Ever wonder if your house has termites? It’s probably not too high up on your list of priorities. However, these cryptic little pests, cousins of the hated cockroach, cause significant damage to homes over time.
Conservative estimates of their damage range from the hundreds of millions of dollars in the United States to more substantial estimates in the billions.
Furthermore, homeowners insurance usually does not cover termite damage. Insurance companies will claim (no pun intended) that insect infestations can be prevented with proper maintenance.
How would I even know if my house had termites in the first place? Would a home in Alaska or Maine have the same risk of getting termites as a home in the Carolinas?
Are there many species of termites that cause damage to structures or just one? These are all important questions. Let’s tackle them one at a time starting with the latter and working back to the former.
Are There Many Species Of Structure Damaging Termites?
Yes, there are a lot of economically important types of termites.
Most are subterranean by nature but some live in wood apart from soil and are more prevalent along the coast of the Carolinas. These are called dry wood termites. They do cause damage but generally are localized to pieces of furniture or wooden trim.
In SC, there are three native species and one invasive species. Subterranean termites are the ones we typically associate with termite infestations. They can cause significant damage if left untreated.
The aforementioned invasive termite species is called the Formosan termite. It can cause even more damage than native subterranean termites due to its larger colony size (more mouths to feed) and it’s the propensity to make aerial nests apart from the soil, which can make detection harder.
Are All Areas Of The United States Prone To Termite Attack?
No, thankfully not. Average temperature plays a large part in where they’re located. However, if you’re reading this article more than likely you’re located in the southeast and that happens to be a hotbed for termite activity.
How Would I Know If My House Has Termites?
That’s the million-dollar question, right?
Probably the most common and unpleasant way people find out they have termites is when termites do something called “swarm”. This is when an established colony of termites sends out winged reproductives (they kind of look like winged ants but have slightly different morphological features) to start a new termite colony.
Usually, on a warm day in spring after a rain, you might come into your kitchen or bathroom and find a bunch of flying insects escaping from a crack in the wall or tile and flying to the light.
Other signs of termite activity include mud shelter tubes in your basement or crawl space and soft spots along with your subfloor.
What Should You Do About Termite Prevention Then?
The old saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure rings true here.
If you live in the Carolinas, your best bet is to be proactive rather than reactive. We live in a hotbed of termite activity.
Have the experts at Spencer Pest Services inspect your home and come up with a game plan to rid your home of termites or to keep it termite-free!