Can The Termites In Maryland Be Dangerous?

1/30/2022

In Maryland and elsewhere, if termites can make contact with wood, whether a home, shed, or trees on one’s property, there’s potential for them to cause irreparable damage. 

Termites get their nutrients from cellulose, an organic fiber found in wood and plants. In nature, termites mainly feed on wood and dead plants, but this may also include paper, plastic, and drywall indoors. In Maryland, which is considered high risk for termite infestations, the eastern subterranean termite is a native species. They’re responsible for causing significant damage to Maryland homes and businesses each year.

Read on for more information about where termites are found and how long their lifecycle is, whether it’s bad to live in a house with termites (it is), signs of termite activity, and a few tips on termite prevention.

Large soldier termite

Where Are Termites Found And What Is Their Lifecycle?

Termites need moisture to survive, and thus they prefer conditions that are damp, dark, and unexposed to air. The eastern subterranean termite tends to live underground, up to 20 feet below the surface. They may also be found in basements, crawlspaces, and in the voids between walls, as well as in sheds, garages, and other stand-alone structures that are separate from a home or business.

Termites that are workers, or those responsible for finding food, typically live for one to two years. The queen of a termite colony, however, can live for ten years or more. Although there may be several supplementary queens, they’ll only take over reproductive responsibilities when the main queen dies.

Is It Bad To Live With Termites?

Termites aren’t known to spread diseases to humans, but their presence alone can trigger allergic reactions caused by their shed skin, droppings, and dust. Symptoms include sneezing and itchy, watery eyes, asthma attacks, and itchy skin.

However, in addition to posing a problem for human health, termites also endanger the welfare of those who frequent a business or live in a home infested with termites. If termites remain undetected for a long enough period, they can significantly eat away at the structural components of a home or business, compromising its integrity. In worst-case scenarios, your home can become condemned, forcing you to leave entirely. 

What Are Signs Of Termite Activity?

Because termites can go undetected for so long, it can be helpful, for the sake of your home, business, and peace of mind, to be aware of the most “obvious” signs to look for:

  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped may indicate that termites have eaten the wood from the inside out; this includes walls, flooring, structural beams, and furniture.
  • Mud tubes produced by eastern subterranean termites may be found in places where the ground meets a home or structure, such as in crawlspaces.
  • Blisters in wood flooring may indicate that termites have been feeding in or below the floors and resemble water damage. 

What Are Some Tips On Termite Prevention?

To prevent a termite infestation from occurring in your home, consider the following three tips:

  • Make it a point to reduce or eliminate moisture in the home by doing needed repairs, such as leaky faucets and faulty plumbing, which can help to dissuade termites from concentrating in and around your home. 
  • Regularly inspect your home's foundation and any areas where the ground meets the house, such as in crawlspaces, for signs of mud tubes, which indicate that termites are working to reach the wood above. As an additional measure, maintain a space of 18 inches between the soil and any wooden structures.
  • Keep firewood stored at least 20 feet away from the home at all times.

Get Rid Of Termites For Good With Professional Help

If you spot signs of termites or suspect that you may have termites in your home or business, the best and most effective point of action is to contact the professionals immediately. The local professionals at Capitol Pest provide comprehensive services for homes and businesses and have been doing so since 1936. For help and advice on termites and other pests, call 301-433-7181 today.

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