Termites in Massachusetts: Everything You Need to Know
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.
What Species of Termites are in Massachusetts?
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. Here are some appearance facts:
- 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 termites also have wings.
There’s usually confusion on carpenter ants vs. termites, so make sure you are well-informed on what pest you may have.
Homeowners in Massachusetts are typically concerned with the following four different kinds of termites:
- Dampwood termites
- Drywood termites
- Formosan termites
- 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.
Are Subterranean Termites Dangerous?
Subterranean termites in Massachusetts are very active. The only area that really gets any respite from them is Cape Cod. They may still be found there, but not as often. As for the rest of the state, subterranean termites are a real danger to properties. Termite treatments are of the utmost importance if your property develops an infestation.
How Dangerous are Drywood Termites in Massachusetts?
Drywood termites are not native to Massachusetts. There’s a small chance they can be transported here in furniture or other wooden objects, but termite infestations in Massachusetts homes are most likely to be subterranean termites.
Ransford Pest Control expects this year to be a bad one for termite infestation in Massachusetts, so we’re discounting any termite treatment with a $100 coupon. Before we get to that, you probably have some more questions about termites.
How Common are Termites in Massachusetts?
There are zones that define the likelihood of termite infestations. Almost all of Massachusetts has a rating of 2 as a Termite Infestation Probability Zone. This means that the rate of termite infestation in Massachusetts is “moderate to heavy.” Not too encouraging, right?
What are Signs of Termites?
Subterranean termites live underground. After a rainfall, they’re forced out of the soil and they swarm. During this time, winged termites will mate. They will spread out and find new locations.
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. Dead swarmers are 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.
Are Mud Tubes A Sign of a Termite Infestation?
Another good sign you have a problem is termite 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 mud tubes from termites around your home. These are termite superhighways that go directly into your walls. An IPM professional can search the foundations of your home, inside and out, for these slender tubes. Fall is a great time to perform this search because your landscaping is at its least lush.
Will Termites Go Away On Their Own?
No. As long as termites have wood to consume, they’ll stay right where they are. They may off-shoot additional colonies in the area (which leads to very unhappy neighbors), but the original colony won’t transport itself away.
Can Termites Really Destroy a Home?
Yes. Termites can cause irreparable damage to homes quickly. Termites colonies will only grow in size, so leaving a termites in your home unaddressed is an easy way to lose a lot of value in your home.
How Can Landscaping Help Prevent Termites?
There are actually several landscaping steps you can take to make your home look great to people but completely uninviting to termites. Here are some of the ways:
Keep Moisture Away
Termites love damp, damaged wood. It’s easy to chew through, so if your last landscaping job has left you stepping in puddles days after rainstorms, you may be wading through termite damage in no time at all.
Be Careful With Mulch
Mulch is commonly used in good landscape projects, but putting it right against the foundation of your home is a really bad idea. Not only does it provide an awesome snack for your termite enemies, it also holds moisture against the foundation of your home. Use mulch, but make certain that you’re doing so sparingly, and keep it a few feet away from the foundation of your home.
Looking for lots of great plants, but you don’t want them to serve as hidden termite access? There’s still a way to have both. Use trellises so the plants never come in contact with your house. You can also do so by making certain that there are no flower planters directly against the house either.
With just a bit of landscaping work, you could have the gorgeous curb appeal you’re looking for minus the termite problem. We’d be happy to help with a termite inspection that will make sure you don’t have them now and you can keep them out later.
How Do I Get Rid of Termites?
Spot treatments will not help. Those are like shaving off the peak of a mountain – the mountain’s still there underneath you. Termite treatments are necessary to deal with any termite infestation. A small one will only grow larger if you do not directly deal with termites by using professional 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.
You won’t be able to get rid of termites without professional help from a termite control specialist in Massachusetts. As a pest control specialist in Massachusetts, Ransford termite exterminators will be able to identify the full scope of your infestation and quickly implement a plan to eradicate the infestation. We build our plans around Sentricon termite treatment, which is extremely effective in expert hands.
When is the Best Time for Termite Treatment?
The best time for termite treatment is whenever you discover that you have termites. They are not a problem that can wait or be put off. The longer you wait to address them, the greater a risk that your house is becoming permanently damaged and structurally unsound. If you suspect a problem, however, there is the best time of the year for termite treatment and checks to begin. This is right before winter hits because swarms will most likely happen after fall rains.
By the time temperatures start to drop, many home and business owners are starting to relax their attitudes towards pest control. Since much of the normal insect activity is less obvious when it’s cool, they think that everything must be dying off or going dormant and their attention goes towards other things. That is a dangerous attitude to have! When it comes to termites, fall treatments are critical to good pest control.
In the fall, it’s important to continue professional inspections and treatments as part of an integrated pest management plan. You might not be able to see the evidence of termites, but a professional pest control agent can. He’s trained to see the minute pieces of evidence that suggest termite infestation and he’ll look in places you might not be willing to go.
There is no dormant season for the termite. Its activity may slow down a bit but it does not stop. In a mild winter, the colony will stay closer to the surface of the soil and continue to breed. A warm winter will practically guarantee a massive swarm once spring returns.
As we mentioned, this year may be a bad one for termites. We are discounting our termite treatment by $100 by offering a coupon. If you suspect you have a termite infestation, we can provide an inspection and immediately start treating if we find termites. Don’t wait, the problem will only get worse. The only way to solve it is through effective termite treatment. Call Ransford Pest Control today at 508-756-5197!