Posts Tagged Termite

Identifying Termites in Your Home

Posted by on Wednesday, 18 December, 2013

TermitesThe last thing we want as homeowners are termites eating our investment. Have you noticed any signs of termite damage around your property? Is there a chance termites are chewing on the wood that holds up your home? These are great questions that we in the pest control industry struggle to answer on a routine basis.

Identifying termites isn’t an easy task. They live most of their lives tucked behind the walls of homes and they’re perfectly comfortable remaining there for many years.  First let’s take a quick look at the types of termites:

Types of Termites

One group of termites is what we call subterranean termites. These are termites that are typically associated with your Northern states. Subterranean termites make colonies in the ground outside of the home. They make their way to the wood structure of the home through underground tunnels and return back to the colony once they’re done eating.

Another group of termites are the drywood termites. These termites actually make their colonies inside the walls of the house. Because these termites don’t have a need to leave the home, it’s often very difficult to suspect termite damage.

Dampwood termites love to make their home in damp wood, whether it’s in rotten logs or sections of your home that are subjected to flooding. Such termites are common on the Pacific Coast as well as Southern Florida.

termite damageHow to Identify Termites

One of the most common ways people find out they have termites in their house are by seeing what we call swarmer’s. Termites will try to reproduce and spread their colonies. Those that have wings, or swarmers, will be flying around the home in search of a new beginning. If you notice them flying around your home there is a chance you have termites.

Another way to determine if you have termites is through detection systems. Pest control companies can install baiting systems around the house that will indicate the existence of termites. Some baiting systems have wood and if there is any indication of chewed wood, termites are likely to blame.

Subterranean termites leave their mark by creating mud tubes along the exterior of the home. If you notice dried up mud tubes outside your home you may want to have it tested for termites. Other types of termites make small holes where they enter and dump out fecal matter.

It’s always best to leave the detection of termites to the professionals. It’s important to understand the signs of termite damage, but don’t attempt to make your own judgment or get rid of the termites on your own. There are very strong chemicals on the market for removing termites and it’s safest to leave the job up to the professionals.

In many cases termite removal requires leaving the home for a few days. When the fumigation approach is taken, professionals spray poison throughout the home and then place tarps over it to seal it. Homeowners are allowed to return to the home once the toxins have fully settled.

Reach out to a local pest control company to determine the best approach for removing termites from your home.

What Pest Did You See Infographic

Posted by on Monday, 16 September, 2013

Have you seen the “pest test” word search puzzle floating around Facebook? If not, you’ll have to check it out (pictured below).

 

Pest Wordsearch

 

The pest word search was put together by Bulwark Exterminating, who just so happens to have a branch here in Austin, TX.

The word search puzzle exploded in popularity, with almost 13,000 Facebook users commenting on the puzzle with the first pest they found.

The following infographic breaks down the percentages of each pest found in the pest word search:

 

Wordsearch puzzle infographic

 

  • What pest did you spot first in the puzzle?
  • Was the first pest you found one of the most common pests found?
  • Did you find the following pests: scorpion, spider, termite, wasp, bugs, roach, fly, bedbugs, ant, lice, gnat, flea, and centipede?
  • Was the pest you found first, also the pest you fear the most?

Comment below!

How To Survive An Invasion: 5 Pests You’d Rather Be Rid Of

Posted by on Tuesday, 3 September, 2013

After the movie Signs came out, I was obsessed with alien invasion preparation. However, over the years, I have realized that there are other invaders out there that are a little closer to home. Pest infestations are both a nuisance and a potential health hazard. That is why it is so important to be able to recognize the signs of an invasion and target those unwanted guests before they do any more damage. Below are a five pests you’d rather be rid of and the signs of their invasion. Once you can read the signs, you’ll be better able to combat these pesky bugs once and for all.

1. Cockroaches

Cockroach

Cockroaches are nocturnal, which means if you see one during the day, there are probably many more hidden in your home. They prefer dark, moist places to hide and breed, so check behind refrigerators, under floor drains, under sinks, and behind appliances. You may also find small oval egg cases in these places, as well as in other hidden places like between books.

If you have an infestation, you will find feces that resemble coffee grounds or black pepper. If the roaches are a larger size, they will be dark and cylindrical. Some types also produce smells that are, let’s just say, unpleasant to your olfactory senses. And a larger infestation will radiate a strong oil or must smell.

If you notice any of these tell-tale signs of a roach, call your nearest professional exterminator to handle the problem.

2. Bedbugs

bedbug

“Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite,” isn’t just a catchy bedtime phrase. If you wake up and notice little bug bites that were not there when you went to sleep, it may be a good idea to check for bedbugs. These little pests are about the size and shape of an apple seed, and brown or reddish-brown in color. They prefer small, warm places to hide and breed. And their habitat of choice? You guessed it: your bed.

