Most everyone has heard of termites and knows that having them in their home is not a good thing, that termites use the structural wood of a home as an all-they-can eat buffet. But not many people really know what a termite looks like; and the reason for this is mainly because subterranean termites nest underground, travel underground, and feed on the inside of wood. Unlike ants and other types of pest they won’t be seen marching through your yard, garbage, or kitchen; they stay out of sight- and staying out of sight is what makes them even more dangerous and damaging.
It can take homeowners weeks, months, or in some cases years to realize that termites are living in and feeding on their home. Since the damage they are causing along with the cost it will be to fix it increases every day, it is important to know what a termite looks like and what the common signs of their presence are. And while studying termites may not seem super exciting it can actually help to save your home and savings account!
Termites live together in very large numbers; a single colony can have up to 2 million member in it! The termites live and work together and divide themselves up into 3 different “castes”- each with their own job to help the colony survive.
Worker termites make up the largest group(caste) that live within the colony. They are responsible for going out and gathering the food for the colony, they care for the eggs and immature termites, and groom the other members of the colony. They are the termites that are found when an infested piece of wood is opened up. Workers grow to be between 1/8th and 3/8th of an inch in length, they have a soft body, and are cream or caramel in color; and they are reproductively undeveloped.
Soldiers appear very similar to the workers except for their distinctive elongated brown or amber colored head. They also have large powerful mandibles that they use for their main job- to protect and defend the colony against predators and intruders.
As their name may suggest the reproductive members of the colony are sexually mature and are the largest members of the colony, growing up to 1 inch in length, have yellowish-brown or black bodies, and two pairs of wings. In a mature termite colony the reproductive members will swarm from it, mate, and establish a new colony of their own. The queen of a termite colony is the largest member and her only job is to lay eggs.
Spotting termites may be a difficult task, but luckily they leave behind other signs of their presence which can help you detect these wood destroyers. Signs that termites may be remodeling your home without your permission include:
Mud tunnels that are about the width of a pencil running toward the foundation of your home
Piles of winds underneath of doors or windows (discarded after a swarm),
Walls that sound “hollow” when you tap on them, walls that start appearing blistered or splintered, and in the case of a large infestation your home’s doorways, floors, and/or ceilings may become warped.
If you happen to notice termites on your property or are starting to see signs of them around your home it is important that you do not waste any time and contact a professional termite control expert as soon as possible. The quicker your home is inspected, the termites identified, and treatment begins the less time the termites will have to feed on your home.
At Witt Pest Management we use the highly effective and environmentally friendly Sentricon® Termite Colony Elimination System to immediately start killing termites and to provide continuous protection against future problems with termites for many years to come. This system in non-invasive and requires no digging, trenching, or the use of harsh chemicals. Bait stations containing Recruit® HD are placed around your home, the termites are immediately drawn to the bait and actually prefer it over wood! Once the termites have all been eliminated the stations will continue to be monitored ensuring that termites will not invade and use your home as a buffet ever again!
For more information about termites and what they look like, and how the Pittsburgh termite control professionals at Witt Pest Management will work with you to get rid of these wood destroying insects, contact us today!