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Frequently Asked Questions About Termites

1. What are termites?
Termites are wood-destroying insects. Their presence dates back to the dinosaurs. While they play an important role in nature, experts estimate they cause $5 billion of property damage each year.

2. Are there different kinds of termites?
Yes, the three major kinds of termites in the United States are dampwood, drywood and subterranean. Dampwood termites commonly live in heavily forested areas of the country as they prefer wet wood; while, drywood termites, much more rare in the United States, prefer extremely dry wood. Subterranean termites require moist environments, live mainly in the soil and are the most destructive species.

3. How do you recognize termites?
Depending on your geographical location, termite swarms should be visible in the early spring. Termite swarms can be confused with flying ants. Telltale signs of termite infestation include soft wood in the home, mud tubes in the interior or exterior of your home (often near the foundation), and darkening or blistering of wood structures.

4. What is the biology of a termite?
Termites are social insects that live in colonies. Each termite has a specific role in the colony. The queen lays the eggs - possibly several thousand each day in some kinds of termites. Workers termites are the only ones that cause damage to wood – their job is to gather food and enlarge the colony. Soldiers have huge heads and long jaws they use to protect the colony from enemies. The termites that you may see are the winged reproductives that swarm in early spring.

5. How much damage do termites cause?
The truth is, there are two kinds of homes: those that have had termites and those that will get them. Termites work 24 hours/7 days a week at damaging the wood in and around a structure. And, while they cause $5 billion in damage each year, there is no reason to think that termites cannot be controlled.

6. When does a homeowner see termites?
Termites swarm in the early spring, depending on their geographical location.

7. What can a homeowner do to prevent termites?
The most important thing is to remove the conducive conditions termites need to survive. Termites love moisture; avoid moisture accumulation around the foundation of your home. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents. Be sure to remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., left in place after the building was constructed. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building. Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil. An 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal. It doesn’t hurt to routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of termite damage.

8. Does homeowner's insurance cover termite damage?
Homeowner’s insurance does not cover termite damage.

9. How are termites controlled?
A pest control professional will come in and treat the problem so that you can live comfortably in your home.

10. What is the most effective type of termite treatment?
The most effective type of treatment depends upon the severity of the infestation, the species of termite, and the location and construction of the home or building. A trained and licensed pest control operator can assess each infestation separately and recommend a rigorous treatment plan that will effectively control the termite population.

11. How difficult are termites to treat?
Termites are nearly impossible for homeowners to treat on their own. On the other hand, pest control professionals have the training, expertise and technology to eliminate termite infestations.

12. How much does a termite treatment cost?
The amount varies considerably, depending on where you live, the construction of your home, and the severity of the infestation.

13. Are these products dangerous to kids and pets?
All professional pest control products have been registered for use by the EPA. When they are applied according to label instructions by technicians who have been trained and licensed to use them, they pose virtually no risk.

14. What is the most effective type of termite treatment?
A trained and licensed pest control operator is the best person to make a recommendation for each particular property.

15. Why should someone hire a professional instead of attempting to control their pest problems by themselves?
Just as you wouldn’t prescribe medicine for yourself or drill your own cavities – you shouldn’t attempt to control termites – or other pests -- on your own. The products and the expertise offered by professional pest control far surpasses what a homeowner could do on their own. Leave it up to the experts for peace of mind. Why risk it?

16. What questions should homeowners ask during a professional termite inspection/treatment?
What type of treatment is recommended? How long will the treatment take? How much will it cost? How long will it take to get rid of the termites?

17. How long does a termite treatment typically take?
Termite treatments typically will take no more than a day.

18. How long until the termites are gone?
That depends on the location, extent of damage, and the products used to treat the infestation. After a thorough inspection, we should be able to tell you what we will use to get rid of the termites and how long it will take.