Some pests are capable of spreading disease, bacteria, or just being a nuisance – but only one type of pest can wrack up thousands of dollars in property damage: termites. Since termites can go undetected for years at a time, it’s not a good sign if you’re seeing signs of their presence in your Roseville home.
Here’s what Roseville homeowners should know about the types of termites and damage they cause, why they infest homes, what attracts them, and the benefits of using professional pest control in Roseville.
How To Identify Termites And Their Damage
Because the signs of termites tend to be subtle, it’s important for homeowners to know what to look for, such as:
- Swarmers: Perhaps the biggest sign of a termite problem is spotting termite swarms on your property. During their mating season, termites swarm in large groups when looking for a mate. You may see these flying termites, but it’s more likely that you’ll see the signs left behind from a termite swarm, like their discarded wings.
- Frass: Termite droppings, also called frass, tend to resemble sawdust or coffee grounds since a termite’s diet primarily consists of wood. You may find frass piled close to baseboards, windows, or doors.
- White ants: While termites and ants can look quite similar in size, their coloring varies. If you see light or even white-colored “ants” near your home, they may actually be termites.
- Mud tubes: Subterranean termites create mud tubes near the foundation of your home.
Besides identifying the signs of termites, what do termites look like? Here’s how you can identify termites, and what the most common kinds of termites in Roseville look like:
- Subterranean termites: Subterranean termites are the most common type of termite in the country and in California. These termites prefer to live underground and can have a coloring that ranges from off-white to dark brown. Living underground can also make them harder to spot since the signs are less noticeable. Reproductive subterranean termites are larger, brown or black, and are the only type of termite that has wings. While worker termites are cream-colored or white and resemble small ants, the soldier termites are similar to the workers but with darker heads and more pronounced jaws.
- Drywood termites: Drywood termites don’t need constant access to moisture to survive, and they enjoy making their colonies above-ground in dry wood. These termites are creamy white to light brown and are especially known for their preference for drywall. Their soldier termites have large brown heads with armored jaws.
- Formosan termites: Sometimes called “super termites,” Formosan termites aren’t something you want in your Roseville home. Alates, or reproductive swarmers, only grow to be a little over 1/4 of an inch in length with pale yellow to brownish bodies and translucent wings covered in small hairs. Soldiers have more rounded heads than subterranean termites and lack teeth. Formosan termites are one of the more aggressive types of termites.
Drywood termites tend to be the easiest to catch in your home only because the signs are more obvious. A subterranean or Formosan termite infestation is more likely to go unnoticed for longer periods of time if you’re not getting annual inspections.
Why And How Termites Infest And Destroy Homes
Termites don’t seem shy about causing property damage around your home, but why do they need to at all? Termites nest and eat through the wood in your home because cellulose is their primary food source.
Their ability to eat through wood is also why termite damage can appear as hollowed-out wood. Even if a ceiling or wall looks fine on the surface, termites can hollow out entire walls or areas of your home with enough time.
You can find cellulose in other materials, but it’s a huge component of wood. Couple that with the moisture of damp or rotting wood, and you’ve got a termite’s favorite meal.
Termite damage can sometimes extend to non-wooden materials, like paper or cardboard. Stacks of newspaper and storage boxes can also be susceptible to termite damage. Certain types of termites, like drywood termites, don’t need as much moisture as other kinds do, but will still eat through drywall or wooden furniture in your home.
While small termite infestations may only include a couple of thousand termites, large infestations can grow numbers into the millions. A large termite infestation is capable of eating almost a pound of wood per day.
How much money can termites cost you? Even though termites might be tiny in size, the damage they can cause in your Roseville home can be great. On average, homeowners who discover a termite infestation spend around $3,000 or more trying to repair the damage caused.
The amount of damage caused by termites can vary based on a couple of factors – the type of termite, how big the colony is, and how quickly the infestation is caught.
Are termites dangerous, and do they spread disease? The good news is that termites aren’t known to transmit diseases like some pests are, but that doesn’t mean they are harmless. Even if they aren’t linked to disease, termites can trigger allergic reactions in many people.
When they shed their skin, discard their wings, or produce droppings, some of the proteins in these things can trigger allergies or asthma attacks in a lot of people – so, some people with termite infestations may find that their asthma symptoms have worsened or that they’re frequently coughing and sneezing.
Factors That Attract Termites To Homes And How To Remove Them
What attracts termites? Although termites can invade your home out of convenience, there are also certain factors that attract them too – and make them much more likely to infest your living space, such as:
- Wooden structures: Given their diet, it shouldn’t come as much surprise that termites are drawn to wood, although preferences can vary based on species. Drywood termites tend to seek out dry woods, while dampwood and subterranean termites prefer rotting or moist wood.
- Moisture: Termites, especially subterranean and dampwood termites, need moisture to survive, so moisture and humidity can be a big attraction. This may include leaky pipes, water-damaged wood, or even humid crawl spaces.
- Soil: Subterranean termites need soil to access the wood, so wood that touches the ground can make it easier for them to infest.
- Firewood: If you’ve got firewood stacked against your home or touching the foundation, you could be attracting termites into your home.
- Dead trees: Rotting wood can draw termites in, so letting dead trees or stumps waste away near your home could do more harm than good.
- Mulch: The wood chips in the mulch can retain moisture, and become a viable food source for termites. If the mulch in your garden is too close to your home, it could also bring termites inside your house too.
- Clogged gutters: Not only can termites be attracted to the debris that’s in your clogged gutters, but since leaving clogged gutters can lead to water damage to your roof, this can provide an easy access point for termites to get inside your home.
As dangerous as termites are, is there anything you can do to prepare for them? Termites can be tricky to deter, but there are a couple of things you can do to make your home less enticing to these pests and prevent termites in your house, such as:
- Try to reduce the moisture and humidity in crawl spaces, basements, and attics by increasing ventilation and using dehumidifiers.
- Avoid storing wood and firewood against the foundation of your home.
- Regularly ensure you’re keeping gutters clear and there’s no moisture build-up near your foundation.
- Keep wooden siding at least six inches or more above the soil.
- Regularly inspect fences or other wooden structures around your property for rotted or infested wood and replace or repair as needed.
- Have a pest control professional perform annual termite inspections in your home to catch termites before they do extensive damage.
While the tips above won’t be able to completely prevent termites, being aware of what attracts them and lowering these risk factors can make all the difference.
The Benefits Of Year-Round Professional Termite Control
While there are over-the-counter treatments for termites, these solutions typically aren’t effective long-term. The most effective – and most beneficial way – to deal with a termite problem comes from working with the pros.
At Neighborly Pest Management, our termite control services begin with a thorough inspection of your home, and once we’ve uncovered the root of the infestation and the extent of the damage, we’ll come up with a customized treatment plan to meet the needs of your home.
We’re also available for annual inspections of your home too. As mentioned above, many termite infestations go unnoticed for years at a time. By this point, termites can cause permanent and costly damage to your home. By working with the pros to get an annual inspection, you’ll be able to identify and treat termites before they’ve done too much harm to your home.
Even if there is extensive damage, a technician will be able to help you recognize what’s been damaged – and what’s not.
If you suspect you’ve got termites in your Roseville home, don’t wait – call us today at Neighborly Pest Management to learn more about how we can help.