Termites are social insects that raise their young as a group and have been around since the time of the dinosaurs. There are around 2,000 known species in the world. Termites have been dubbed “silent destroyers” as they have the ability to chew through wood, flooring, and even wallpaper undetected. Termite colonies eat non-stop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year.
Are Termites Active in the Cooler Fall & Winter Weather?
When the temperature drops outside, termites may not be as evident, but know they are indeed still active! Unlike other types of insects, termites do not hibernate for the winter. Rather, they retreat to their nests. For subterranean and Formosan termites, this means underground below the freeze line. Meteorologists are predicting a mild Texas winter with little freezing. This means subterranean and Formosan termites will stay closer to the surface. And, if termites moved into your house before the cold sets in outside, they can remain active throughout the winter months. Your home actually makes the perfect winter getaway for termites because it provides everything they need i.e. wood and water but also warmth. Drywood and dampwood termites will nest in wood areas such as stumps or trees for the winter.
How to Tell if You Have a Termite Infestation
A termite nest may be near if you see “flying ants” near light sources. You will notice these once a colony reaches a certain size when they leave to start a new colony and are most commonly noticed in March, April, May and June. Finding the swarms inside means they are within your home. Termites excavate wood and will leave a very thin layer of wood behind on the surface of the cavity where they are working. Mud tunnels and piles of wings gives you an indication that the termites have entered the next phase of development. Wood that has a crushed appearance at the structural bearing points is another sign. If you thump the damaged area and it sounds hollow, this is most likely termite damage. Buckling paint or tiny holes on wood or “frass” which is the sawdust looking material that is left behind are other indications. It’s important to know that finding termites in a structure does not mean you have an immediate emergency as the rate of damage occurs relatively slow.
How to Inspect Areas for Termites
Areas that should be inspected for termites are those with wood construction in basements and crawl spaces. All sills, subfloors, support posts, joists, window frames and under wooden porches as well as pieces of scrap wood, old tree stumps, fence posts and exterior window frames. Look at areas where concrete meets with wood, like steps and porches and inspect cracks and hollow blocks in cement and brick construction.
Preventing Termites in Your Home
Finding termites in your yard doesn’t necessarily mean you have them in your home. It’s a good idea to inspect your home for any of the signs of termites. All moisture should be taken care of. This includes fixing leaking pipes, A/C units and any other fixtures that are prone to leaking. Caulk all cracks in the foundation and around utility lines and pipes, make sure all drainage sites are clean and are effectively draining. Plants and mulch should be maintained, all wood should be stored away from your home and any extra wood from trees should be removed. It’s a good idea to have all exterior vents covered with screens and do regular checks of your yard at any wooden structures for signs of infestation.
Termite Inspections, Prevention, Treatment, Control & Removal in Austin, Round Rock, Leander, Pflugerville & Cedar Park, Texas
If you suspect termites, you should have a professional do an inspection. Specialized equipment is needed to treat termites and all pesticides should be considered potentially dangerous. Professionals will ensure that chemicals are used properly and safely. Don’t let termites destroy your home. Contact A-Tex Pest Management to customize a plan.