Termites are some of the most bothersome creatures on the planet, and they are also some of the most misunderstood. While you don’t need to be an expert in termite extermination — you can rely on your pest control company for that — it is important for you to understand the basics about these bugs and how they affect your home.
Some of the things homeowners often believe about termites are just not true and can lead to poor management and extermination choices. To that end, here are three common but mistaken beliefs about termites.
Termites Can Chew Your House to the Ground in Days
This belief probably comes from cartoons in which termites are shown chewing a tree or house into sawdust in a matter of minutes. Some homeowners end up overlooking termite damage for years because they figure it’s too slow-moving to be caused by termites. However, while termites can cause damage pretty quickly, it is often weeks or months before the damage is extensive enough for homeowners to notice.
If you do spot signs of termite damage, such as a rough texture on the outside of wood, wooden structures that sound hollow when tapped or pinholes in drywall, don’t second-guess yourself. Call a pest control company promptly. Even though your home won’t fall to the ground in a matter of days, this could eventually be its fate if you ignore the termite infestation long enough.
Termites Are Invisible
Those same cartoons generally fail to show the actual bugs that are chewing up wood. And, in fact, you might never see a termite when your home is infected. This is because the bugs are quite skilled at hiding from threatening creatures like humans.
However, termites are not the pinpoint-sized bugs some homeowners assume them to be. They’re generally between 1/4 and 3/8 inch long — plenty large enough to be seen with the naked eye.
Termites have elongated bodies with a thick waist, straight antennae and short legs. In some stages of life, they have two wings of equal length. In other stages, they are wingless. Termites range in color from cream to brown to black. If you spot bugs in your home that you think may be termites, it’s definitely time to call an exterminator.
Cutting Down Forests Rids an Area of Termites
Termites naturally feed on trees, so getting rid of the trees will get rid of the termites, right? Not really. It’s more likely that the termites will become displaced and left without a food source. They will then be more likely to seek out structures, such as your home and outbuildings, to feed on.
This is one reason why termites are such a common problem in new housing developments. A forest gets cleared and, months later, new homes are put up. All of the hungry termites left behind in the soil go on a feeding frenzy, damaging the newly built homes.
Never assume your home is immune to termite damage because it is new, especially if you know that your land was previously wooded. If forests in your area are being cleared to build new housing, you should also be especially vigilant about watching out for signs of termite damage. The displaced termites may migrate to nearby existing homes on their quest for a food source.
If you have found evidence of termites in your home, there is good news: the sooner you take action and start dealing with the infestation, the better the outcome will be. If you think you may have termites in your home, contact PermaTreat Pest & Termite Control for a free inspection.