The most destructive type of termite in the United States is the subterranean termite. One reason why this type of termite is so destructive is that subterranean termite workers are sneaky. They prefer to stay in their tunnels. You won't find them crawling around on the ground in your yard and you won't find them crawling on the walls of your home. This makes it difficult to detect them. But professionals have a way of uncovering signs of termite activity. Here's how we do it.
As we mentioned, subterranean termite workers stay in their tunnels. They don't crawl up your foundation walls to eat the wood of your home. They create shelter tubes to protect themselves. These tubes are basically above-ground tunnels made of soil and saliva. A professional will look for these tubes in places that worker termites are most likely to create them.
In humid spaces between shrubs and foundation walls.
Underneath decks, patios, porches, and stairs.
Inside crawl spaces and within the voids of concrete piers.
On basement walls and interior walls in humid spaces.
Shelter tubes can look like a little wiggly line of mud the width of a pencil, or they can split into several wiggly lines that look like chain lighting or a river splitting. If you imagine them looking like a river, it will start from the ground and "flow" upwards, splitting as it goes. Keep in mind that you could find many shelter tubes packed together. Some service professionals in the U.S. have found groups of shelter tubes as wide as four feet!
Sometimes shelter tubes aren't on surfaces. They can be hidden inside cracks, crevices, and recesses. If you go looking for shelter tubes and see mud in between beams or studs, you could have an infestation. Worker termites also use mud to protect tunnels that get exposed. If a beam or stud looks muddy or has tiny mud spots, these could be evidence of termite activity.
Damage To Wood
Most of the damage subterranean termites do is on the inside of wood. But wood-to-soil contact and damp conditions can make it possible to see visible damage. A professional may inspect fence posts or deck supports that go into the ground. At the base of these, there may be trenches that are gritty to the touch.
It is sometimes possible to tell if a timber is being eaten by termites. A professional might tap on wooden beams or studs and listen to see if they sound hollow. It is also possible to find splintered wood or other visible damage to support beams in a crawl space or cellar.
When a nest matures, it begins to produce winged termites called alates. These termites leave the nest, mate with each other, and create new nests if they don't die first. During the mating process, they shed their wings. These wings could appear on the ground or on surfaces around your home, but the wind can blow them away. A professional knows to look in spider webs on your property. These are like nature's little sticky traps. If a swarm has come and gone, the evidence might be tiny white wings stuck to spiderwebs underneath structures or in your landscaping.
While termite workers stay hidden inside the ground or inside wood, they can be found if you know where to look for them. Professionals may:
Inspect stumps, logs, dead bushes and trees, or some other decaying wood source.
Flip boards and other objects over and look between these objects and the soil.
Move mulch around and inspect for workers or swarmers underneath the surface.
Dig away at the soil where wood enters the ground.
Inspect woodpiles, lumber, palettes and other objects made of wood.
If you go looking for termite workers, it is important to know what they look like. Some residents describe them to us as white ants. This is a pretty good description. Just keep in mind that termite workers don't have a pinch between the thorax and abdomen, like an ant does. In fact, you might have a hard time telling where the thorax ends and the abdomen begins.
The Best Way To Detect Subterranean Termites In Hendersonville
At All-American Pest Control, we deploy The Sentricon® System with Always Active™ to stop termites. This puts a network of discrete bait stations around your home that can easily be checked for termite activity. When termites take the bait, they share it with other termites and this works to eliminate the colony. If you want active termite control 24/7, Sentricon® with Always Active™ is the way to go. Reach out to us today to get your termite protection in place for your Hendersonville home or business.
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