If You’ve Found Mud Tubes it’s Time for Termite Control!
The National Pest Management Association has found that nearly 52% of Americans have never had their home inspected for termites. Not sure it matters? Termites can literally eat you out of a place to live without your knowledge. They can chew through wood, flooring, and even your wallpaper, and that could compromise the stability of the underlying structure of your home. The really scary part, though, is that you may not even notice there’s a problem until it’s too late to do something about it. That makes termite control and prevention that much more important.
A Closer Look
If you’re not familiar with termites, it’s important to know a bit about their appearance. There are more than 2,000 different species across the globe. About 40 of those species live in the United States. Despite the number of different kinds of termites, they all look fairly similar. They’re typically less than a half inch long, and they have soft bodies. You’ll see straight antennae on all termites. They come in a range of colors, usually from white to light brown. The workers are usually lighter in color, while the swarmers typically have darker colors. Some also have wings.
Homeowners are typically concerned with four different kinds of termites: dampwood termites, drywood termites, formosan termites, and subterranean termites. In Massachusetts, though, you should be primarily concerned with subterranean termites, as that’s the type that so often damages homes in this area.
Signs of Infestation
If you’re concerned you may have a termite problem on your hands, the single best thing you can do is to take a closer look. In the event that you see a sudden swarm of winged insects in your home or near your home, and it disappears fairly quickly, you might have an infestation on your hands. This often happens just as the weather starts to get warmer, and it usually happens right after it rains. This swarm is a group of termites looking for a new colony, and the swarm only lasts about a half hour. They usually fly toward the light, so you might see them near your windows or your glass doors.
Homeowners will often come home from work to find dead swarmers in or around the house, and that’s usually how you know they’ve left one area of your house in search of a new spot. It’s sometimes the only time you see termites in the home before you discover any real damage.
Swarmers, though, aren’t the only sign of damage. Cracked paint may also indicate that you have termites. Termites need moisture to survive and, as a result, the galleries they create in the wood have that moisture inside them. The moisture inside the painted wood can sometimes bubble to the surface, causing your paint to bubble as well.
Another good sign you have a termite problem is mud tubes on your exterior walls. These pencil sized tunnels are a way for termites to move, and there are three different types. Working tubes exist from the nest to the soil, allowing workers to travel. Exploratory tubes extend only from the dirt itself. Drop tubes are the path from the wood back to the soil. You may see both active and inactive tubes around your home.
Think you may have a problem? Good termite control begins with the right termite treatments. There are two main types of treatment available today. Liquid termiticide is one option. Typically, this is applied to provide immediate protection to a structure in danger. It usually lasts several years, and it’s relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, though, it can cause water contamination, and it may require drilling into a space that shows evidence that the termites are there. It can also result in coverage gaps that are problematic for homeowners.
A better method of termite control is Sentricon. It’s an “always active” baiting system that has been proven to eliminate termite numbers and colonies. Bait stations are placed around your home, typically between ten and twenty feet apart. When the termites hit a bait station, they eat the bait which is loaded with a growth inhibitor. They then share the same food with others in the colony, and they too ingest the bait. It prevents their ability molt, which kills them in the process.
The last thing you want is a termite damaging your home. We can help with the right termite treatments. To learn more about what we can do, contact us today 508-756-5197.