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Termite Inspections

Do you think you see signs of termite activity or termite damage?

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Sometimes it can be completely obvious to see signs of termite activity, especially in the spring, when they start swarming.  Or, it can be a challenge to identify areas of damage located throughout your property.  

Let our experienced termite professionals evaluate your property, free of charge.  After a thorough evaluation, we'll share any findings, as well as review solutions that can fit your needs.  This is a great way to be on top of any termite activity before it grows and gets very costly to correct.  While we are on site, we will let you know if there is anything on your property that stands out that you can alter to help prevent termites. 

We offer professional termite and wood-destroying-insect inspections for "Prior-to-Sale" properties and always work around your schedule.  The fee is $118, plus tax, for the professional inspection as well as required documentation your lender will need.

We offer Sentricon Always Active Bait and Termidor Liquid

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The type of termites in Ohio are called subterranean termites since they live deep in the ground and are hardly seen unless it’s termite season.  Termite season is in the spring, when the warm weather start to hit, along with typical rainfall we experience during this time.  This is when the reproductive termites leave the colony to go establish a new colony.

Termite Social Structure

Like bees, ants and wasps, termites are eusocial insects who live in elaborately organized colonies, led by a single or few queens. In these colonies, labor is divided, and each class of termite has their own job. The worker termites cooperate in nurturing the young. Upon reaching maturity, this new generation of termites helps support their elders. The soldiers protect the colony. The swarmers (commonly referred to as alates or reproductives) are responsible for reproducing. And the termite queen is responsible for laying eggs.

Sometimes swarmers emerge from inside your home. Luckily, these termites only job is to reproduce and establish new termite colonies. They are incapable of eating wood, seldom survive and can be either swept up or removed with a vacuum cleaner. However, their presence is a strong indication that you may have an existing termite problem.

Termites devour the wood around homes and businesses. Termites can work away for a long time without being noticed. The signs of termite damage include soft wood, doors and windows which do not close properly, mud tubes on the walls and other signatures. Although the termite can cause tremendous damage that end up costing homeowners thousands of dollars for repairs, there are certain factors which help create the right environment for a termite infestation.

Many factors, such as weather, can cause termite infestations to be more rampant than usual. Termites invade homes during dry seasons, but they also love rainfall. If you’re experiencing a rainy season, it’s important to know the signs of termites so you can spot an infestation sooner rather than later.

Subterranean Termites

Ohio has Subterranean termite.  The swarmers have a smaller body and head, with thin wings. They are darker in color than drywood termites, and their wings are a pale-to-clear color. The swarmers are going to be out during the day and they live in mud tubes that are created by the soldiers. Because of this, they will die when they come out and swarm, but it’s still a good idea to try and keep them isolated.

The subterranean soldiers have a wider head and longer body. Another interesting thing is how their feeding patterns differ. These soldiers are a bit more picky with their wood. They are often found near the foundation of the home because they live in mud tubes. When they eat, you can often see the mud tubes. However, they eat with the grain of the wood. They like the softwood in between the grains. This differs a lot from the drywood termites.

Termites Love the Rain

Termites depend on rainfall to establish new colonies.  Rain helps make the environment more wet, which in turn makes termite survival more likely since there is plenty of water available.

After a soaking spring or fall rain, thousands of winged reproductives may swarm from the colony seeking to mate and start new colonies. However, the rain is not the trigger for swarming so much as warm temperatures, humidity and the age of the colony itself.

These termites that go out in search of places to establish new colonies are called swarmers. These winged termites need the moisture and weather conditions to be just right in order to maximize their chances of success. Consistent rain creates a moisture level in the ground that is necessary for termites to get started on a new colony. Water is essential to the survival of these types of termites and they will actively seek it out. In addition to needing water the swarmers also need warm temperatures to survive. They cannot successfully establish a new colony when the weather is too cold so that is why the warm weather of spring is ideal for termites. The combination of rainy and warm weather creates the perfect environment for swarmers to emerge from their old colonies and go off in search of locations for new colonies.

