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ENTFACT-604: Termite Control: Answers for Homeowners    Download PDF  by Michael F. Potter, Extension EntomologistUniversity of Kentucky College of Agriculture The University of Kentuckys Entomology Department receives many calls regarding 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, so you might also want to consult your regional cooperative extension service about specific recommendations to the 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 at any time, they are especially relevant when buying or selling a house since a termite inspection/infestation report is normally a condition of sale. Besides the monetary effect, thousands of winged termites emerging inside one's house are an emotionally trying experience not to mention the thought of termites silently feasting on one's largest investment.Fig.



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In nature, termites swarm to distribute and begin new colonies. Triggered by warmer temperatures and rainfall, the winged termites emerge in the colony and fly into the atmosphere. The swarmers then fall to the ground, shed their wings, pair off with a partner, and attempt to begin new colonies in the soil.



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Removal can be achieved with a broom or vacuum.Fig. 2: Winged termites emerging indoors are a telltale sign of infestation.Q: How can I know if my house 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 dimensions. Conversely, ants have elbowed antennae, constricted waists, and forewings which are longer than the reference hind wings.Fig. 3: Termite swarmers are often confused with winged ants.Swarms of termites emerging from tree stumps, woodpiles, etc. outside in the lawn are not necessarily cause for concern, and do not necessarily mean the house is infested.

Termites construct the tubes for shelter as they travel between their underground colonies and also the structure. To help determine if an infestation is active, the tubes may be broken open and checked for the presence of little, 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 tube while foraging elsewhere in the structure.Fig.



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5: Termite colonies contain many employees that consume wood and smaller numbers of soldiers (center) with limbs modified for defense.  Termite-damaged timber is hollowed out along the grain, with pieces of dried sand or dirt lining the feeding galleries. Wood damaged by moisture or other types of insects (e.g., carpenter ants) will look at this now not have this appearance.

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

Confirmation of termites often necessitates the keen eye of a professional -- nonetheless, even the most experienced inspector can overlook signs that are hidden.Fig. 7: Termites are mysterious. This damage was discovered when a vacuum head broke through a baseboard.  Q: Can I treat 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 more most likely to enter. Many of these potential points of entry are hidden and difficult to get. Termite control also utilizes specialized equipment such as strong masonry drills, large-capacity spray tanks, and long useful content metal rods for injecting soil.



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A possible exception could be if a mailbox post or other small wooden object not attached to the home was infested. "Do-it-yourself" products, sold to homeowners at retail stores or purchased on the internet, will seldom eradicate an existing termite problem.Q: How do I choose a termite company Why is there such variance in priceA: These are complicated questions.

Membership in their state pest control association and/or National Pest Management Association indicate the company is an established company using technical and training information needed to perform the work correctly. Just like any support, references are extremely helpful. Consider calling at least a few companies. Requesting inspections and estimates from more than one will help confirm the existence of a termite infestation and make it possible for you to compare services.Companies offer you different types of treatment procedures and warranties.

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