What can build homes for other animals out of fallen trees, are eaten roasted or fried in parts of Africa and Indonesia, is a major source of atmospheric methane, have been found on the bones of dinosaurs from the middle of Jurassic China, and have been around for over 250 million years? Here’s a hint, they are one of the most destructive creatures when it comes to wood in the world, and they are a major threat to the structure of your home. If you guessed the termite, you are correct.
Termites are often mistaken as white ants, which they are not closely related to, and are much weaker than the ant who can easily overpower it. They are tremendously helpful in nature, breaking down dead plant material, soil, leaf litter and animal droppings. These little insects do, however, pose an immediate threat to all homeowners as they are solely responsible for millions of dollars worth of damage to the structure of homes and buildings alike each year.
An infestation can be hard to spot as the damaging pests burrow into wood, sometime causing the complete failure of the beams and columns which can, in the worst cases, cause the collapse of the invaded building. Leaving only the outer structure, termites eat the interior of the wood leaving the perception that the wood is still intact. Just looking at a property you may not be able to tell if you have a problem unless you know what to look for including swarms around you home, as they can travel up to 300 feet from their food source, mud tubes on your foundation, tiny holes in the wood in and around your property, and finally, warped doors and sagging floors. If you have any of these signs, it’s imperative that you quickly contact a pest control expert to help you identify and eradicate this infestation.
Many property owners try to deal with the wood-destroying insects themselves. Over-the-counter methods are not usually highly effective, and if mixed wrong, can be harmful to plant, pets and humans alike. Complete eradication of the infestation can be difficult, especially with the size of the colonies ranging from several hundred members to several million termites. Colonies and pathways must be properly identified to insure that the entire colony and nest are destroyed or the pest will rebuild and return.