Elite Pest Management, LLC – Bed Bug & Termite Services
Termites date back more than 120 million years to the time of the dinosaurs. They are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. Each year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage – costs that aren’t covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. This is why being vigilant about termite control and termite extermination is so important.
Types of Termites
Subterranean Termites (Family Rhinotermitidae)
The best method of subterranean termite control is to avoid water accumulation near the foundation of the home. Prevent subterranean termite access by diverting water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the home, and keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation. Indoors, homeowners should reduce humidity through proper ventilation of crawl spaces, attics and basements to avoid attracting subterranean termite swarms.
Color Creamy white to dark brown/black Legs 6 Shape Long, narrow and oval Size 1/8 inch long Antennae Yes Region Found throughout the U.S.
Subterranean termites build distinctive tunnels, often referred to as “mud tubes,” to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. They use their scissor-like jaws to eat wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like other termite species, subterranean termites also feed on products containing cellulose. Subterranean termites swarm in the spring when groups of reproductive termites go off to start new colonies.
Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two million members. They are also found in moist secluded areas above ground.
Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive termite species. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time. Over time, they can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner. If you suspect a termite infestation, contact a pest professional about subterranean termite treatment.
Subterranean Termite Prevention
The best method of subterranean termite control is to avoid water accumulation near your home’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard. Most importantly, eliminate wood contact with the soil. Maintain a one-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building.
Drywood Termites (Family Kalotermitidae)
Drywood termites can be avoided by making sure firewood and scrap wood is stored at least 20 feet from the home. Another drywood termite treatment tactic is to seal all cracks and crevices around the foundation of the home. Homeowners should also routinely inspect the property for signs of drywood termites, paying special attention to window and doorframes, trim, eaves, siding and attics.
Color Creamy white to light brown Legs 6 Shape Long, narrow and oval Size 3/8 to 1 inch long Antennae Yes Region Primarily found coastally from South Carolina westward to Texas and up the west coast of California
Drywood termites form colonies of up to 2,500 members. Unlike subterranean termite species, drywood termite colonies do not have a worker caste, as the work is done by immature termites before they reach adulthood. Drywood termites usually swarm on sunny, warm days after a sudden rise in temperature.
Drywood termites infest dry wood, like that found in attic framings. They can be transported to new locations via an infested piece of furniture, a picture frame, etc.
Drywood termites can chew through support beams, floors and walls, causing expensive home repairs. In fact, drywood termites and other termite species cause a collective $5 billion in property damage each year.
Drywood Termite Prevention
Drywood termites can be avoided by making sure firewood and scrap wood is stored at least 20 feet from the home. Drywood termites form new colonies by gaining access to wood through small holes. As a drywood termite treatment tactic, seal all cracks and crevices in a structure.
Dampwood Termites (Family Hodotermitidae)
As the name suggests, dampwood termites infest wood with high moisture content. Dampwood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species.
Color Creamy white to brownish Legs 6 Shape Long, narrow and oval Size 1/2″ – 5/8 inch long Antennae Yes Region Found throughout the pacific coastal and adjacent states, the desert or semi-arid southwest, and southern Florida
Dampwood termite colonies, like drywood termites, have no worker caste. The nymph dampwood termites take care of the kings and queens of the colony and feed the soldier caste. These termites create a series of chambers in wood, which are connected by tunnels with smooth walls, as if sandpapered.
Dampwood termites are usually found in logs, stumps, dead trees, fence posts and utility poles.
Dampwood termites do not usually infest structures because of their need for excessive moisture. However, care must be taken to avoid attracting dampwood termites to a structure, as they can cause serious property damage. In fact, dampwood termites and other termite species cause a collective $5 billion in property damage each year.
Dampwood Termite Prevention
To avoid dampwood termites, homeowners should eliminate sources of moisture by diverting water away from the home’s foundation. It’s important to repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units on the outside of the home as dampwood termites are often drawn to these areas. Firewood should be stored at least 20 feet away from the house. To prevent dampwood termites indoors, reduce humidity by properly ventilating crawl spaces, attics and basements.
Formosan Termites (C. formosanus)
Formosan termite control begins with eliminating sources of moisture both inside and outside of the home. Inside, homeowners should reduce humidity in crawl spaces, attics and basements with proper ventilation. Outdoors, divert water away from the home’s foundation to prevent Formosan termite access with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Homeowners should also store firewood at least 20 feet away from the home and maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of the home.
Color Creamy white to brownish Legs 6 Shape Long, narrow and oval Size 1/2 inch in length Antennae Yes Region Found in Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and California
Formosans build intricate mud nests in the ground. They can chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper. In fact, the average size of a Formosan termite colony can consume one foot of 2X4 wood in 25 days.
Formosan termites live in huge underground colonies with an average of 350,000 workers. In addition to structures, they also infest trees, shrubs, utility poles, timber, railroad trusses and even boats.
Because of their aggressive nature, Formosan termites are difficult to control once they infest a structure. A mature Formosan termite colony can cause severe structural damage to a home in as little as six months. Prevention is key with this termite species. If dealing with an existing infestation, talk to a pest professional about a Formosan termite treatment.
Formosan Termite Prevention
Avoid water accumulation near your home’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard. Most importantly, eliminate wood contact with the soil. Maintain a one-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building.
Conehead Termites (Nasutitermes corniger)
Conehead termites are an invasive species native to the Caribbean that was first introduced to the U.S. in 2001. They were originally called “tree termites,” but were renamed conehead termites to alleviate the misconception that this pest is only found in trees.
Color Cream bodies; dark brown heads Legs 6 Shape Long; narrow; Soldiers have a pear shaped head Size 3 – 4 mm Antennae Yes Region Broward County, Fla.
Unlike most termites, the conehead termite does not rely on underground tunneling to travel. Instead, they forage on the ground like ants, allowing them to spread quickly.
Conehead termites build dark brown “mud” tubes and freestanding nests on the ground, in trees or in wooden structures. The nests can be up to 3 feet in diameter and have a hard surface of chewed wood.
Conehead termites are an extremely aggressive termite species known for causing widespread property damage in a short period of time. Additional research into the species and treatment options are critical to controlling this destructive pest’s spread, or else millions of dollars in damage can be expected.
Conehead Termite Prevention
Because of their unique habits, conehead termites have proven difficult to control with existing treatment methods. The nest must be located and destroyed, and the structure may require repeated treatments in order to gain control. Costs associated with treating conehead termites are typically higher than other termite species, and homeowner insurance policies do not usually cover wood boring insect damage. If you suspect a conehead termite infestation, it is important to contact a licensed pest professional promptly.
State Certified in West Virginia and Ohio in Pest Control / Termite Control