Why You Should Not Worry About Termites on Your Home

To explain why I believe you should not worry about termites eating your home first I should explain what a termite is. A termite is an insect with six legs, head, thorax, and abdomen. On the head are two antennae made up of many bead-like segments. Also, on the head are mandibles that bite wood, as well as black compound eyes which are usually present. Termite wings if present are attached to each of the last to segments of the thorax. When an infected piece of wood is broken open, one observes what appear to be a white maggot with legs. This is the blind or almost blind "worker" termite. Since the outer covering is thinner than most insects, it is less effective in preserving moisture and must avoid exposure to the sun. This is why subterranean termites usually live in underground colonies where they are able to obtain adequate water or in areas of your home where excess moisture is present. Compared to many other insects termites are very fragile and they are not able to move their colonies which makes them easier to control than many other insects.

Termites take a long time to develop into a colony large enough to do any real damage to your home. In the few years they require to grow a colony of sufficient size it is likely you will notice signs of excessive moisture or signs of the termites before they are able to do any structural significant damage.

Avoiding common situations that can create moisture problems on your home will reduce the chances of getting termites, reduce the damage they can cause, and make them easier to notice if they occur. Maintaining proper drainage and landscape elevation around your home is usually a simple matter of not adding to much soil or mulch to your beds and lawn. Making sure you have a good chimney cap and properly sealed windows and doors will help to keep your walls drier and therefore less attractive to termites.

New construction techniques and materials have reduced the incidence and impact of termites. The use of treated wood in decks, fencing, and framing along with the use of non-wood type siding and roofing has significantly reduced the food source for termites around homes. Improved ground preparation and foundation building procedures like using sealants around penetrations has made it more difficult for subterranean termites to enter homes. Cleaner job sites and more thorough foundation form board removal (because of higher wood costs) has also had a negative effect on the termite's ability to get started on a typical home. Leaking shower stalls once a very common source of moisture and therefore termite problems have all but disappeared.

Subterranean termites are much easier to prevent and eliminate with the advanced pesticides now available. The effectiveness of TERMIDOR (available to all pest control professionals) is well documented by state regulatory agencies and the ongoing tests to determine how long it lasts keep yielding data data every year. Although it is an expensive chemical it has reduced treatment costs by essentially eliminating retreatments.

Drywood termites, although harder to find in a home, are a smaller threat to the structure because the colony sizes are much smaller and have a limited life span. All the same factors working against subterranean termites are having a negative effect on the drywood termites. Treatment innovations like directed heating, expanding foam injection, and baiting have reduced treatment cost and improved treatment effectiveness.

James Stuart, BA in Business sciences Sam Houston State university 1980, Certified Applicant since 1974. Personally treated over 1000 homes since 1970. Personally Conduced over 2000 termite inspections. Attended hundreds of Continuing education courses. Participated in the training of hundreds of technicians currently working for pest control companies in the greater Houston.