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ENTFACT-604: Termite Control: Answers for Homeowners    Download PDF  from Michael F. Potter, Extension EntomologistUniversity of Kentucky College of Agriculture The University of Kentuckys Entomology Department receives many calls about termites. Subterranean (soil-dwelling) termites are severe pests of buildings and typically warrant attention by a professional. Termite control can be confusing, however, and homeowners often have many questions.

Nonetheless, termites and treatments sometimes vary with locale, which means you may also want to consult your local cooperative extension service about specific recommendations to your area.Q: Why worry about termitesA: Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year in the U.S.. They mostly feed on timber, but also damage newspaper, books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners and filtration systems.

While termites can infest buildings in any moment, they are especially relevant when buying or selling a home since a termite inspection/infestation report is normally a condition of sale. Aside from the monetary effect, thousands of winged termites emerging inside one's house are an emotionally trying experience not to mention that the thought of termites silently feasting on one's largest investment.Fig.



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In nature, termites swarm to disperse and start new colonies. Triggered by warmer temperatures and rainfall, the winged termites emerge from the colony and fly into the atmosphere. The swarmers then fall to the ground, shed their wings, match with a partner, and try to begin new colonies in the dirt.



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Removal can be accomplished using a broom or vacuum.Fig. 2: Winged termites emerging indoors are a telltale sign of infestation.Q: How will I know if my home is infestedA: Discovering winged termites indoors almost always indicates an infestation warranting treatment. Since the swarmers are attracted to light, they often are seen around windows and doors.

Termites have straight antennae, a uniformly thickened waist, and wings of equal size. Conversely, ants have elbowed antennae, constricted waists, and forewings that are longer than the hind wings.Fig. 3: Termite swarmers are often confused with winged ants.Swarms of termites emerging from tree stumps, woodpiles, etc. out in the yard are not necessarily cause for concern, and do not automatically mean the house is infested.

Termites construct the tubes for shelter as they travel between their underground colonies and the structure. To help determine if an infestation is busy, the tubes may be broken open and assessed for the presence of link small, creamy-white worker termites. If a tube happens to be vacant, it does not necessarily mean that the infestation is inactive; termites often abandon sections of tubing while foraging elsewhere in the structure.Fig.



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5: Termite colonies contain many workers that consume wood and smaller numbers of soldiers (center) with limbs modified for defense.  Wood is hollowed out along the grain, with bits of mud or soil lining the feeding galleries. Wood damaged by moisture try this site or other types of insects (e.g., carpenter ants) will not have this appearance.

Rippled or sunken traces behind wall coverings can also be indicative of termites tunneling underneath.Fig. 6: Termite-damaged wood has dirt lining the feeding galleries.Oftentimes there'll be no obvious indication of infestation. Termites are cryptic monsters and infestations can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions.

Confirmation of termites often requires the keen eye of a professional -- nonetheless, even the most experienced inspector can overlook signs which are hidden.Fig. 7: Termites are mysterious. This damage was detected when a vacuum head broke through a baseboard.  Q: Can I handle the home myselfA: Its best not to for home infestations.



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A knowledge of building construction is needed to identify crucial areas where termites are most likely to enter. Many of these potential points of entry are hidden and difficult to access. Termite control also uses specialized equipment such as powerful masonry drills, large-capacity spray tanks, and long metal rods for injecting soil.



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A possible exception could be if a mailbox or other small wooden object not connected to the home was infested. "Do-it-yourself" goods, offered to homeowners in retail stores or bought on the internet, will seldom eradicate an existing termite problem.Q: How do I select a termite company Why is there such variance in priceA: These are complex questions.

Membership in their nation pest control association and/or National Pest Management Association suggest the company is an established company using technical and training information needed to do the work correctly. As with any service, references are very beneficial. Consider calling a few companies. Requesting inspections and quotes from more than one can help verify the existence of a termite infestation and allow you to compare services.Companies offer different forms of treatment methods and warranties.

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