A Termite Quick Guide for Memphis Homeowners

2/17/2020

Termites are destructive pests that cost homeowners around the country billions of dollars in repairs every year. Unfortunately, they are incredibly hard to spot or identify, which means they could be doing damage that you aren’t aware of. Use this quick guide to keep termites out of your home. 

termite damage on a wooden cabinet

Understanding How Termites Operate

Termites have a sophisticated caste system. Knowing this system will help you identify what type of termite you’re encountering. The top termite in the caste system is the queen, who is responsible for producing every termite in the colony. Below her is the swarmer, a flying termite responsible for creating more termite colonies. Swarmers typically only leave the colony after three years, so encountering them means that you have an ongoing termite problem. Swarmers look a lot like flying carpenter ants, but they have a broad waist, straight antennae, and equal-sized wings. You might find their shed wings around your home or run into the swarmers themselves outside when they’re swarming. Swarms typically occur in spring on sunny, warm days following rain. 
 
Most termites in a colony are either workers that gather food and take care of the young, or soldiers that protect the colony. You won’t normally see these termites because they stay hidden, either inside the colony or within the wood in a home.

How Termite Infestations Happen

Most termite colonies start when they land in a place with wood, which is the termites’ regular food source. They consume cellulose in wood. Rotting stumps, wood debris, and water-damaged parts of your house are good starting places for termites. Once they get into your home, anything wooden is up for grabs.
 
Termites use pinchers at the front of their mouth to pull apart and eat wood. The bacteria in their stomach then breaks down the wood particles into cellulose. Depending on the type of termite, certain wood may attract them more. Softer springwood, hardwood, and damp wood all attract different kinds of termites. Typically, your home is made of hardwood. Damage to this type of wood will look smooth. These are the signs to look out for if you’re trying to find evidence of termites.

  • Small holes in wooden objects and structures.

  • Drywall crumbling.

  • Floors and doors sagging.

  • Mud tubes. Termites travel between the food source and the nest using small mud tunnels.

  • Damage to plants, clothes, and paper. Cellulose is found in more than just wood.

If you see these signs in or around your home, chances are that you already have a termite infestation.

Get Rid of Termites In Your Home

As always, preventing an infestation is best. A few tips for preventing termite infestations include:

  • Remove potential food sources away from your home, including stumps, debris, and firewood. Raise firewood off the ground to make it inaccessible to termites.

  • Trim shrubs, trees, and greenery away from the home.

  • Place mulch away from the foundation.

  • Seal any potential entry points, including cracks and holes in the foundation.

  • Fix water leaks and other issues that cause moisture buildup.

While termites may be prevented with careful attention and diligent prevention, they still pose a threat to Memphis homeowners. Contact Dart Pest, Lawn & Wildlife if you need help with termite prevention or need termites removed from your home. We are experts at eliminating termite infestations using Termidor® termiticide/insecticide, which is odorless to both you and the termites and is guaranteed to fully handle your termite problem. Be smart and call Dart Pest, Lawn & Wildlife! Reach out and ask about getting a termite inspection, today.

Tags: termites | termite control | home pest control |

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