Termites can cause huge problems for you and your home and are one of the most difficult and troublesome pests to get rid of. Termites in the home can cause a lot of damage, and some of this damage can be difficult to fix and oftentimes come with large repair bills attached.
However, before you are able to tackle the termites that are in your home it is important for you to know what termites are, the signs of termites in the home, and the damage that they can do to your home, and the other dangers that they can cause.
Types of Termites in the Home
There are around 2,200 species of termites, but the termite species that you need to worry about infiltrating your home the most are known as subterranean or underground termites. These termites cause the most damage out of all of the termite species because they eat the framing of buildings starting from the bottom and then working their way up. Termites are attracted to wood that is full of moisture, causing the wood to be much softer than normal.
Termites look similar to winged ants but have straight antennae and wider waists. Termites have two sets of wings that are the same size and worker termites are translucent while others are gray or brown in color. And despite their small size termites are thought to cause more than 5 billion dollars in property damage each year, and what is worse is that many homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover termite damage. Because of this, it’s important to take steps to prevent termites before they can even appear!
Termites in the home start to cause damage by eating wood and other wood products. These insects have special enzymes, bacteria, and Protozoa in their guts that help them to digest cellulose, which is the organic fibrous material that is in wood and other plants.
Large subterranean termite colonies can eat up to a pound of wood each day, and the damage that is caused often goes unnoticed for years. This is because they slowly eat away at wood inside of your home, impacting its structural integrity. These termite colonies typically take three to five years to mature fully, and it can take anywhere from three to eight years for you to notice the damage they have caused.
Signs of Termites in the Home
One of the easiest ways to tell if there are termites in the home is by knocking on your wooden surfaces and if it is hollow then you most likely have a serious problem on your hands. Some other signs of termites that you should keep an eye out for include rotting wood, grass or the powdered shavings that are left behind by termites as they eat wood, and mud tubes. Mud tubes are small tunnels made up of dirt, liquid excretions, and fecal matter that create a route between different areas of wood. These mud tubes are typically located on the surface of drywall or coming out of the ground.
It is important to know that it is very unlikely to see termites. This is mainly because termites are so small that two can fit onto the head of a match. These insects avoid going into the open so you won’t see termites walking along the floor or across the wall.
It is also important for you to know that buckling wood doesn’t always mean that you have termites, but it can be a good indicator. The last thing you should keep an eye out for when it comes to determining whether or not you have termites in the home is termite droppings. These droppings can be several different colors but are typically black, tan, or reddish brown. This description however can describe many pest droppings so if you find droppings of any kind then it is most likely that you have an infestation of some kind.
Some other things for you to keep your eye out for are
The Dangers that Come with Termites in the Home
While termites in the home can be highly destructive, their main goal is not to hurt humans, but rather to find a steady food source. And it is because of their desire to find that food source that they can become harmful to humans.
Mold can appear in homes where termites have caused wooden structures to decompose. These insects love damp and humid environments where mold tends to grow and when termites crawl or chew through wood they will begin to spread mold as they move from place to place.
These mold spores can cause migraines, burning eyes, weakness, cough, runny noses, and sore throats. If you are someone who has severe asthma and are then exposed to mold spores you can develop an illness called bronchiopulmonary aspergilloma which can produce symptoms of cystic fibrosis. Mold can even release toxic compounds that cause neurological problems such as memory loss.
Allergies and Asthma
Termite nests release particles and dust that can be spread around your home through your HVAC system. These contaminants can be extremely irritating to people who have asthma or severe allergies. Termite droppings and saliva can also cause severe allergic reactions for people who have extreme allergies or have a compromised immune system.
Termite colonies generate pellets that are referred to as frass, which is wood colored and looks like sawdust. When frass touches your skin it can cause contact dermatitis along with other allergic reactions.
Bites and Stings
If threatened or handled, a soldier termite can bite or sting you. While a termite bite won’t kill you, it can itch, swell, burn, and feel extremely painful especially if you have predisposed allergic reactions.
Prevent Termites in the Home with the Help of Sigma Pest Control
If you suspect that you have a termite infestation it is important for you to contact pest control professionals to help eradicate the problem. DIY treatments for termites don’t work and because of the amount of damage that they can cause it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible. If you have a suspicion that there are termites in the home give our team at Sigma Pest Control a call today!