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What are Termites?

A termite is a type of colony insect that prefers to live in moist environments. Usually, this means that damp areas of your home that are dark and warm are their ideal locations. Termites are small and white in color, making them very difficult to spot.

If you do see one, you might notice that they look similar to carpenter ant swarmers, who also have wings. However, termites do not have segmented bodies like ants, and their two sets of wings are the same length, unlike ants, which have two different-sized sets of wings.

A primary source of a termite’s diet is rotting wood, which is what makes them so dangerous to homeowners. Termites create mud tunnels that lead to your home, where they’ll feed on wood to a point where they may cause serious structural issues.

Signs of a Termite Infestation

How do I know if I have termites? Termite infestations aren’t usually noticeable at first. Termites can be inside your home for weeks, months, or even years before you begin to see a problem. Being proactive in looking for signs of termites can help you discover them before the problem gets worse. A few common signs of termites include:

  • Mud tubes: Termites create mud tubes – small, thin tubes in the ground – near your home to access it. You’ll typically find them along pipes, downspouts, and the foundation of your home.
  • Sagging floors: When termites make their way to your floorboards, you may notice sagging, unstable floor spots in your home.
  • Drywall damage: Termites living in your walls may cause damage to the drywall. You might see small, pin-sized holes, cracks, or discoloration in drywall.
  • Hollow-sounding wood: Wood with termite damage will have a hollow sound when you knock on it caused by termites feeding on the outside or inside of wood boards.
  • Termite pellets: Termites excrete their droppings outside of the wood they tunnel through. Their droppings tend to look like sawdust, which you’ll find in piles near the wood in which they live.
  • Termite swarms near your home: It’s not common to see swarms of termites flying around your home, but if your infestation is severe enough, you might. If you do spot termites or piles of their wings near your house, there’s a good chance they’ve already targeted the inside.

What are the Different Types of Termite Treatments?

Termite control and treatment comes in a wide range of options, some of which may be better than others for specific homes or situations:

Non-Chemical Treatments

Non-chemical termite treatments are any that do not use chemicals to prevent or get rid of termites. These treatments may be the best option for homeowners who prefer not to use chemicals in a home with children and pets. Non-chemical treatments often involve treating the source of the problem that’s causing the termite infestation.

Some examples of non-chemical termite treatments include:

  • Thermal heat treatment
  • Slab barriers and metal shields
  • Water and moisture elimination
  • Biological control agents
  • Adding sand barriers near the home’s foundation

Chemical Treatments

Chemical treatments that eliminate or prevent termites are usually forms of pesticides and are often the best line of defense against termites. A licensed pest control expert should be the one to handle chemicals to ensure that their application is safe for both your home and your family.

Chemical treatments can come in a variety of forms, like soil treatment, wood treatment, foggers, and termite baits.

Conventional Barrier Treatments

A conventional barrier treatment is a chemical application that a pest control professional sprays on the soil near your home. The spray soaks into the soil at a uniform rate, effectively stopping termites from getting back into their nesting area. It can also repel termites from wanting to enter your home, acting as an excellent preventative method with long-lasting results.

Termite Baits

Termite baits can sometimes be a safer alternative to chemical sprays and treatments for killing termites and preventing infestations. Unfortunately, they also don’t have the instant results that conventional barrier treatments are known for, so it may take some more time for them to treat your home’s termite problem. Termite baits can come with different active ingredients that can target your specific problem. Some ingredients, like hexaflumuron, are pesticides designed to kill the insects on contact. Other active ingredients, like noviflumuron, prevent termites from developing into adults, which can disrupt their colonies naturally.

Wood Treatment

Wood treatments are sprays that a pest control expert applies directly to wood to make it unattractive to termites. These treatments are usually used during a home’s construction to prevent future termite infestations. Still, some homeowners also use them to treat outside wood near their already-built homes that termites might view as easy access. These sprays are usually safe to use around people and pets.

Why You Should Treat a Termite Infestation ASAP

Once you see signs of a termite infestation, it’s likely that they’ve already been inside your home for a while. Termite control and repair can be time-consuming and expensive, especially when you have a serious infestation on your hands. It’s incredibly important to get the problem handled by a professional pest control company as soon as possible to prevent costly damage to your home. The sooner you get termites under control, the less you’ll have to pay to fix the damage the unwelcome critters have caused.

How Can I Prevent Termite Infestation?

The best defense you can take against termites is contacting a professional pest control company with experience in preventing them. Our experts at Midwest Pest & Wildlife Control can inspect your home and discuss with you your options for regular prevention.

As a homeowner, you can also take a few steps to keep termites at bay, including:

  • Keeping all lumber, mulch, plants, and other materials termites like to eat away from your foundation.
  • Keep outdoor lights off at night, as they may attract termite swarms.
  • Eliminate pooling of water around your home by keeping all downspouts and storm drains in good, working condition.
  • Fix any water leak issues in your home, such as a leaky basement or pipe leaks, as termites are attracted to moisture.