If you own a home in McAllen, one of the greatest threats to your property could be hiding beneath the ground. They're called subterranean termites. Termites are a common problem in Texas and they can damage your home over time if you don't take steps to stop them. But what is the best way to protect your equity from this hidden threat? We'll take a look at that today. We'll look at what termites are and how they behave when they enter your yard. We'll dig into the warning signs of termite damage so you can detect these sneaky pests early, and we'll equip you with ways to stop termites even if you don't see them. Stick with us to the end for a quick discussion about professional termite pest control in McAllen.
What Are Termites?
If you're not aware, termites are destructive, wood-damaging insects. They prefer non-living wood and can find a meal in McAllen homes. It is best to learn all you can about these insects so that you're able to detect and deter them. They can do quite a bit of damage if they are not caught early.
What do termites in McAllen look like? A worker termite is about ⅛ of an inch long. It is a pale color and looks like a fat ant. You're not likely to see a worker termite as worker termites avoid all light, even light cast by the moon. They also dehydrate when they are exposed to the air. They want to stay hidden in the damp darkness of your yard, which is where you'll have to look for them.
What do termites look like with wings? A winged termite, also referred to as a swarmer, is much larger than a worker. It is about ⅜ of an inch long. It is black or dark orange, depending on the species. The wings are long and white with rounded tips when stacked on top of each other. If spread, they look like an elongated heart shape. Winged termites are called swarmers because they have a swarming behavior. If they're gathered in a large group, their white wings make detection easy.
Termite identification is critical as you may see these insects on your property. They're small, so keep a close watch. You might only see one little swarmer crawling on your walkway, or a handful of workers when you pick up a dead branch in your yard.
Along with knowing what termites look like, it is helpful to know what they eat and how they behave because knowing their food preferences and behavior patterns can help you locate active termites.
What do termites eat? Termite workers are the only termites in a colony that consume food and damage your property. They primarily feed on natural, decaying wood sources, such as stumps, dying trees, branches, and logs. Check these sources by cutting into the wood or examining the soil around or beneath. They also eat wooden structures, such as fences, decks, and sheds. Inspect these for active termites or warning signs. Along with these food options, consider other food options that are not commonly associated with termites, such as stacks of cardboard, a pile of clothing, books, magazines, and other items often found in junk piles.
What do termites sound like? Termites eat the wood of your home, but don't expect to hear them. They scrape the wood rather than chomp on it. But you may hear termites for another reason. Sometimes they make a clicking or rustling noise. The sound is created by soldier termites banging their heads on the tunnel walls inside wood timbers.
What are termite mud tubes? Subterranean termites create above-ground tunnels made of saliva and soil. These intricate structures are often found on foundations and other hard surfaces. Termites use these tubes to come up from the ground and enter your home. You're most likely to find them in locations where the light from the sun and moon are shielded.
What do termite mud tubes look like? A mud tube is typically the width of a pencil. It starts near the ground as a wiggly line and may branch as it goes up. If several tubes are in one place, they can create a pillar that is much larger than a pencil. Some structures found by technicians have measured more than four feet wide!
What is termite frass? Drywood termites create this material. It is essentially termite droppings, but you may mistake the material for sawdust. The hard pellets produced by drywood termites are the same color as the wood they're eating. Drywood termites don't make mud tubes, so you'll need to look for frass and wood damage to detect them.
Do all termites eat wood? No. We have one kind of termite in our area that doesn't want to eat the wood of your home, but they can do a number on your lawn. They're called agricultural termites. You can distinguish these from other termites by looking for their signature brown heads. Like subterranean termites, these termites create mud tubes, but they don't create them on the foundation of your home. They'll make mud tubes over areas of your lawn to protect themselves from the hot sun.
Now that you are equipped to detect some of the warning signs of a termite infestation, let's take the time to drill into one warning sign that is not commonly understood.
Know The Warning Signs Of Termite Damage
When termites damage your home, it is rarely obvious. These insects prefer to stay in darkness. But, if you're fortunate to see termite damage, it is essential to recognize and interpret the damage. It is also critical to understand how much damage termites may do over time.
- Subterranean termites rarely breach tunnel walls, but when they do, they patch the holes with mud. If you see mud on a timber, tap on it to see if the wood sounds hollow. You may have termites inside.
- Drywood termites create kickout holes. These holes will look like someone took a metal tool, shaped like a pencil, and stabbed the wood. If you find kickout holes, you may see frass below. They push their droppings out of these holes.
- Subterranean and drywood termites create tunnels on top of each other. If the tunnels are exposed, they'll look a bit like corrugated cardboard from a distance. Up close, you'll see these trenches for what they are: stacked tunnels.
- Drywood termites often damage the frames around windows and doors. Check these routinely for changes.
- Most of the damage termites do is on the inside of wood timbers. You won't see the damage. But you may notice bubbling paint, honeycomb dents in baseboards, or sagging.
We don't recommend waiting for termite damage to appear. When you see termite damage, there is likely significant damage you can't see. It is best to get proactive about termite control and prevention. Let's look at prevention first.
Identify And Remove Factors That Attract Termites
There are many ways you can guard your property and prevent a termite problem. While in no way foolproof, it is better to do something than nothing at all. Here are the factors that attract termites and some tips to help you make your property less of a target for these wood-damaging pests.
- Nurse dying trees back to health.
- Pick up dead branches and store them in a container to keep them off the ground.
- Put campfire wood on a raised platform.
- Store junk in a bin, rather than on the ground.
- Replace wood fences with fences made with material that is not desirable to termites, such as vinyl.
- Address wood-to-soil contact on structures, such as your back deck.
- Pest-proof your home with a caulking gun or a can of expanding foam to keep drywood termites out.
- Keep your lawn hydrated and guard against drought stress to deter agricultural termites.
- Trim your landscaping and create an open and dry space that is resistant to subterranean termites.
- Clear gutter clogs and make repairs to any portion of your gutter system where water is leaking out onto your perimeter.
These and other smart, all-natural prevention methods can have a big impact on termites. All termites are looking for food and moisture. By controlling these factors in meaningful ways, you make your yard and your property less interesting to termites.
Professional Termite Control Offers Lasting Protection For Your Home
There are many ways you can guard your property investment. If you live in McAllen, it is wise to consider professional termite protection. Applying termite control products on your own can leave your property at risk of damage, and you won't realize it. Professionals use trusted and field-tested products. These products are installed by licensed and certified technicians. If you're in McAllen, contact us. Bugworks Termite & Pest Control technicians use a range of solutions that are customized to the termite issue present. We understand subterranean, drywood, and agricultural termite behavior, and we deploy products that work to eliminate their colonies, such as liquid treatments, foam, or bait. Find answers to your termite control questions or contact us for a termite inspection to get started. We are committed to providing you with the highest level of professional and qualified termite control service.
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