a termite crawling on wood inside a home

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When dealing with pests around your Pittsburgh home, some of them are much worse than others. While any pest can be invasive and frustrating to deal with, some are dangerous or can cause property damage. The most destructive pest in the area is the termite, and they can be an even worse problem than you might realize.

Here in Pittsburgh, if you're experiencing a termite problem, you're likely dealing with the Eastern subterranean termite. This elusive insect will chew away at the structural integrity of your home, and over time, it will ruin anything from flooring to beams to walls. On average, homeowners with termite infestations will spend around $3,000 fixing the damage from these wood-eating insects. In fact, in the United States, it’s estimated that termites do around $5 billion worth of damage every year.

While termite damage can be hard to notice at first, and you’ll likely notice other signs of an infestation before seeing a termite, knowing what they look like is still useful knowledge to have. The Eastern subterranean termites look different depending on their position in the caste system of their colonies, so here’s how you can identify them:

  • Worker termites make up the majority of the population within the colony. They chew through wood, keep the colony clean, and provide food for the other members. These termites are the smallest, and at their largest, they reach about 1/4 inch in length. They are a cream color.

  • Soldier termites are slightly larger with rectangular heads and flatter bodies. They look similar to workers except for their darker colored head and their large mandibles.  They use their mandibles to fulfill their main purpose: to protect the colony from any threats.

  • Reproductives or alates include the king and the queen. The queen boasts the largest size in the colony. These termites are dark in color with long, white wings. On average, their bodies are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. As their name suggests, their main purpose is to increase the population of the colony.

What Attracts Termites To Your Property?

Termites can do a lot of damage to the wooden structures around a home or business over time as their colonies grow, and they are often difficult to identify which allows the spread of the destruction to go unnoticed for long periods of time.

So, often the best way to reduce your chances of developing a termite problem on your property involves taking preventive steps. The two main reasons that termites are attracted to your property are moisture and accessibility. Termites need humid, damp environments to thrive, and they also need an easy way to enter the building. Wood to soil contact is one of the most common ways that termites come in from outdoors.

Ten Effective Ways To Prevent Termites

Understanding the factors that termites find appealing is essential when looking to keep them out of your home. The best termite prevention methods revolve around reducing accessibility and humidity. While these methods aren’t completely effective, they can make a difference.

  1. Repair leaks in pipes and faucets to reduce moisture.

  2. Get rid of any wood with water damage around your property.

  3. Limit soil to wood contact by installing a barrier around your home’s foundation.

  4. Use dehumidifiers to further reduce moisture problems.

  5. Clean up any decaying organic matter in your yard such as dead leaves or grass clippings.

  6. Make sure that basements, crawlspaces, and attics have good ventilation.

  7. Fix any cracks in the building’s foundation. 

  8. Remove standing water from your property.

  9. Clean out gutters regularly. 

  10. Work with pest control professionals to implement a termite control plan. 

The Most Effective Termite Control

Understanding the underlying causes that attract termites and taking steps to prevent them is important. However, taking these measures on your own can only go so far in deterring these destructive pests. Instead of trying to battle a termite problem on your own or worrying about termites in the future, reach out to the experts at Witt Pest Management.

We use the proven Sentricon® System with Always Active to effectively eliminate and protect your home from termites. This eco-friendly termite control option offers continuous protection that you can count on. Learn more about our termite control options, and request an inspection by contacting us online or by phone. 

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