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Termite Identification & Prevention


What are termites?

Termites are social insects in the same order as cockroaches (Blattodea). Termites in Birmingham live very similarly to ants. They have a queen that mates with the males of the colony and does all the egg-laying while keeping lower castes in a state of perpetual sterility – except for alates, which leave the colony to mate and start new colonies. 

Both native subterranean termites and invasive Formosan termites need lots of moisture and contact with the soil. They use mud tubes to bring moisture into the wood they infest and to move in and out of infested wood.

Are termites dangerous?

Termites are some of the most dangerous pests you can get in your home. They tunnel through and eat wood, which is a positive thing in the wild because it helps speed the process of decay and introduce vital nutrients back into the soil.

In your house, eating wood is not so positive. When termites eat wood, they weaken its internal structure. When you have weakened floor joists, support beams, or wall studs, it can put your home’s structural integrity at risk and lead to thousands of dollars in repairs.

Why do I have a termite problem?

Worker termites typically leave the nest in search for food. While foraging, they may accidentally find their way into homes and other buildings through cracks and crevices in their foundations. Termites often find their way inside homes in the following ways:

  • Wood-to-soil contact.  Termites can also utilize soil that comes into contact with door frames, deck posts, wooden shingles, and porch steps to gain access to homes. Once inside, they travel behind walls and under flooring, tunneling through and feeding on the structural wood of your home, initially preferring moist, water-damaged wood.
  • Termite swarms. If there is a mature termite colony living on one of your neighbor’s properties and winged termite swarmers emerge in order to mate and establish a new colony, those termite reproductives may end up on your property and eventually inside the structural wood of your home!

Where will I find termites?

Termites could be anywhere in your house where there is wood. Common areas include wooden stairs, railing, and decking. They might also infest your home’s internal structure, like its wall studs or floor beams. Signs of termites include lots of damage or symptoms of damage:

  • Pinholes in drywall
  • Sawdust and pellets known as frass
  • Walls that sound hollow when tapped
  • Bulging walls, floors, or ceilings

Generally speaking, if you start finding wood damage around your home that doesn’t have any obvious cause (like a water leak), you need a termite inspection.

How do I get rid of termites?

Getting rid of an existing termite infestation is virtually impossible for homeowners to do themselves. OTC termite control products tend to just temporarily reduce termite numbers. And DIY pest controllers also tend to have a hard time finding emerging nests. That means the best way to get rid of termites is to call in the experts here at EnviroCare! Reach out to us today for termite control solutions in Birmingham.

How can I prevent termites in the future?

Termite removal is expensive and often invasive. That means the best thing you can do is focus on prevention. Fortunately, there are plenty of measures DIYers can take to avoid infestation:

  • Maintain at least six inches of bare dirt between mulch and your foundation.
  • Store firewood off the ground and away from your house.
  • Ensure all wood components of your home are hard and dry.
  • Trim back branches and limbs away from your home.

One of the best prevention measures you can take is to have an annual professional termite inspection done by the experts here at EnviroCare. We can not only help you get rid of existing infestations. We can also help you keep yourself safe from potential ones!

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