Rainfall can dampen the wood around your house

Damp wood around your house can attract termites and help them survive as they establish a new colony. It is not uncommon to see piles of fire wood stacked near a house or wood mulch in a flower bed. But, both of these things can attract termites if they are allowed to get and stay wet. You have to be extra diligent to keep wet wood away from your house when the weather is warm and ideal for swarmers. The best way to handle this issue is to always keep any type of wood stored away from the house. You can choose an alternative type of mulch for your flower beds that will not attract these destructive pests to your home.

What you can do to prevent termites during the rainy season?

Rainfall and the aftermath of it are often what attract termites. If you’ve experienced flooding, leaky pipes or have standing water on your property, this can attract termites and other pests into your home.

Some ways you can prevent water damage and pest-harboring sites after a major rainfall are:

  • Seal leaks and cracks in roofs, siding, doors, windows and home foundations
  • Investigate areas of flooding and clean it up immediately
  • Monitor leaking faucets, dripping or sweating pipes
  • Test your sump pump once a year
  • Clean your gutters regularly

Do swarming termites mean infestation?

So, you’ve experienced a termite swarm. Now what? We know that’s the last thing people want to think about, but we’re here to tell you it will be okay. Usually, swarming termites do mean that there is a termite infestation in the home. This is because a termite swarm only occurs when a colony becomes large enough to reproduce and spread their wings (no pun intended). 

It can be hard to know whether or not you have termites, so don’t beat yourself up. Chances are that the infestation isn’t so out of control that it can’t be stopped. It’s not like termites stroll up to your house, stay there for a few months, and the house falls to the ground. Termites are small just like ants. And while they can cause irreparable damage that no one wants to deal with, thankfully, termites can be eliminated before that happens. But, if you notice a termite swarm in your home, it’s time to get help immediately.

How to get rid of swarmer termites

We know that you’re wondering how to get rid of swarmer termites. We don’t blame you. As soon as you know that there are termites in the walls, you get a little itchy. Bugs crawling around in your house? Yuck! But, we’re here to stop those itchy sensations we all get whenever we think about bugs. If you’re ready to get rid of termites for good, here are the ten steps to do so:

1. Don’t panic

We get it—bugs are gross. That’s why we’re in the business of making sure that you don’t have to deal with them any longer. When people first see a termite in their home, the initial thought is sheer panic. We’ve all seen those cartoons where little termites come in and in five seconds, the house is a sitting pile of sawdust. 

Thankfully, as it turns out, that’s not true! Termites love wood, but they aren’t going to gnaw on the beams of your home and shave them down to nothing in a few minutes. Chances are, the termites you see have been there for a little while. And, chances are, they haven’t caused irreparable damage. There’s no reason to panic yet! Get help, but don’t panic yet.

2. Don’t seal the exit holes

If you’re in the middle of witnessing a termite swarm, people immediately think that the first thing they should do is seal up those exit holes. Surely, keeping the bugs in the walls will help, right? Well, wrong. Worker termites will create more holes, and since they will die once they hit the air within an hour or so, there’s no reason to seal the exit holes.

Tape, glue, or anything else you think of to seal the exit holes will only cause more damage in the long run. Again, they have to find soil to survive, so if these swarmers are in your home, they are going to die quickly anyway. As tempting as it is, don’t seal the holes!

3. Insect spray from the store won’t help

As humans, we’re pretty proactive. We see a bug and think that a can of insect spray is the answer we’ve been looking for. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to help. First of all, you’re just going to waste the insect spray that you purchase. These termites are going to die very quickly, so there’s no reason to waste your hard-earned money on insect spray for termites!

If you think that going after those exit holes with the can of insecticide is a good idea, we hate to burst your bubble, but that’s not going to help either. That’s because termites are strong. Imagine throwing a stick at Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s not going to do much. And if we’re being honest, he’ll probably just get annoyed. That’s exactly what termites are like. These little bugs are extremely resilient. To actually kill them, you need a very in-depth, professional treatment for them to die off. Otherwise, they’ll be back.

