Everyone knows that subterranean termites are destructive wood-eating insects that can cause major problems for home and business owners. One of the best ways you can defend your property against termite damage is to understand the pests you’re up against. Today we will take an in-depth look at termites to determine how to identify termites and whether they’ve invaded your home or business.
Termite Life Cycle
King and queen termites are responsible for reproduction and begin the termite life cycle. When a fertilized queen lays eggs, they hatch into pale larvae after about a month. Larvae have the potential to molt into soldiers, workers, or secondary reproductives. All termites hatch the same way. However, pheromones regulate what type of termites the larvae eventually grow into after several moltings. While most larvae molt into worker termites, some larvae may molt into secondary reproductives if the colony has matured, or soldiers if more soldier termites are needed. Workers, soldiers, and reproductives make up the three groups within the termite caste system. Reproductives, including the original queen and king termites, are at the highest point in the social hierarchy, soldiers are in the middle, and workers are on the bottom.
Worker termites are responsible for locating food sources, feeding the rest of the colony, and constructing tunnels and nests. Without the worker termites, the rest of the colony would perish. These busy workers are the termites that damage the structural integrity of a home or business by tunneling. Unfortunately, worker termites are also the largest group in the termite caste system. Workers maintain the tunnels and clean debris from the nest, as well as bringing chewed cellulose back for the larvae, soldiers, and reproductives.
Once an existing termite colony has matured, several larvae molt into reproductives. These secondary reproductives leave their original termite colonies in large swarms to mate. This reproductive process is called nuptial flight. Unfortunately, nuptial flight spells trouble for many homeowners. After mating, reproductive termites find new locations to start their own colonies and shed their wings. In many cases, termite swarmers nest on the same property as their original colonies, which is why some termite infestations involve multiple termite colonies. Each year, termites cost United States home and business owners over $5 billion in property damage. Significant structural damage may occur slower or faster for your home, depending on the size of your termite infestation. Subterranean termites are the most common species of termites to invade homes and also cause the most damage.
How do you know if you have termites?
The biggest reason why termites are capable of inflicting serious damage to properties is simply that most termite infestations aren’t discovered until several years after the initial invasion. The best way to minimize your risk of termite damage is by identifying the signs of an infestation as early as possible. Signs you can keep an eye out for include:
- Mud tubes, which usually extend from the soil to wooden portions of your home
- Shed wings around windows, doors, and exterior walls
- Termite swarmers flying around the outside of your home could indicate an existing infestation somewhere nearby
- Spongy floorboards, cracks in your ceiling, and warped walls
- Hard-to-open doors or windows
If you suspect you have an infestation, it’s never a good idea to attempt to handle it on your own. The best termite treatment comes from the licensed pest control experts here at Innovative Pest Control. We have everything you need to ensure termites are removed from your property and never have the chance to return. For termite control treatments and prevention services, give us a call today. We're ready to assist you with your pest control problems.