How to Identify a Termite

Termites are among the most destructive household pests. An infestation can cause a lot of damage to wood and surrounding areas and still remain undetected for years without persistent efforts by homeowners. Experts believe that a colony of 50,000 termites can eat through a 12-inch piece of 2 X 4 board in less than 10 weeks. With typical subterranean termite colonies growing as large as 5,000,000 termites, termites possess an awesome destructive power.

How to Detect Termite Infestation

Initially, a film of gritty dust on wood surfaces indicates possible termite activity. Mud tubes created by termites as passages into targeted areas are obvious signs of an infestation. Tap on the wood or poke into the boards to check for hollowness. Termite-damaged wood will show a honeycomb pattern.

If a swarm is present, capture a couple of bugs in a covered jar to determine if the bugs are termites or flying ants. Termites have straight, beaded antenna, equal sized front and hind wings and an unsegmented waist.

1. Try and catch the pest in question.

2. Termites have a softer body, and no exoskeleton. Carpenter Ants or other ants will look more similar to a wasp.

3. There are three different types of termites. There are winged termites, worker termites and soldier termites.

4. Termites have a straight antennae. Ants' will be bent.

5. Termites will usually be no longer than 3/8 of an inch.

6. Termites have six legs.

7. Termites will have 4 equally sized wings, that are about twice the size of its body. Winged ants have different sized wings.

8. If the termite has lost its wings, you can see see where they would have been attached.

9. The wings of Subterranean termites will have 2 major veins, and several cross veins. Drywood termites have 3 veins going across.

How to Make Your Home Termite-Free

When it comes to termites, prevention is easier than extermination. Avoid water intrusion and keep your home free of dampness. Termites require moisture to thrive.

Do not feed the termites. Woodpiles should be kept away from the house. Firewood, foliage and dead tree trunks should not be stored near the home. Termites will feed on anything with cellulose including wood, cardboard, carpeting material, canvas, paper covering on sheetrock. Untreated mulch made of recycled wood can also be an invitation to termites when used on ornamental bedding close to the house.

Caulk over small openings that may allow termites into your home. Small gaps around plumbing or electric wires can be sealed off easily along with any cracks in the structure.

Homeowners who suspect an infestation should consult a professional exterminator to identify problem areas. Capitol Pest Control can help protect your home from devastating damage caused by termites.

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