We all spend a lot of time and effort decorating and furnishing our homes. We like to feel happy and comfortable when in our own living space. But, regardless of your style and taste, it’s safe to assume that most of your furniture is made of wood. Wooden materials make our homes cozy and warm. But sometimes, they are also the primary reason you might have to call pest control.
Termites are like the dark side of wood. They love nothing more than nibbling on and destroying your furniture and wood work. In fact, they are the only pests that can efficiently destroy your home’s foundation in just a few years.
What’s even worse, termites tend to ‘work’ insidiously. You may not even be aware of what’s going on until it’s too late.
This is why it is very important to take the necessary steps to protect your home from these tiny invaders.
If you suspect a termite infestation, your choice of pest control provider will greatly influence the outcome of your termite issue. To avoid irreparable damage to your home, make sure you call the best pest control Orange Country has to offer.
What are termites?
Termites are small, soft-bodied insects. They live in highly organized colonies, counting from several hundred to several million members.
Termites feed on decomposing plant material, mostly wood, leaves and animal droppings. Their large collectives can cause significant structural damage to buildings, cultivated plants and forests.
Termites are not all bad. They help nature by breaking down and recycling dead plant tissues. However, when their menu extends to people’s homes, fences and building materials – they become pests.
In fact, in tropical and subtropical forests, where termites are found in large numbers, railroads have to use expensive metal ties that can resist termite damage.
Termites can be divided into 3 groups: drywood, dampwood and subterranean (underground).
A few facts about drywood termites
Drywood termites measure about ½ inches in length. They have dark brown bodies, black wings, a reddish-brown head and two pairs of equal-length wings.
As the name suggests, drywood termites form their colonies in solid, dry wood. Unlike the subterranean type, they don’t need soil moisture in order to thrive. They can live quite comfortably in the wood.
As a result, they can inflict serious damage to movable wooden furniture. They can also be easily carried inside of infested furniture and into geographical regions where they are not normally found.
Drywood termites dig their nests directly inside the wood. The colonies are actually the offspring of the initial male-female pair. Once the nest is created, they seal the entrance and remain inside.
When the termite pair excavates a chamber in the wood, the queen lays the first eggs. The nymphs which hatch from these eggs are the laborers of the colony. The colony also includes soldiers and reproductive forms which develop from the nymphs.
The members of the collective that leave the nest to start new colonies are called swarmers.
As termites consume the wood, they create so-called kick holes that are used to push droppings out of the nest. These droppings accumulate in the vicinity of the holes and are usually the first visible sign of infestation.
What kind of damage can drywood termites inflict?
The main habitats of drywood termites are dead trees, branches and firewood from residential areas. Once houses and other buildings are constructed, they fall prey to the termites.
Drywood termites find their way in through the vents in the attic or the foundation, wood shingles, under eaves and capping boards. They can also sneak in through natural cracks in exposed decorative wooden structures, as well as window frames, door frames and sills.
These insects have a taste for all kinds of wood products. This includes structural timbers and wood work in buildings, as well as furniture and other wooden objects.
They tend to cut across wood grain, excavating large chambers which are interconnected by small tunnels. As the termites dig the tunnels to enlarge the colony, the wood gets damaged. The tunneling progressively weakens its internal structure and the wood eventually collapses.
One of the most injurious species is the dark western drywood termite. These pests can infest any type of wood work. They devour wooden structures, derricks, piled lumber, furniture and utility poles, causing massive damage.
As a rule, drywood termite damage progresses at a relatively slow pace. However, since they are difficult to detect, substantial damage can already be present by the time you notice their presence.
If you suspect a termite infestation, don’t hesitate to call the best pest control Orange County company to the rescue.
Things you can do to termite-proof your home
There are several things you can do to stop these tiny pests from entering your home.
Secure all entry points
- Cover all the vents in your home with a suitable screen mesh.
- Do the same with the windows and doors.
Protect the wood (hire a pest control company)
- Seal any exposed holes and cracks in the wood.
- Apply a good insecticide to stop the termites from consuming your wood work. Choose a residual action formula that is harsh on the drywood termites, but gentle on people and pets. Sodium borate is highly toxic to drywood termites, but relatively safe for humans and animals.
- Try the wood injection (drill and treat) method, where non-toxic insecticides are injected directly into the wood, through little holes. Most of these chemicals remain active for a long time.
- Spray the wood around your home. For this method, it’s best to hire a professional pest control company. Once the mineral salt-based insecticide is applied, it will remain on the wood for the duration of its life.
Consider using termite-resistant wood
- Some trees, like the Redwood and Alaskan cedars, the bald cypress or the eucalyptus tree, are naturally resistant to drywood termites. This specifically applies to the dense, less permeable inner part of the tree trunk (heartwood). This tissue is more compact and more durable than the surrounding living portion (sapwood), which makes it naturally resistant to termite attack.
- Pressure-treated wood is also termite resistant. During the pressure treatment, a preservative is fixed into the pores of the timber, acting as a chemical barrier against drywood termites. As an added benefit, it slows down the decay process.
- Opt for specially designed composite materials instead of traditional timber. These materials, consisting of waste wood fiber and plastic, are impervious to termites. Unlike natural wood, composite materials don’t warp, split or rot.