Our homes are sanctuaries that we maintain to never fail us. It can be very stressful to find out that insects could be attacking our dwellings. But these tiny invaders can be devastating to the safety and structural reliability of your house. Even if your home is made of brick or stone, termites can attack and damage your single largest investment. Let’s explore the topic of termites and your home.
Termites are a species of insect that feeds on the cellulose in wood. These insects are very social in nature, having a hierarchy and division of labor. Many people fear these pests above all, but they can be treated and removed from any situation. As invincible as our childhood cartoons have made us believe that termites are, in reality they are very fragile creatures. A good Oklahoma exterminator should be able to eliminate these pests.
HOW TERMITES FIND YOUR HOME
The termites found in Oklahoma are of the subterranean type. This means that they stay under the ground and forage out form their nest by digging. There’s not a lot known about how termites forage other than that they dig through the ground, creating a tunnel system in search of wood. Once they find a source of wood, they will use a pheromone system to communicate to the other termites where this food source is. Pheromones are scent based hormones that are secreted for communication.
Once found, the termites will start the process of excavating. This starts with mud tubes. Termites build mud tubes to protect them from predators and the elements once they are above ground. There are four different types of tubes. They start with a foraging tube. These tubes are random in nature and are trying to find the best source of cellulose. Once a food source is found, the termites will build larger utility tubes. These tubes are more of a transportation method of moving the cellulose back to the colony. Then there are drop tubes. These tubes go from the home back to the ground. They are usually lighter in color, because they have more wood particles in them. Finally there are swarming tubes that provide an exit for reproductives.
SIGNS OF TERMITE INFESTATION
The first and most obvious sign of a termite problem is finding mud tubes on your home. A good Tulsa pest control company can help you with this. Some people believe that if you remove the tubes, you can solve the problem. This is simply not true. Termites will rebuild any broken tubes rather quickly. And if you continue to break down the tubes, they will find other places to build them, most likely hidden from view. This makes it harder to treat the termites correctly.
As termites dig through wood, they have to find ways of eliminating waste. This includes feces, dead termites and wood waste and is known as frass. Termites remove the frass by creating holes known as frass holes out which they push out the frass. Often decking or other exterior wood structures will have multiple frass holes denoting an infestation. Another clue to observe is if you see reproductives in or around your home. These termites are unique in that they have wings and fly. Often mistaken for flying ants, these insects have straight bodies with no waist. If any of these things are found, it is time to bring in a Tulsa exterminator for an inspection.
WHAT KIND OF TERMITES DO I HAVE?
There are three different types of termites. The first are damp wood termites. These pests are often looking for damp, cool areas with wood rot. Water leaks or rain can make an environment that these insects thrive in. These termites are mostly found in costal regions or around bodies of water. Dry wood termites are, as the name implies, more interested in dry wood. These insects are more hardy than their cousins because they are found above ground. Neither dry wood or damp wood termites are found commonly in Oklahoma, especially in the Tulsa area.
Subterranean termites, on the other hand, are much more prevalent. These insects require the moisture under the ground to keep from drying out. That is why they use mud tubes. This carries the damp cool air of the ground with them to the surface, so that they can forage and obtain food above ground. The reproductives of this kind of termite are more resilient to being in the open air, but still have a limited amount of time that they can be above ground.
DO HOME REMEDIES WORK?
There are many websites dedicated to home remedies for termites. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, I have found none that work. Termites are very persistent. Even if you are successful at putting up a barrier to stop them from entering your home, they will find another way to go around it. Also, the secretive nature of their foraging makes them not only hard to treat, but hard to detect in the first place. It is best to hire an experienced Oklahoma pest control company for an inspection.
Subterranean termites do have natural enemies. Ants are particularly adept at storming and subduing a termite colony. Other small rodents will also eat these insects, but seldom do enough damage to completely remove a colony. Termites have also adapted defenses against ants to protect them from these natural predators. That being the case, it is not feasible to control these insects by encouraging their predators to feast on them.
HOW DO I GET RID OF MY TERMITES?
Without the ability to use home remedies or over the counter solutions, then how do I get rid of my termites? The answer is to contact an experienced exterminator. A trusted pest control technician can get you the answers that you need to rid yourself of these pests. Most companies will provide a free inspection provided that you choose them for your termites solutions. If you are having any pest control issues, feel free to contact us here at TermMax Pest Control. We are here to help!