage can sometimes extend to non-wooden materials, like paper or cardboard. Stacks of newspaper and storage boxes can also be susceptible to termite damage. Certain types of termites, like drywood termites, don't need as much moisture as other kinds do but will still eat through drywall or wooden furniture in your home. 

 

While small termite infestations may only include a couple of thousand termites, large infestations can grow numbers into the millions. A large termite infestation can eat almost a pound of wood daily. Even though termites might be tiny in size, the damage they can cause in your Katy home can be great. On average, homeowners who discover a termite infestation spend around $3,000 or more trying to repair the damage caused. The damage caused by termites varies based on the type of termite, how big the colony is, and how quickly the infestation is caught. 

 

Are termites dangerous, and do they spread disease? The good news is that termites aren't known to transmit diseases like some pests are, but that doesn't mean they are harmless. Even if they aren't linked to disease, termites can trigger allergic reactions in many people. 

 

When they shed their skin, discard their wings, or produce droppings, some of the proteins in these things can lead to allergic reactions or asthma attacks in a lot of people. Some people with termite infestations may find that their asthma symptoms have worsened or that they frequently cough and sneeze. 

 

The Many Factors That Can Attract Termites To Your Home

 

What attracts termites? Although termites can invade your home out of convenience, certain factors attract them too – and make them much more likely to infest your living space, such as:

  • Wooden structures: Given their diet, it shouldn't come as much surprise that termites are drawn to wood, although preferences can vary based on species. Drywood termites seek out dry woods, while dampwood and subterranean termites prefer rotting or moist wood.
  • Moisture: Termites, especially subterranean and dampwood termites, need moisture to survive, so moisture and humidity can be a big attraction. This may include leaky pipes, water-damaged wood, or even humid crawl spaces.
  • Soil: Subterranean termites need soil to access the wood, so wood that touches the ground can make it easier for them to infest.
  • Firewood: If you've got firewood stacked against your home or touching the foundation, you could attract termites into your home and provide them with a way inside.
  • Dead trees: Rotting wood can draw termites in, so letting dead trees or stumps waste away near your home could do more harm than good.
  • Mulch: The wood chips that make up mulch can retain moisture and become a viable food source for termites. If the mulch in your garden is too close to your home, it could bring termites inside your house.
  • Clogged gutters: Not only can termites be attracted to the debris in your clogged gutters, but since leaving clogged gutters can lead to water damage to your roof, this can provide an easy access point for termites to get inside your home.

 

As dangerous as termites are, is there anything you can do to deter them? Termites can be tricky to prevent or prepare for, but there are a couple of things you can do to make your home less enticing to these pests and prevent termites in your house, such as:

  • Try to reduce the moisture and humidity in crawl spaces, basements, and attics.
  • Avoid storing wood and firewood against the foundation of your home.
  • Regularly ensure you're keeping gutters clear and there's no moisture build-up near your foundation.
  • Keep wooden siding at least six inches or more above the soil.
  • Regularly inspect your property's fences or other wooden structures for rotted or infested wood.
  • Have a pest control professional perform annual termite inspections in your home.

 

While the tips above won't be able to completely prevent termites, being aware of what attracts them and lowering these risk factors can make all the difference. 

 

The Most Effective Way To Get Rid Of Termites In Your Home

 

The only effective solution to get rid of termites is by working with a professional pest management service. At All-Safe Pest & Termite, our termite control services begin with a thorough inspection of your home, and once we've uncovered the root of the infestation and the extent of the damage, we'll come up with a customized treatment plan to meet the needs of your home. 

 

We're also available for annual inspections of your home. As mentioned above, many termite infestations go unnoticed for years at a time. By this point, termites can cause permanent damage to your home that may be costly to fix. By working with the pros to get an annual inspection, you'll be able to identify and treat termites before they've done too much harm to your home. 

 

If you suspect you've got termites in your Katy home, don't wait for the damage to become worse – call us today at All-Safe Pest & Termite to learn more about how we can help. 

 

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