Facts & Identification Information
Termites Termites are often called the “silent destroyer” because they may be secretly hiding and thriving in your home or yard without any immediate signs of damage. All termites consume cellulose-based plant materials. Unfortunately, all homes, regardless of their construction type, can provide cellulose food for termite infestation.
AppearanceTermites range from 1/4 to 1/2 an inch in length. The queens and kings are larger, capable of reaching over one inch long. The workers are typically soft-bodied and pale-colored. Flying termites, also called reproductives, have two pairs of prominent wings.
Termites are detritivores, or detritus feeders. They feed on dead plants and trees. Termites get nutrients from cellulose, an organic fiber found in wood and plant matter. Wood makes up the majority of the pests’ diet, although termites also eat other materials such as paper, plastic, and drywall. Most species prefer dead wood, but some termites feed on living trees.
A termite’s mouth is capable of tearing pieces of woody material. This ability is what causes concern in human dwellings: while termite workers only measure approximately 1 cm to a few millimeters in length, their feeding habits are capable of causing costly damage to property. House foundations, furniture, shelves and even books are all possible feeding sites for termites. Read more about what termites eat.
What Can You Do to Help Protect Your Home?
Since termites are a constant threat to your home, here are some things you can do during the year to help maintain the effectiveness of The Orkin Man’s termite treatment plan. Small steps make a big difference in termite prevention and sustaining an effective termite treatment plan. Start by eliminating moisture conditions and termite food around your home. These simple steps make your home a less attractive target, helping deter termites.
Eliminate Moisture Problems
- Repair leaking faucets, water pipes, and A/C units
- Divert water from foundation
- Keep gutters and downspouts clean
- Remove excessive plant cover and wood mulch
- Get rid of standing water on roof
- Keep all vents clear and open
- Seal entry points around water and utility lines or pipes
Remove Termite Food Sources
- Keep firewood, lumber or paper away from foundation or crawl space
- Get rid of stumps and debris near house
- Place screens on outside vents
- Check decks and wooden fences for damage
- Wood on your home shouldn’t contact the soil
Termite Warning Signs & Identification
Some indications you may have a termite infestation:
- A temporary swarm of winged insects in your home or from the soil around your home.
- Any cracked or bubbling paint or frass (termite droppings).
- Wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
- Mud tubes on exterior walls, wooden beams or in crawl spaces.
- Discarded wings from swarmers.