As spring approaches, homeowners across the United States brace themselves for the annual termite swarm. This is a particularly hectic period when panicked customers call for help, seeking immediate solutions to their termite problems.
As a termite expert, you play a crucial role in addressing these concerns and preserving the integrity of their homes. In this blog, we'll use the informative write-up from David Willey, our Pest Control Expert and Sales Rep in the Mid-South Division, to discuss the different species of termites, their behaviors, and best practices for termite control.
Termites: The Unwanted Houseguests
Termites are a diverse group of insects, with several species commonly found infesting wood and wood structures in the United States. These species have different swarming patterns and behaviors, with some swarming during the day and others at night. Here's an overview of three common termite species:
Eastern Subterranean Termite
The Eastern subterranean termite (Reticulitermes flavipes kollar) is by far the most common and economically significant wood-destroying insect in the US. These termites build mud tubes and swarm castles, typically swarming on warm, humid, and windless days. A mature colony can consist of 50,000 to several hundred thousand termites.
Formosan Subterranean Termite
Originally from China, the Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) has spread through the movement of infested railroad crossties. These termites usually swarm at night and can have colonies numbering several million termites, causing more damage in a shorter period than native species. The Formosan swarmer is larger and has a pale yellow body, with fine hairs covering their wings.
Commonly found in Texas, drywood termites (Incisitermes Snyderi) live in sound, dry wood above ground and obtain moisture from the wood they ingest. Swarming at night, their alates have a light yellowish body color and transparent, uncolored wings. Unlike subterranean termites, they do not build shelter tubes and their galleries are free of mud.
Best Practices for Termite Control
To prevent and control termite infestations, consider the following best practices:
- Regular inspections: Schedule annual professional inspections to detect termite activity and damage early on.
- Reduce moisture: Termites thrive in moist environments, so repair leaking pipes, ensure proper ventilation, and keep gutters clean to prevent moisture accumulation.
- Remove food sources: Keep firewood, lumber, and other wood debris away from the house to minimize potential termite food sources.
- Maintain barriers: Ensure that the soil around the foundation is treated with termiticides and install physical barriers like metal termite shields.
- Monitor bait stations: Install and regularly monitor termite bait stations around the property to identify termite activity.
- Professional treatment: If an infestation is detected, seek the assistance of a licensed pest control professional to determine the best treatment method, such as liquid termiticides, baiting systems, or fumigation.
Get Rid of Termites with Heritage PPG
As a termite expert, your role in helping homeowners tackle termite infestations is invaluable. By understanding the different termite species and their behaviors, as well as implementing best practices for termite control, you can protect your customers' homes and provide peace of mind during termite season.