Therefore, check between the fitted sheet and mattress, or between the mattress and box spring, as well as any other nearby small, dark, places. Although their name suggests they reside only among the mattresses, bedbugs can actually live in furniture, appliances, bookshelves, and even computers.

Keep an eye out for the bugs themselves, shed skins, or their small white eggs. The eggs are adhesive so be sure to check on both sides of the sheetswhere they may be attached. Other indications of a bedbug problem include their droppings. These will be small, and black or dark brown, like coffee grounds, but will smear red when wiped with a damp cloth.

Though their bites generally only cause annoying itching, in more severe cases victims may have allergic reactions or secondary infections (from scratching the wounds). The best solution to a bedbug problem is to take the Godfather’s advice and go to the mattresses—literally.

3. Ants

ants

Ants are mostly active around sundown, so that is when you want to really keep an eye out. There are three particular things you can check for when inspecting your home for ants.

First, do a little reconnaissance. Ants nest outdoors, so they enter your home primarily to find food. Therefore, they are commonly found in the kitchen area and along walls, and in cupboards. . Though a few ants does not necessarily mean an infestation, if there are a lot of ants, along with an appearance of larger worker ants, you could have a problem on your hands.

Second, after you inspect the house at the likely sources, check for frass. Frass is waste left behind by ants, which includes feces as well as small piles of sawdust or wood shavings, as well as other leftover debris. Ants do not eat wood, but they will dig tunnels and push the sawdust out. So if you see accumulations of debris, you may have uncovered an ant problem.

Finally, if you suspect an ant colony is residing in your home, tap on the area in question and listen. A disturbed colony will make a rustling noise that becomes louder the more bothered they become.

4. Termites

termites

Termites are one of the most destructive pests out there, particularly because there are often no immediate signs of damage. They love to eat dead plant matter like fallen leaves and dead trees, and while that is great in nature, when they decide to make our homes a meal it can be a big problem.

Termites are often mistaken for flying ants, so it is important to know the differences. Ants have a cinched waist, while the termite body is just a straight tube shape. Ants’ wings are two different shapes and their antennae are bent, while termites’ wings are both the same size and their antennae are straight.

Check the foundation of your home, as well as crawl spaces, for signs of termites. They will have little mud tunnels running from their underground colonies to their feeding ground.

Watch out for swarms of termites near your home, especially around springtime. If your paint suddenly starts to bubble or crack for no reason you may want to check the walls for termites. If wood sounds hollow when tapped, or you find discarded wings or termite droppings, it is time to call your local exterminator—and no, I’m not talking about Arnold. A quick search on your browser for “termite control Long Island” (or wherever you’re from) should give you a solid list of options from which to choose. The sooner you take care of a termite problem, the better. Because the longer you wait, the more damage you risk to your home and property.

5. Rodents

rodent

Rats and mice can be fun pets to have for some people, but a wild rodent in your home is a hazardous thing. Both rats and mice carry diseases and parasites, putting your food and home in danger of infection. Moreover, because they are rapid breeders, take care of a rodent problem as soon as possible to avoid a major infestation.

The most obvious sign of a rodent problem is if you see dead or living rodents in or around your home. It is also possible to hear them scurrying and squeaking through walls and floors.

Keep an eye out for droppings in dark, infrequently visited places such as behind furniture, in the back of drawers, the back corner of closets, attics, basements, and in walls and under floorboards. You will also notice damage to food and other things in your home from their constant biting and nibbling. Inspect your pantry and other food sources for signs of nibbling, and make note of any damage to property

Traps are usually the first place we go to when we learn of a rodent in our home, but for larger infestations, traps will be insufficient. Your best bet is to call your exterminator.

The last thing anyone wants is an intruder of any kind in their home. Just as you would call the police if a burglar invaded your home, you should call the exterminator for pest invaders. The sooner you catch the problem and call, the sooner you can once again feel safe and secure in your home—and the sooner you can worry about bigger problems, like aliens.

Leslie Mason is a homemaker and garden expert. Leslie enjoys writing, gardening, do-it-yourself projects, and fixing up the house.

Termite Inspection: An Important Step in the Termite Damage Repair Process

Posted by on Thursday, 11 July, 2013

TermiteTermite damage is one of the top dreaded circumstances a homeowner can run into, but many don’t realize just how common it is to find these wood-eating pests invading a home. A precautionary termite inspection and preventive treatment may be enough to help some homeowners ward off termites for good, but unfortunately, there are still plenty of structures out there getting attacked every day. If you do find that you have an infestation problem, it doesn’t immediately have to mean a total loss. Completing certain steps in the aftermath of termite detection and extermination will allow you to make repairs and reverse termite damage if you go about it the right way.

