Termites though extremely small and tiny creatures have managed to stir us humans into noticing them and acknowledging their existence. The primary reason is the tune of damage they cause which has a direct impact on the economy of the country and thus the humans. Termites attack in groups and feed on any form of cellulose especially wood. This little bit of trivia makes us realize that almost everything around us is susceptible to a termite attack. Termites always seek for moisture filled places and therefore basements and the space under wooden boards are their favorable infestation places. Termite damage often looks similar to water damage. Outward signs of termite damage include buckling wood, swollen floor sand ceilings, areas that appear to be suffering from slight water damage and visible mazes within walls or furniture. Termite infestations also can exude a scent similar to mildew or mold. Dry wood termite infestations may only become apparent after a colony has burrowed so deeply into an infested item that the veneer cracks and the maze-like tunnels beneath become visible. Such damage is common in antique furniture pieces.
Termite swarm season will arrive with warmer weather
RUTH CORRELL, MAR 26, 2014
Subterranean termites are the most destructive wood-feeding insect in Tennessee, and even though they do their part to recycle dead and fallen trees back into the soil, termites can also attack the wood, paper and other wood scrap sources around a home, according to University of Tennessee entomologist, Dr. Karen Vail.
The National Pest Management Association estimates that it costs the U.S. about $5 billion per year to repair and treat damage caused by these insects.
Dr. Vail says that termite signs should be easy to spot. “The termite swarm season will be starting shortly. Winged termites will fly, drop to the ground, drop their wings and search for a moist, protected area to mate and start their colony. In a home, the swarmers, or a pile of their wings, are often found on the window sill.”
Winged termites can be distinguished from winged ants fairly easily. Termite wings are nearly equal in size and shape, but the ant’s front wings are larger than the hind wings. Winged termites have straight antennae and the ants are elbowed. The termite thorax is broadly attached to the abdomen, but in the ant, the waist is pinched. In Tennessee, termite swarmers are typically dark brown to black.
Termite workers on the other hand are white, soft-bodied wingless insects that travel above ground in mud tubes that are as least as wide as a pencil. It is recommended to search your basement, crawlspace or foundation walls and look for these tubes.
When termites damage wood, they eat the softer wood and leave behind the denser wood giving the wood a layered effect. Mud will probably be present in the layers. Termite-damaged wood will be soft and allow a screwdriver to easily penetrate. Puckered paint may indicate termites are feeding below the surface.
If you do discover termites, it’s definitely time to call a pest management professional. Suggestions for choosing a pest management firm and termite control strategy can be found in the UT Extension publication Subterranean Termite Control.
Dr. Vail reminds consumers not to be pressured into signing a contract with a pest control agency immediately. Termite damage occurs slowly. The amount of damage caused by taking an additional day, week, or month to make an informed decision is negligible.
Many structures were pretreated with a soil termiticide before the house was built and, if properly done, treatment should provide at least 5 years of protection. At other homes, a professionally installed and maintained termite baiting system may detect and treat termites. However, if wood or wood scraps were buried in the backfill, or under porches or steps, or if spreader boards or grade stakes were not removed before the concrete set, then termite food was left in place. Construction site preparation, installation and cleanup determine some of a structure’s susceptibility to subterranean termites.
The following suggestions can be followed to help make a home less conducive to subterranean termite invasion:
- Reduce the amount of cellulose around the structure. Keep a 12- to 18-inch bare zone next to the foundation and use inorganic mulches (pea gravel or river stone) instead of plant-based ones “near” the foundation. Replace wooden landscape timbers with those made of other materials such as concrete or vinyl. Don’t stack firewood against the house. Keep tree roots from getting close to the foundation.
- Reduce moisture sources around the home or building. Ensure the irrigation system is working properly. Termites love moisture to make mud tubes and for mating. Repair outdoor water faucet leaks quickly. Keep crawlspaces dry by either using a plastic cover with ventilation or by using an encapsulation system. The finished grade outside the house should slope away from the house to prevent water from collecting under the house.
Termites can be controlled but total elimination is less certain. The homeowner should be vigilant at all times.
Thus we can see the extent of damage termites have caused and will continue to cause in the long run. This is an extremely unsettling revelation and needs immediate attention.
New methods need to be devised to exterminate this ever- hanging threat to our precious wooden structures. The time has come for going the unconventional way here. We at C Tech Corporation can provide a long lasting and effective solution to combat termite infestations. Our product Termirepel™ is a non-toxic and non- hazardous termite aversive. It is effective against a host of termite species including dampwood termites as also the most aggressive ones. It is available in the form of polymer compatible masterbatches as well as in lacquer form. Termirepel™ is the one and only effective solution to our termite woes!