What Are Termites and Why Are They a Danger to Your Home?

what are termites

In the United States, more than 600,000 homes are seriously damaged by termites each year, and this damage takes millions of dollars to fix. It’s easier to prevent infestations than it is to get rid of termites.

Before you know where your home stands, you’ll need to ask a few questions. What are termites? How do they spread? What do they want? How do you know if you have termites? What can you do to get rid of them? 

Keep reading to get all of these questions answered.

What Are Termites?

Termites are insects that eat dead plant matter such as leaves and wood. They are a few millimeters in size and look similar to ants. The kings and queens of their colonies have wings.

There are 21 species of termites listed in the state of Florida and about 50 species in the United States. They’re categorized into 3 main types of termites: 

Drywood Termites: These termites nest in dry locations such as stacked firewood, furniture, trees, and within the wood frame of new or old homes. 

Dampwood Termites: These termites prefer to nest in very damp areas such as gutters full of leaves, or any other area of a house that may have a small leak causing water-logged wood within the walls and floors. These ones need more moisture to live.

Subterranean Termites: As it sounds, these will be found underground. They need a lot of moisture, similar to the dampwood termites, which is easy to find in the ground.

Termites spread quickly. They spread in “swarming” events where a winged male and female pair discover a new nesting site. They lay and fertilize eggs and a large colony is created in a matter of weeks.

They also spread by tunneling into new food sources, much like ants do.

What Do They Want?

Termites have an important job in terms of ecosystems, as they help speed up the decomposition process. As they munch through their favorite leaves and wood, it is helping fertilize the ground so that new life can grow. 

Unfortunately, they can’t tell the difference between dead trees on the ground and the dead tree lumber that we build our homes with. This makes them a pest as they try to decompose our houses. 

How Do You Know If You Have Termites?

More important than all of this, you need to ask yourself if you already have termites living in the walls of your home. There are some signs you can look for around your home. 

Clues of termites include small piles of “sawdust” or discarded termite wings. Clicking sounds can also be an indication of termites, as they work and eat loudly.

What Can You Do to Get Rid of Them?

A pest infestation is one of the most difficult things homeowners can face with their property. Not to mention, termite damage is not covered by your insurance.

It’s important to catch it as early as possible to limit the damage. To get rid of termites, you’ll need a professional pest control expert. 

This is just some of the information needed in understanding the risks of termites. Now that you know, give our team a call to set up a free 57-point inspection today.