Termite Inspection

This may seem like an unnecessary procedure after you’ve already established that you have termites and have gone through the extermination process, but a termite inspection is actually the first, and one of the most important, steps to follow if you’re going to be successful in repairing any damage. It’s not always a guarantee that termites will be fully eliminated after an extermination or that a new infestation won’t develop, so it’s essential that you have someone come in to reassess the situation and look for any remaining signs of life.

Assessing the Damage

Once you no longer have the pests in your home, you can begin to survey the damage that’s been done and decide if you think you are able to tackle the restoration project yourself. For minimal and surface destruction, you might want to start with applying a wood hardener, which will fill any holes left behind by the termites. If it’s a little more extensive, you can try scraping away the affected wood, leaving a new, smooth surface underneath to be treated with a wood filler or sealant.

Termite InspectorCommissioning a Professional Termite Contractor

If there is any kind of serious damage done to your home, it is advised that you call a professional termite contractor to work on the repairs and ensure that you will be left with a secure structure. If termites have infested the building and have been gnawing on everything that keeps your home together, like the foundation, walls, etc., you won’t want to take a chance that it could all come crumbling down around you. There is also the possibility that if you begin to go at it alone you could run into a much larger and more intense problem than you anticipated, creating even more work and potentially greater harm to the structure. A contractor will have a trained eye and be able to advise you best on the extent of the damage.

Repairing termite damage won’t generally be a fun do-it-yourself project no matter how handy and self-sufficient you are. Keeping up on periodic termite inspections is a good way to prevent the threat of termites and a bigger headache and expense in the long run. It may also be worth checking into to see if you’re covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy for termite damage.

About the Author

My name is Tiffany Olson and I love to blog on real life scenarios that I have had experience with. My parents recently went through a termite debacle and got some great help from Killroy Pest Control. They specialize in pest control and termite inspection in Hayward, CA.

Austin Termite Control

Posted by on Monday, 22 October, 2012


Agricultural Research Service scientists have ...

Austin Termites

Termites are frequently found infesting homes and buildings in Austin, TX. These destructive pests create major problems for homeowners and tenants by actively feeding on timber structures like: homes, buildings, telephone poles, and trees. They will feed on almost anything made of wood.

Within a colony of termites, you’ll find members of different social classes, each with a specific task to perform. Each class is reliant upon the other for the continued survival of the entire termite colony. The five different termite social classes include: the king, the queen, soldiers, workers, and what is called the winged reproductive which are young kings and queens dedicated to reproducing.

The First Termites You’ll See are the Soldier Termites

If you suspect you might have termites, keep a lookout for the soldier termites. Because of their large numbers, you will likely see the soldier termites first. The soldier termite’s sole purpose is to protect the colony from any intruder. Anytime a termite’s habitat is disturbed, the soldier termites will scuttle out of the nest and guard the opening.

Soldier termites have fat, dark heads with strong mandibles used for biting any predator that might threaten the colony. In some species, soldiers are twice as large as worker termites, and may spray noxious chemicals from a snout on the front of their head.

The Queen and Worker Termites Help the Colony Grow

The queen termites are responsible for helping the colony grow. A typical queen can lay over 2000 eggs a day, and she’ll live up to 25 years! That’s a lot of termites that can damage your property! Termite control must be aimed at eliminating the queen, as well as the other termites.

Worker termites help to build the nest, and will repair it if there is ever a breach. The worker termites are the termites that cause all the damage to your home. They spend their lives inside the nest eating, chewing, and eating some more. They are soft-bodied and will be a creamy translucent color.

Austin Termite Control

With the queen termite’s ability to lay 2000 eggs a day for 25 years, it’s a necessity for a pest control professional to eliminate this destructive pest before she, and the rest of her colony, create extensive property damage. Termites cause more damage to homes in the Austin, TX area than fires and storms combined. Yet termite damage is not covered by homeowner policies. That’s why requesting a free termite inspection is so important.

If you believe you have termites anywhere on your property, even if they are not yet inside your home, it’s best that you contact a termite control professional before they make their way to your all-you-can-eat buffet. The quicker you act, the more likely you will avoid any damage from being done to your home or property. Call for a free termite inspection today!

Austin Pest Control:

Bulwark Exterminating
209 East Ben White Boulevard
Austin, TX
(512) 291-1200
bulwarkpestcontrol.com

A Wildlife Pro
3803 Speedway
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 914-7287
austintxanimalcontrol.com

Terminix
1905 Kramer Lane,
Austin, TX 78758
(512) 236-5008
terminix.com