THE LONG-AWAITED SPRING HAS ARRIVED AND WE ALL HAVE OUR SIGHTS SET ON OUR OUTDOOR VACATION PLANS DURING THE HOTTEST MONTHS OF THE YEAR, HOWEVER IF YOUR HOME IS BUILT ON A WOOD STRUCTURE, EITHER PARTIALLY OR IN ITS ENTIRETY, THERE WILL BE ANOTHER ISSUE YOU WILL HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT EVERY TIME THE WARM WEATHER ARRIVES: TERMITES.
Although it is true that termite problems are becoming less frequent thanks to the fact that the use of wood in the construction of new homes is decreasing, both because of the risk that termites end up crushing all the foundations of the house and because of its low resistance to moisture and sudden storms typical of the USA, these pests are still very present and during the warmer months is when they are most noticeable.
As soon as temperatures rise, termites begin to leave their colonies and go in search of their new companions to settle in new places and create their nests. And of course, those places where they love to nest is none other than inside the structures of our houses, feeding on the cellulose of the wood and multiplying at a dizzying rate. The risk of not stopping a termite infestation in time can be very high, both economically and personally, since not only will you have to face a major renovation to fix all their damage, but there is also the risk that the structures collapse unexpectedly, endangering the lives of all the inhabitants of a house.
In the United States, especially in the southeastern regions, THE MOST COMMON TYPE OF TERMITE SPECIES THAT WE WILL USUALLY HAVE TO BE WARY OF IS THE EASTERN SUBTERRANEAN TERMITE, A SPECIES THAT IS MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVE AND DIFFICULT TO ELIMINATE THAN THE DRYWOOD TERMITE BECAUSE IT NESTS UNDERGROUND AND NOT INSIDE THE WOOD. However, there is also the possibility that we suffer an infestation of the other subspecies so everything we will explain in this article on how to prevent them will be applicable to any of the two subspecies of termites.
AFTER ALL, ALTHOUGH THEY MOVE IN DIFFERENT WAYS, THE EFFECT IS THE SAME: THE MASSIVE DESTRUCTION OF WOOD INTERNALLY, CAUSING ITS DETERIORATION AND COMPROMISING THE SAFETY OF HOMES DUE TO THE RISK OF STRUCTURAL COLLAPSE. FOR ALL THESE REASONS, WE ARE GOING TO EXPLAIN IN DETAIL THE BEST WAY TO IDENTIFY A TERMITE INFESTATION, THE MAIN FACTORS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT TO CALCULATE THE COST OF TERMITE TREATMENT, AND THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TREATMENT AGAINST THIS INFESTATION.
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1.SIGNS OF TERMITES IN THE HOUSE
(1) TERMITES OR BROKEN WINGS WERE FOUND
One of the most obvious signs that your house is being infested by termites is the presence of swarms and wings on the floor. This is because termites, like many other well-organized insect colonies such as bees, have a sophisticated hierarchy to create their colonies and keep themselves well fed. These power groups are made up of three distinct types of termites: soldiers, workers and swarmers.
The ones we are most concerned about and that we will be able to see flying over our homes during the first months of spring are the swarmers, that is, the flying termites. These are the male and female termites in charge of leaving their colonies to find new partners and form a new colony, in other words, they are the reproductive termites and their mission is to conserve the species and survive in new places.
These flying termites are easily identifiable because they have two wings of a pale white color of approximately 1/2 inch, being precisely when they find a new partner the moment in which they lose their wings. Another aspect to keep in mind is that these termites are attracted to light, just like mosquitoes, so a place where we can find these swarms and remnants of wings is in the windowsills of the advantages or doors leading to the outside.
If you come across any of these signs, it’s official: you have a swarm of termites in your home that is now working at full speed to continue growing by feeding on all the wood you have available. Therefore, as soon as you spot these signs, you should take action quickly and contact an expert termite fumigation team.
(2) WALL OR WOOD THAT MAKES A HOLLOW SOUND WHEN STRUCK
One of the most common occurrences among people who have suffered a severe termite infestation in their homes is to realize that a structure is damaged because it makes a hollow sound when touched or it collapses with a light tap of the foot accidentally. An example of this would be when we are vacuuming our home and we decide to pass it through the baseboards giving small blows, if we have a termite infestation surely the baseboard will fall down and will expose all the work already done by our intruders.
On the other hand, if you suspect you have termites and want to have more evidence that they are invading your home, just gently tap the walls or wooden structures you have and check if they sound hollow. This is because termites eat wood from the inside out, which is why we usually realize they are there when they have only left a thin layer of paint on the outside of the wall and it is about to collapse.
(3) WOODEN DOORS OR WINDOWS BECOME DIFFICULT TO OPEN
If you suddenly start noticing that the doors and windows in your home are difficult to open and seem to be out of alignment, I have bad news for you: termites have already invaded your home and have probably destroyed much of its internal structure.
The fact that the doors and the advantages are uncracked by the presence of termites is due to the humidity they generate and all the micro tunnels they form while they work at full speed feeding on all the wood cellulose they find. This causes the door and window structures to be compromised and they no longer fit, making it much more difficult to move them and emitting an unpleasant “squeaking” sound. If this happens we should know that the termites are already well developed and we will need the urgent intervention of a professional team to eradicate them.
(4) POWDERED DROPPINGS WERE FOUND
Another way to know that we have termites at home is to find their droppings piled up in corners of the house near a door or skirting board. It is important to emphasize that this symptom only applies to drywood termites, since subterranean termites use their droppings to create mud tunnels to bore through the wood faster and grow their colony.