4. Try to keep them in one area

Yes, we’ve told you a lot about what you shouldn’t do, so let’s move on to what you should do. When you see termites swarming, it’s time to try and keep them in one area. What you can do with the exit holes is tape a plastic bag over them so that the termite swarmers fly into the plastic bag. Not only will this contain them, but it can help you capture them to show to a pest control company.

5. Vacuum up the bugs

Once the swarm is over and there are bugs in whatever room it happened, you should get your vacuum. The vacuum will make it easy to suck them up, both dead or alive, and empty them out into a trash bag. When you do this, make sure to seal up the trash bag so that they are sure to die. You don’t want them alive when they reach the outdoors!

6. Make sure to capture a few of the bugs

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is capture a few of the bugs to show a pest control company. It’s not like you have to put them in a glass jar and show them off to everyone who comes over, but it is smart to keep a few of the dead ones in a bag to show the licensed technician. 

This is because there are two different types of termites. And while you may be able to narrow it down based on when the swarm happens, it’s also important for the pest control company to be completely certain about the kind of termites they are dealing with. Each termite will need a different sort of treatment, so this should be your main priority when witnessing a swarm!

7. Call a reputable pest-control company

The most important thing you can do after witnessing a swarm is call a pest control company. You need the termites out of your house and that’s only possible with the help of a licensed technician.

8. Seal up your house

Once you call the pest control company and get rid of the termites you had, it’s time to seal up your home. This is when you’ll want to take care of those exit holes. You should also seal up any gaps in the windows, doors, and foundation of the home. Anytime there is a gap, you leave your home vulnerable to termites and other harmful pests.

9. Get rid of mulch

Another important thing to do is get rid of mulch.  Having mulch near the foundation of your home can be extremely harmful. This is practically termite bait. So when it’s within a few feet of your home, you’re practically inviting them in!

10. Keep moisture out

The last thing you’ll want to do is keep the moisture out of your home. When there is a leaky roof, leaky pipes, or a lot of rainfall, termites are ready to do some damage. While we know you can’t control the weather, you can control the leaks around your house. Make sure that you’re doing home inspections yourself every month. Sometimes, there’s a leak that you don’t even know about! 

What do termites look like?

First of all, you need to know how to properly identify what a termite looks like.  By the time you can see it, it will be above ground, and often can be confused for a swarming ant.  Think of a cigar, long and  narrow.  Termites wings are each long and narrow, where as swarming ants have 2 different wing lengths and a narrow abdomen.  Check out below for a document providing clear differences of a termite and an ant.

Termites become active in the springtime, when it's warm, usually April and May.  They want to leave their colony to go establish a new colony.  The tend to all show themselves at once, coming out of a small hole in your home, and flying, as if swarming the place.  Once you see this sign, you know 100% that a termite colony has made your home their home.

Termite "Cheat Sheet"

Print off this Termite Cheat Sheet, walk around your property and see if any of the termite signs of activity are noticed.  Sometime, people can confuse termite damage with carpenter ant damage, as they are both wood destroying insects, meaning, they eat your properties structure.

Damage is frequently noticed around door frame, window frame, floor boards, where the wood has the chance to be softer due to being exposed to natural elements, like water.  

Grab a flashlight, go down to your basement, in the unfinished part/crawl space, and do some investigating.  If you have a concrete wall, a clear piece of evidence is a 'mud tube' that goes up, kinda like a leaking water streak, but it's a sandy texture.  You may also see these mud tubes above your head, along the floorboards.  Also be on the look out for damaged wood, and look at it closely.  It could be an old nail hole gone wrong or it could be damaged wood flaking off.

We're just a call away to have one of our professional inspectors come out and confirm you indeed have activity, or provide peace of mind that you don't.

Buying a Property?

We are fully licensed to offer a "WDI", Wood Destroying Insect" Inspection during your buying process.  We guarantee a professional thorough inspection, looking for any type of evidence of previous or existing activity.  As always, we provide this service at the convenient of you or your agent.  Give us a call for more details.  There is a fee associated with this, $118, as required paperwork supports this licensed inspection.

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