Description of Termites
There are three castes of termites. The workers are the ones that maintain the nest, bring food back to the nest, feed the larvae, and generally keep things going. Workers are creamy-white colored and are the smallest of the three castes. The second caste is soldiers. These are also creamy-white but are distinguished by enlarged mandibles that are dark and form pincers. The soldiers defend the nest and keep predators such as ants out. The last caste is the swarmers. They are about ¼ inch long. These are dark in color with a pair of identical white translucent wings. Both males and females swarm. They leave the colony in the spring or early summer and find a mate. The pair then finds a suitable patch of dirt near wood and twist off their wings. They dig a chamber and mate in it. About a week later, the queen lays fertile eggs. She continues to lay eggs as long as she lives. At first, the king feeds the larvae and protects them. As more workers are born, they take over that task. A colony matures in 3-5 years and can have 250,000 termites in it.
Termite workers are soft-bodied and need moisture or risk becoming dehydrated and dying. This is why they build mud tubes up foundation walls. You can do things to make it harder for them to reach the wood in your home.
Move firewood and lumber away from the house and stack them on racks so they do not touch the soil directly.
Put all wooden beams for decks, stairs, etc. up off the ground and on concrete blocks that are at least 6 inches tall.
Make sure the soil stays at least six inches away from wood, brick, and siding.
Trim back shrubs and trees that touch the house so that there is a gap of about 6 inches between them and the house.
Caulk around pipes, electrical wires, and cables that enter the house.
In addition, you should have a yearly inspection by a reputable pest control service to make sure termites have not gotten into your home.
Signs You Have Termites
Termites are hard to detect. Their nests are underground and they chew on your house, out of sight. In fact, they eat the cellulose with the grain and leave the hard sides to cover their destruction. There are signs, if you look carefully.
- Swarmers inside the house or just outside it
- Twisted off wings near windowsills and doors
- Frass or excrement in hollowed-out wood
- A hollow sound when you tap on wood
- A clicking sound in the walls
- Mud tubes from the soil to the wooden exterior
- If you find these signs, you need to contact a pest control professional immediately to stop further damage.
If you find termites, or suspect you have them, hire a professional pest control service. Termites are not a DIY problem. Call Mid-South Pest & Termite for a free inspection. We will send out a trained termite expert to inspect your house for termites or other pests. If we find termites or other pests, we will discuss our findings and recommend a course of action that not only eliminates the pests but keeps them from coming back. We will continue to provide protection against termites and other pests through periodic inspections and preventative treatments. Call Mid-South Pest & Termite at (901) 472-7096 today and protect your home from termites.