Drywood termites eat the wood, digest it and expel it to make more space and prevent it from building up inside the colony. The appearance of their droppings is very similar to that of piled up wood shavings, with a grainy appearance and a pale brown color. However, it is important to emphasize that this sign cannot be observed if we have an infestation of subterranean termites and we should pay much more attention to the other signs mentioned above for identification and eradication.
2.FACTORS AFFECTING THE COST OF TERMITE CONTROL
(1) TERMITE TYPE
As we explained in the previous point, there is no single type of termite, and depending on the species involved, it will be more or less difficult to eradicate them. If, for example, the fumigation expert determines that the species that has infested your house is dry wood, you will be in luck, since it is a type of termite that is easy to locate and eradicate. However, if, for example, they are oriental subterranean termites, the investigation, location and extermination time may be longer, since their working methods are more elaborate and killing them altogether will be an arduous task.
(2) LOCATION OF PROPERTY
The location of your property will also be key for the final calculation of the treatment, since if the exterminators must travel to a very remote area of the mountain far from the urban center it will mean a high expense of gasoline and time, which will be reflected proportionally in the bill. They are still professionals who work by the hour and their time is as valuable as ours, so the more they have to do their part to get to you and help you eliminate the pest, the higher the total price of the treatment will be.
(3) SCALE OF PROPERTY
This is another key and quite logical factor that we should all take into account when calculating the cost of termite extermination: the larger the structure to be treated, the higher the price. Apart from the difficulty due to the type of termite we have to exterminate, if your home happens to be very large and has a lot of wooden structures, you will have to get used to the idea that the cost will be much higher. Since termites reproduce quickly and if your house is a perfect nest for them, when you want to realize that they will probably already be everywhere and the resources to be invested to eradicate them will be much higher than expected.
(4) MATERIALS USED IN THE PROPERTY
Sometimes, termite treatments get complicated and what seemed to be a quick treatment takes forever because the pest offers too much resistance. This will result in exterminators having to use many more materials in order to kill the pest, such as different types of pesticides and tools to access all the key infestation points. Therefore, the more materials used in the treatment, the higher the final price will be.
(5) INFECTION DEGREE
As with other factors to consider, the degree of infestation of the termite infestation we have at home will also vary the total cost of the extermination treatment. It is logical then to think that the higher the degree of severity, the higher the cost of the treatments that we will have to apply to the entire affected surface in order to kill the termites. We must not forget that termites are very resistant and their propagation speed is enormous, so a key factor to save money in their extermination will be the prevention and early detection of pests.
(6) LOCAL CLIMATE
As with other insects that reproduce during the summer season, such as mosquitoes, the climate of the place where we live and the conditions in which we have the house and its surroundings will be decisive for pest control. For example, if we live in a very humid area surrounded by trees and we do not worry about controlling the remains of fallen wood that trees generate throughout the year, termites will proliferate much faster because it is their ideal habitat and it will be more difficult to kill them.
These insects like humidity, light and heat, so we should try to control the hygiene and humidity levels of our home, both inside and outside to prevent them from being “too comfortable”.
3.TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR TERMITES
(1) QUICK FIX TREATMENTS
(COST BETWEEN $100 AND $900)
- USE SPRAY
There are a wide variety of termite killing sprays that you can buy on your own, ranging in price from $100 to $900. These sprays cannot be used indoors, so we must spray the entire exterior of the house and wait 24 hours to see their effects. They are very effective to prevent new infestations and to put an end to small garden pests.
- USE FOAM
Termite foams are similar in cost to sprays, with the advantage that these foams increase in size up to 30 minutes after application in small cracks and crevices, allowing us to kill many more termites in one hit. They can be used indoors without any problem and have no odor.
- USE DUST
The use of powdered pesticides to kill localized termite infestations is very effective, especially for drywood termite infestations. To use it we will have to perforate the affected areas and inject the powders, in this way we will infect all the galleries that the colony has created and we will kill them quickly.
(2) COMPREHENSIVE TREATMENTS
- TERMITE BAIT SYSTEM
(BETWEEN $1500 AND $4000)
Bait treatments are very easy to use and really effective. They consist of placing wood baits all over the house and waiting for some of the worker termites to be attracted to them, eat the poisoned wood in them and pass it on to the rest of the colony.
- TERMITE BARRIER
(BETWEEN $1000 AND $4500)
Barrier treatments consist of digging a trench around the perimeter of the infected house and filling it with poisonous liquid. This liquid has no repellent function, so termites will inadvertently fall into it and carry the poison back to the colony.
- IN-WALL PEST CONTROL SYSTEM
(BETWEEN $800 AND $5000)
This the most expensive but also the most effective treatment to prevent the spread of termites. It consists of installing perforated tubes with pesticide in the walls of the house that will gradually work its way through all the key termite infestation areas. It is a gradual but permanent extermination of the entire system of tubes with which termites spread through our wood.
4.WHICH TERMITE TREATMENT IS THE BEST?
The answer to this question is very broad, as there is no one termite treatment that is better than another. Everything will always depend on the type of termites that we have to exterminate, the degree of infestation and the circumstances that accompany the infection. However, we can say that the best treatment to end this pest will always be one carried out by a professional fumigation team.
Home remedies and prevention methods are useful when it comes to avoid a serious infestation, however when it comes to eradicate them in a systemic way and save the structure of our home, the only valid option will be to call a team of professionals. That is the best treatment against termites, the treatment of a team of experts.