How To Protect Your Sacramento Home From Termites

Outside of mold, termites are silent destroyers of homes that make homeowners cringe. It makes you wonder how such small insects can cause significant problems in your Sacramento home. We at Neighborly Pest Management can tell you from experience that termite damage is something you don’t want to discover first-hand.

Termite damage is frequently confused with water damage. These destructive pests hollow out wood by eating through it, weakening the structural integrity of your home. As a result, the wooden structure of your home blisters, bends, buckles, or sags. Termites also leave external evidence of their presence, such as discarded wings, mud tubes, and wood-colored waste known as frass. If you notice any of these signs of termites around your Sacramento home, you need to contact your local Sacramento pest control, Neighborly Pest Management, for our termite control services.

termites on a dirty door frame

About The Termite Caste System

Formed within a caste system, a termite colony is where members work together to achieve the colony's shared goal of survival and growth. Termite colonies can have anywhere from a few hundred thousand to millions of termites, and each termite can spread out and start a new subcolony. Each caste member is assigned a specific responsibility within the colony for members to survive.

The use of pheromones controls and regulates the order and population of the termite caste system. The king and queen secrete a unique pheromone that disperses throughout the colony and serves as a control mechanism for growth and reproduction. As pheromones spread throughout the colony, they rise and fall in response to termite death or expansion to keep populations alive. Changes in the corresponding pheromones cause more worker termites to molt and become adults capable of reproducing, or it causes them to kill excess soldiers and reproductive termites.
The types of termites are:

  • Worker termites: Worker termites are the largest termite caste. This group, which includes males and females, is solely responsible for all labor involved in developing and maintaining the colony. Workers handle structural damage and the construction of tunnels used to expand the colony's size and reach and tend to the young. Young worker termites can go through molts and change into soldiers or females, but most will stay as workers for the rest of their lives, usually lasting as long as two years. 
  • Soldier termites: Soldier termites come in smaller numbers but are larger in size. These termites are the colony's defenders. They have large, powerful jaws to disarm attackers, and they have a  type of nozzle on their head in which they shoot a defensive chemical or toxic substance that deters invaders. Soldiers are unique members of the caste system. They lack wings, they're blind, and they have both male and female counterparts. The irony is that they're the colony's defenders, yet, they cannot feed or care for themselves and must rely solely on the workers to survive. Soldier termites have a lifespan of one to two years as well.
  • Reproductive termites: The reproductive cast will always have a king and a queen, serving as founders and parents of the colony; They're also the only adults in the colony. The queen termite can lay up to 1000 eggs per day, which will hatch into future workers or soldiers (this is how termite infestations can worsen very quickly). Some termite species have a few additional reproductives that can help the queen with egg-laying responsibilities. In every mature colony, some of these termites will develop into juvenile reproductives (alates), taking their annual mating flight and forming pairs to fly off with, starting their own sub-colonies. Of course, this restarts the process and spreads the infestation further.

Now that you know how the termite caste system works, you can easily see how damaging an infestation can be to your Sacramento home. Contact Neighborly Pest Management if you even suspect you may have a termite problem to stop the spread of a potential infestation.

Why Termites Infest Wooden Structures

A typical public assumption about termites in Sacramento is that they eat only wood. This assumption is partially accurate but missing a few pieces of information. The diet of termites consists of cellulose, which is in wood. However, termites will consume anything that contains cellulose, not just wood. For everything from plants and cotton to plant byproducts, termites will consume it to get the nutrients they need from cellulose.

Termites have mouth parts explicitly designed for chewing and breaking down wood. Furthermore, termites' guts contain protozoa and bacteria that allow them to break down cellulose fibers easily. Cellulose is challenging for most other pests to consume and digest. Because of that, termites hardly ever have a hard time finding food due to cellulose being so abundant that they rarely have to compete for it. So think of it like fighting over that last slice of pizza, only that you don't have to fight anyone over it because no one else wants it except you!

How To Remove Factors That Attract Termites To Your Home

If you’ve discovered a termite problem, it will cause you to wonder what attracts termites. That could be quite a few things, but the answers center around these water and moisture issues:

  • Wood piles and firewood: Many people store their firewood in wood piles against the side of their houses; this may be convenient for you, but it's also a significant attractant of termites to your home and provides a point of entry for them. Consider situating your firewood and wood piles at least 20 feet away from your home. If possible, you should also store the wood on a structure at least five inches lifted off the ground.
  • Inadequate drainage: Although it's a tedious chore, fixing damaged irrigation heads or cleaning out gutters is essential to protecting your home from termites. Because damp environments draw termites, excess moisture accumulation can make nearby wood and insulation susceptible to attack by these destructive pests. Excess moisture can happen by clogged drainage systems or broken sprinkler heads.
  • Excessive wood: Many homeowners leave dead trees and stumps in their yards without realizing that rotting wood can serve as an abundant food source for termites, which places nearby homes in danger of being infested.
  • Mulch: To improve a home's curb appeal, people frequently spread mulch close to their homes and up against the foundation. However, termites can use mulch as a food source—these damaging insects like areas with high moisture content maintained by mulch. Try to use as little wood mulch as possible, and when you do, make sure to keep it at least 15 inches away from the foundation of your home.
  • Trees: Branches and leaves that touch the roof and the outside of a home can act as a pathway for termites (and other pests) that want to enter. For this reason, it is essential to make sure you trim trees back regularly.

Termites are nasty and unrelenting pests that feed on the wood found in your home around the clock. Even if your home consists of brick or vinyl, termites can still get inside, get past the exterior, and feed on the wood within your walls, cabinets, furniture, ceilings, and floors. They will even eat cardboard boxes and canvases if they gain access to those items in your home.

Through the years, the experts at Neighborly Pest Management have witnessed many homes in California succumb to the destruction caused by termites. How much of a financial hit might this damage have on the typical homeowner? How does $3,000 sound? Sadly, each year in the United States, these unwanted guests cause damage to 600,000 homes. 

The good news is that once you figure out what's luring termites to your house in the first place, all you have to do to stop new infestations from occurring is remove the things that termites find appealing. However, it would be best to eliminate your current infestation before taking preventative measures. Neighborly Pest Management is here to rid your home of termite infestations, no matter how big or small.

Contact The Professionals For The Best Termite Protection

Termites are a problem that you should not disregard. Although some people use their presence to negotiate a lower price on purchasing a home, a termite infestation is something you don't want to handle. They are harmful to your home, health, and bank account. They will cost you thousands of dollars to repair, and they can cause you to lose everything in your home.

If you suspect a termite infestation, call Neighborly Pest Management immediately. Our specialists will be able to determine the nature of the damage, locate the termites, eradicate them, and ensure they never return. You receive long-lasting service when you choose our team of pest specialists for your termite pest control in Sacramento. Schedule an appointment today.