Homeowners don’t want to think about termites, but they have to. Most of us have only one home and it is irreplaceable. Termites can do untold damage to the extent of making a home uninhabitable. Understanding termites makes it much easier to fight them and protect your home.
What Do They Look Like?
Termites are small – about the size of ants. There are over 40 species of termites in the U.S. and they all look very similar. They have soft bodies with straight antennas. Termites do not have a larvae stage and emerge from the eggs looking like small-sized adults. Young termites are normally white or off-white in color. Adult drywood termites are red and subterranean swarmers are black.
What Do They Eat?
Cellulose is the main component of plants, trees, etc., and it is the most abundant organic matter found innature.Termites eat this cellulose wherever it is found. This includes the wood in houses, paper products, various textile fibers and other materials and objects.
Where Do They Come From?
Termites live on the ground in large colonies. They are typically found where rotten wood is available for them to feed on.Termites fan out from the colonies and if they find another suitable place to colonize, they start a new colony there.
What Attracts Them to a House?
Various things attract termites to a structure. Among the strongest of these are:
- Wood that is part of the structure or that is lying in the open near the building.
- Moisture in the building. This is often caused by leaking pipes or blocked/overflowing drains.
- Gaps in the building’s foundation, walls or roof are places where they are likely to start new colonies.
Do Lights Attract Them?
The primary attraction is cellulose, which they feed on. Besides this, they are attracted to light. Being nocturnal creatures, the lights coming from a building at night has a strong attraction for them.
Can You Hear Them?
It is possible, if the infestation is a large one. One common sound is like that of paper rustling which is caused by the movement of the termites in the tunnels they build. Then there is a rattling sound which is made by termites banging their heads against the walls of the tunnels to warn the rest of the swarm about danger. If you tap wood and hear a hollow sound, it could be due to the voids left after the termites have eaten the wood.
Do Termites Fly?
Subterranean termites do fly during their swarming season when they are looking for new places to start a colony.
Do They Bite Humans?
Termites can bite other insects or termites of another species. However, there isno recorded information available on them having bitten human beings.
How Long Do They Live?
A worker termite lives for about 1 or 2 years. However, a queen termite can live for up to 10 years.
Termite 101 is designed to help you understand these pests which attack your home. Now that you have a better idea of what they are, you will also appreciate the importance of professional termite control to keep your home and your family safe. Your home is your biggest investment and it deserves professional protection.