Termites are known as silent destroyers, because they are insects that quietly destroy wood. Every year, the 2000 known species of termites produce an estimated five billion dollars in damage to homes and structures each year. Despite their massively destructive power, termites can be stopped and controlled.
Whether you are purchasing a home, selling your home, or simply looking to provide excellent maintenance where you live, you should learn a bit about termites. You should learn how to identify them, and how to control their existence from ruining your belongings.
Termites in California
All areas of California are identified as either moderate or severe Termite Infestation Probability Zones. Because termites simply love to feed on wood, they are extremely prevalent all over California. This also means that houses or play structures often suffer from termites, even if it is not obvious at all.
Termites hatch year round, so you can expect to see swarms of termites during all times of the year, but most often in the warmer months. It is good to note that in September and October, typically termites in California begin mating. This is when you really need to look out as they are hungry, swarming, and ready to feed.
What Do Termites Look Like?
Identifying termites is no easy task. Often termites are referred to as “white ants” because of their shape and size. This can be confusing, but because of their color, typically you will be able to make that distinction.
One interesting fact about diagnosing termites is that typically you will see their distruction before you see the bugs themselves. Although there are many different types of termites, there are a few common traits between them.
- Typically measure between 1/4 and 1/2 of an inch long.
- Soft bodies.
- Straight antennae.
- White to light brown. There can be a range of colors withing the hive.
Signs of Termites
There are three common signs of a termite infestation that you can look out for in your home or property in California.
- Swarms: If you see huge groups of ant-like bugs flying inside of your home, you most likely have a termite infestation. You might also see termites coming from what seems like your house, and swarming around the outside.
- Piles of sawdust-like pellets: These might be near a window, or other exits to your home.
- Surface blisters: These are often found on wood. They look like blisters and are actually tunnels that have been dug by termites.
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Different Types of Termites
There are three main types of termites: Dampwood, Drywood, and Subterranean. The most common termites in California are subterranean and drywood termites.
Found in California, but also found all throughout the United States, Subterranean are the most destructive of termites. This is because they are often found living in soil. These termites must be in a damp environment because they build distinctive tubes made from mud. Subterranean termites eat continuously for 24 hours per day, and can easily saw through building structures.
Dry wood termites live up to their name, and live primarily in dry wood. This means that these termites can live in window or door frames, as well as in your foundation. They do not discriminate, and will essentially eat any type of dry wood they can find. These termites typically swarm on sunny days after it has been cold for a while, and suddenly becomes warm.
The opposite of dry wood termites, damp wood termites love anything moist. This might include damp logs, stumps, and dead trees. It can also include fence posts and utility poles. These termites are often easier to spot because they are slightly larger than other termite species. The best way to avoid these termites altogether, is to remove unnecessary moisture around your home.
Tips to Prevent Termites
- Stay up to date on house repairs: Because termites will often try to find small areas that are either unpainted or raw, you will need to ensure that all wood is sealed and painted. Even in the attic or garage, all areas should be taken care of to avoid a termite infestation.
- Use mesh screens: Over any vent openings you should use screens. This is because termites often love to go through crawl space vents, or through an attic space. This is an inexpensive option to avoid a problem.
- Reduce moisture around your home: Many types of termites in California thrive in moist and wet environments. This also means you should repair leaks in faucets and water pipes, as well as exterior AC units.
- Keep up on general maintenance around your home: This might include weather stripping, loose mortar, or any other seals.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home: If you store firewood closer to your home, you are almost offering a nest for termites to infest, and then move on to your house after.
- Routine termite inspections: Companies such as Pacific Pest Inc. can offer you advice and services to prevent termites. It is in your best interest to obtain a pest inspection every two years. This will help you get rid of termites before they become an extreme infestation. It might be the difference between a small bill and small damage, or a large bill and a full termite treatment. Catching an infestation early is essential.
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Contact Pacific Pest Control
At Pacific Pest Control has been in business for over 10 years. We offer services to help you control termites, prevent termites, and even to recover from their damage.
Whether you need these services or another form of pest control, we can help you. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can take the stress of termites out of your life.