Termites – How they manage to do massive damage?
You may be astonished to know just how much damage termites can do. But you have to bear in mind that while a single termite may be only eight millimeters (a third of an inch) in length, a colony or nest can hold between several hundred and several million termites.
The majority of this number will be workers and their duty is to go out and get sufficient food for all the inhabitants of the colony. In general, they search for cellulose material, but in practice that could be your home, especially if it is made mostly of timber. Not that they will not gnaw their way through other materials too.
Plastic, soft metals like lead, and even concrete are no actual barrier to thousands of determined termites. But they would rather eat wood. Some species prefer dry timber and others would rather damp or rotting timber. However, do not think that you will necessarily see termite damage at a glance. Often termites will eat their way into the end grain of a piece of wood and then work their way up through the center of it.
This section of the timber is the newest growth and, presumably, the most succulent to a termite. Anyway, they will gnaw into the center of, say, a floor joist, and make a walk-way or gallery through it to the next piece of timber. So you may not realize that you have termites until they have so undermined your floor that you drop into the basement one day.
This is why, if you live in an area where termites are known to be vigorous, you should have your house inspected or sprayed at least once a year. Just because you have not observed a termite or any termite damage, does not mean that you have not got termites. Not by a long chalk.
There are three main types of termite: the damp wood termite, the dry timber termite and the subterranean termite. As you can see, no matter what state the timber in your house is in, there is a termite that will eat it. By far the nastiest of these is the subterranean termite and by far the worst of those is the Formosan termite. Do not make the error of thinking that you are secure from the Formosan termite because you do not live in China. They are all over Asia and in the USA too.
Subterranean termites, living underground, are evidently much more difficult to spot. Not only that, they are either very clever or very introverted, because they construct walk-ways or tubes of earth from the exits from their underground colonies to the nearest bit of timber. This helps them go unobserved, unless you know what you are looking for, and then, when they have reached timber, they will burrow into the end grain and they are off, eating their way into the very fabric of your home.
Within months all the timber support beams, purlins, rafters and joists could be hollow shells of wood. One strong gust of wind or a heavy snowfall and that might be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Termites can severely damage your home or commercial property, and leave you homeless for weeks (not to
mention terribly inconvenienced). Identifying them is one of the most crucial steps in saving your property. Often times identifying termites early can mean the difference between salvaging your property and declaring a loss or requiring serious renovations.
Termite Inspection – DIY Methods
- The first sign of termites will be swarms of them, flying inside your home, in an effort to colonize and bring more food to build a colony. Homeowners will be able to find termite bodies laying in droves, near window sills and doors, or wherever else there may be an opening so they can escape.
- Hollowed wood is also a tell-tale sign of termites. Examine suspicious pieces of furniture to determine if it’s been hollowed. You can usually feel for any areas that are not dense or seem lighter than usually. You may even be able to gently manipulate the wood with your hands, possibly even crumbling it. Sometimes hollowed wood actually has a certain sound that normal wood doesn’t have.
- Shelter tubes are a classic trademark of termites. They’re pencil shape long narrow holes in the dirt near your home or in pieces of wood where termites burrow and colonize. You can also examine day-by-day to determine how quickly termites are colonizing in your home or business.
Check moisture-prone areas of your home or business which is where termites congregate. Termites love moisture, so any areas of exposed wood that haven’t been treated with water repellant coatings are particularly vulnerable.
- Check for areas of your home that have dirt in unusual places. Termites typically leave trails of dirt as they travel to and from colonies in your home. This can also easily be confused with dirt that naturally collects on the wood near a window sill, a crevice in the wall, the corner of a bookshelf, or the corner of a room. This is where using your best judgment comes in handy, and where you can use some of the other criteria listed above to help you determine what is dirt and what is a paper trail of termite infestation.
Termite Inspection Cost- Professional Services
If you want to go one step forward in making sure your house is safe. Handing over the inspection to professionals is not a bad idea. Most of the pest control companies provide a free termite inspection. However, top notch companies might charge you anywhere from $65 to $100 for termite inspection services.
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Termite Treatment DIY Methods
So there might have come a time, when you looked at the mess termites have created and asked yourself, “What can I do about this problem on my own.” You need to understand that treating any kind of infestation requires you to know what kind of termites you are dealing with. Because the methods, their costs and efficiency varies depending on the species. You can learn more about the termite types above.
Subterranean Termites DIY Treatment Methods
1 ) Chemical Extermination
Liquid Termiticides, if applied properly can be effective in treating Subterranean termites. Application of such chemicals can block the passage of termites in to your home, and restrict access to soil for termites already in your home – which they need for moisture.
But just a word of warning; their application is not possible for everyone – depending on the property. Application of these liquid termiticides in the soil can often require drilling of wood and concrete slabs. On the other hand, if you’re house is free from any kind obstacles, and you think you can soak the soil around your house with ease, then this method might be convenient for you.
The efficiency of these kind of chemical solutions depends on how well you have put the repellents in the soil. If even a tiny bit of space is not properly covered then expect some unwanted visitors to your home soon. Keep in mind, termites are really small insects. And there colonies can travel through a space as wide as a pencil.
An average termiticide treatment can last from 5-8 years. It can take around 20 oz of dilute termidor to treat 60 linear feet of area. Which means that an area of 240 linear feet can take 80 oz of termidor – worth $230-$270.
2) Termite Baiting Systems
Baiting systems are a much advanced approach of wiping out entire termite colonies. These baiting systems work more effectively when the termite colonies feed on the bait as a major food source. Think of it as a virus. Once an infected termite gets in contact with others, it multiplies its victims extensively.
How do Termite Baits work?
Termite baits consists of cardboard, wood or any other acceptable termite-food – poisoned with a chemical lethal to termites. A good termite bait works slowly, giving time for the first effected termite to reach its colony. This is essential for two reasons; one being that we want the information of new food-source passed to other termites. Second, the transmission of poison would effect a much bigger target, even the ones that never fed on the bait. A good termite bait system can cost you around $500.
Drywood Termites DIY Treatment:
Drywood termites make their colonies in wood structures, unlike subterranean termites. Which is why termidors and baiting systems don’t work that well for them. Ideally, if your house is not largely infested by drywood termites. You can simply remove or replace the wooden structures that are infested. But if doing so is not preferable or you’re facing a huge termite invasion, products like Bora Care can help. Please keep in mind, that in case of a huge infestation we always recommend that you consult a professional agency instead of taking matters in your own hand.
You can apply Boracare to infested wooden structures that have not been painted or stained. Otherwise, you would actually need to drill holes at least 3-4 inches in depth before applying the the product. The goal here is to make sure that the toxic material is in reach of termites. You can tell you’ve reached the termite gallery when you have to apply less pressure while drilling.
Dampwood Termites DIY Treatment
Dampwood termites are largest in size, and live in rotten structures that have high moisture conditions. Dampwood termites are rarely found in a normal home. And most of the times their presence indicates an unusual source of moisture. These can be plumbing defaults, lack of ventilation, poor drains or construction made in a way that provides too much contact with soil. The best practice to take out dampwood termites in your home is to identify and remove the moisture sources that are necessary for dampwood termite survival.