Fast Termite Facts: How Much Damage Can Termites Do Over Time?
Insects have been around for hundreds of millions of years. In addition, people outnumber 200 million to one!
The good news is that most of these creepy crawly animals are harmless. That being said, there are some species that are considered pests.
Take carpenter ants, for example, which can easily cause structural damage to your home. The same goes for termites. If anything, they’re one of the most destructive species in the world!
Would you like to learn more about these wood-eating creatures? Then you are on the right page. We’re going to go over some termite facts below. Read on to find out more!
What are termites?
Termites are small, winged insects that feed on rotting plant material such as tree roots, leaves, and wood chips (learn more here). They are whitish in color and are sometimes referred to as “white ants”.
Although it depends on the exact type, most live to be around a year or two. An exception, however, are royal intermits, which can survive for several decades under ideal conditions.
Like most insects, they live in colonies, some of which can be made up of millions of individuals. While they play an important role in the ecosystem by facilitating decomposition, they can also cause significant structural damage to buildings.
How do you recognize a termite infestation?
Termite infestation can wreak thousands of dollars in damage – without you even realizing it! Here are a few signs you might be dealing with a termite problem.
In spring, termites leave their nests to mate and start a new colony. Once they have built a new nest, they will lose their wings.
You may notice them around doors, window sills, or other surfaces. If anything, it’s one of the first signs you are dealing with a termite infestation.
Hollowed out wood
Most termites eat wood inside out. As a result, you are left with hollow wood.
But you can’t always tell that just by looking. After all, from the outside it can seem perfectly normal. To find out if it is actually hollow or not, you would actually have to tap on it.
If you hear a crumbly paper sound, there is a high possibility that it is termites. If so, you should hire a pest control company ASAP.
Termites can be small, but they can be quite noisy. For one thing, soldiers tend to hit their hands against the wall when they sense danger – this leads to a noticeable click.
Not only that, they are loud eaters too. Depending on the size of the colony, you may be able to hear them chewing on the wall.
Underground termites build mud tubes that connect their colonies to their food source. These “highways” made up of earth, wood and other debris also enable them to store the moisture that is essential for their survival.
Generally they can be found along concrete walls, skirting boards, or cracks in flooring. Because of this, they can be difficult to spot.
Keep termites out of your home
The good news is there are steps you can take to prevent them from infecting your home. Here’s what you need to know.
Store your firewood properly
Be sure to store your firewood carefully if you have a fireplace; You don’t want them to be right next to the house. It’s also a good idea to raise them a few inches off the floor.
That way, termites are less likely to infest the wood and even if they do, they will be a safe distance from the house.
Termites thrive in wet, humid environments. For this reason, you should pay attention to the humidity in your home.
Use a dehumidifier if necessary. In general, the more airflow you have, the better – it will keep wood from rotting, which tends to attract these pests.
Trim overgrown bushes and trees
Trim the bushes around your house regularly. You don’t want them to overgrow as this can provide an easy way for termites to get into your home.
The same goes for trees. You don’t want to have branches or twigs on your roof. Not only can they provide shelter for pests, but they can also build up moisture.
Termite Facts: How Much Damage Can They Do?
Termites have special enzymes and bacteria in their intestines that enable them to digest plant matter. However, because they eat slowly, the damage can go unnoticed for many years.
Depending on the size of the colony, it can take between 3 and 8 years for termite damage to become apparent.
Aside from holes, you may also notice bubbles in the trim. In some cases, the damage can also resemble water damage (e.g., bubbly paint, dented wood).
After all, it can severely compromise the structural integrity of your home. For example, floors or ceilings can collapse. In fact, these critters are responsible for billions in structural damage every year.
Hopefully these termite facts have given you a better idea of how destructive they can be. If anything, you always want to treat an infestation ASAP – you don’t want to wait for your wall to collapse before calling in a professional!
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