Pest Profile: Termites
What’s more dangerous to your home than a fire or storm? A small, seemingly insignificant insect: the termite. On an individual basis, they might not seem like much of a threat, but these bad boys never travel alone. Once a colony gets a taste for your home, you’re in serious trouble; by that point, your house is literally feeding an army. You can only pray that you call the exterminators in time.
Termites are small insects which live in colonies. These colonies can contain between several hundred to several million individuals at their largest. Like other colony-dwelling insects, they use their power in numbers to access food and resources they would not be able to access as individuals. Colonies are divided into specialized task forces or castes to ensure top-tier efficiency.
Why They’re Pests
Termites are pests because they eat dead plant matter, specifically wood. People have been using wood and other plant matter to build their houses since the dawn of time, and termites have followed right behind to gobble it up. Termites infest homes in swarms, colonizing and further populating their army as long as there is food to be had. When that food is your house, feeding a colony becomes quite expensive indeed.
The Dangers of Infestation
In nature, termites help to recycle dead plant matter into usable compost, but the termites gnawing on your support beams don’t know and don’t care that your house isn’t a part of the forest. They only know that they’re hungry and that they must feed their colony. Termites end up causing billions of dollars in structural damage each year, and homeowners insurance rarely covers termite damage.
The worst thing about termite damage to your home is that it is very difficult to detect. Termites often leave the outer surface of wood completely undamaged while ravaging everything inside. Infestations can go on for years without any sign, and by that point, the damage is astronomical.
Extermination and Control
Just finding proof that termites have colonized your home takes a professional’s trained eye, so you can bet your bottom dollar that you need a professional exterminator to get rid of them once they’ve settled in. The best way to avoid having a termite problem in the future is to have your home treated for termites before you ever have a termite problem. After that initial treatment, continue getting yearly inspections and re-treating your home on the schedule your professional exterminator recommends. If you’ve already got an infestation, your home will need more aggressive strategies which your professional exterminator can also provide. Depending on the range of damage the termites have done, you may also need to have parts of your home repaired or replaced once you’re termite free.