The Importance of Termite Treatment in Home

Every year, American homes sustain billions of dollars in damage caused by termites.  Most of this damage is not covered by homeowners insurance, leaving homeowners on the hook for thousands of dollars in repair costs.  Termite colonies bore through wooden framing, supports and floorboards.  Because their activity occurs in the least accessible areas of a house, homeowners may not suspect their presence until substantial damage has occurred.  Scheduling annual inspections and termite treatment at the first sign of infestation helps guard against serious damage.

Types of Termites

  • Subterranean termites live in every state except Alaska and cause the majority of termite damage in the United States. 
  • Drywood termites are found in the Southeast and Southwest.  They dig into stumps, dead trees, siding, eaves and attic spaces. 
  • Dampwood termites live in the Pacific Coast states.  They infest damp felled timber but occasionally attack buildings containing wet wood.

Signs of Infestation

Homeowners may not realize they need termite treatment because activity is often invisible, carrying on for years behind walls, insulation and floor coverings.  A termite inspection is often required to uncover infestations, but there are some signs that will alert homeowners to the presence of termites.

  1. Subterranean
    • mud tubes, pencil-size in diameter, running between the soil and wooden material on a building
    • bubbled areas of wood
    • sagging of wooden building parts
    • thin, papery wings distributed across window sills, particularly in spring
    • swarms of termites around the home’s exterior in the spring
  2. Drywood
    • mounds of hard fecal pellets near an infestation
    • small swarms of dark brown termites, about ½ inch in length, during April through July and often following a rain
  3. Dampwood
    • small round brown pellets near damp or wet wood
    • winged termites inside the home even when doors and windows are closed

Pest control professionals trained in termite identification can determine a course of termite treatment based on termite type.

Treatment

The severity of the damage termites inflict on a home varies with length of infestation and colony size.  In serious cases, termites will consume load-bearing wood, weakening the structural integrity of a house. 

Homeowners should not attempt to get rid of termites on their own.  Professional pest control experts are trained to identify entry points and use equipment needed for termite treatment.  The liquid method of eliminating termites requires the application of gallons of liquid pesticide along and under the foundation. While some ingredients in termite pesticides can cause eye or skin irritation, professionals ensure the safety of home occupants by carefully injecting pesticides into the ground. 

Alternatively, professional exterminators may opt to treat the termites with insecticide-laced bait.  Termites share the poisoned bait with their nest mates, poisoning the colony.  Baiting generally takes longer to eliminate termites than the application of liquid pesticide.

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