It is human nature to look for shortcuts. When you move to a new city, you try different routes home for the quickest way to your destination. Sometimes, if you are against a hard deadline at work, you are tempted to take shortcuts to avoid enduring a reprimand for being late. Manufacturers are known to take shortcuts to increase profit margins.
There are some things and situations where one can take a shortcut without causing harm or degrading the quality of a product, but there are other circumstances where shortcuts should not be taken. One area where you cannot afford to take a shortcut is termite control. These tiny insects can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your Charlotte house.
If you suspect termites are causing problems in your house or want to be proactive to ensure they don't get a foothold, you need the family-owned Charlotte pest control company, ProForce Pest Control. With over 60 years of team experience, we know how to stop termites from destroying your house. Please keep reading this brief article to help you understand the severity of a termite infestation and why you should never attempt to take a shortcut.
Termite Activity Can Be Hard To Identify
Our area is rife with eastern subterranean termites. Eastern subterranean termites are a subspecies of subterranean termites in our part of the United States. The main reason they are hard to detect is in their name. These termites are subterranean, meaning they live below the soil.
Subterranean termites in Charlotte homes came from a colony or colonies on or near the property. These termites often live under half-buried lumber, rotting landscaping timbers, and decaying tree stumps. Workers, soldiers, and reproductives create the three castes of an underground nest. Inside the buried termite homes are nesting chambers where eggs await to hatch, and the developing nymph termites mature. Temperature and moisture determine the depth of the tunnels and nesting chambers, which can be as deep as 18 to 20 feet into the earth. A Charlotte house may have a string of tunnels throughout the yard connecting the nest to food sources.
Except for the spring season, when reproductives swarm from the nest, only the workers leave the nest to forage for food. Subterranean termites require a goodly amount of moisture; therefore, they invade wood in areas with high humidity, lumber near leaking water pipes, or timber in locations with poor water drainage.
To shield them from the dehydrating effects of wind and sun, worker termites construct mud tubes between the soil and food sources. The creamy-white to dark brown or black 1/8-inch worker termites have razor-sharp jaws capable of shearing off tiny wood fragments. They consume the wood fragments and later regurgitate them to feed colony members.
Without knowledge of the signs of termites,an infestation can be troublesome to identify, so look for the following:
Mud tubes along foundation walls
Crunching or crackling sounds
Blistering wallpaper or drywall
Discarded wings in window sills
To test for these signs, use a hard metal object to tap suspected wood to see if it disintegrates or sounds empty. Examine timber for dark areas. Crunching sounds when walking across the floor indicates a termite invasion.
When subterranean termites eat wood inside walls, they do not penetrate through the drywall but leave a thin, paper layer. Because these termites bring moisture with them and work in moist environments, the drywall or wallpaper will blister due to the humidity. Also, as worker termites ingest wood shavings, they produce sawdust-like feces that they then clear out of the excavation tunnels. You probably have subterranean termites if you notice small piles of this material near pinholes in drywall or wood.
Winged reproducing termites fly from mature nests in the spring to find new locations. Light attracts these termites, so you will notice them fluttering around outdoor lights in the evening and early dawn hours. Once they find a home for a future colony, they break off their wings and mate. Since light emanating from windows is also an attractant, you will find discarded wings on the window sills if they are inside the house.
When you contact ProForce Pest Control, a trained service professional will thoroughly examine your location for adult termites on your property. We will observe the exterior and interior of your Charlotte house to determine attractants, entry points, and termite hot spots.
Termites Can Undermine The Structural Integrity
Of the Charlotte termite species that invade homes, subterranean termites are the most destructive. All termites consume wood, but unlike drywood termites, which have about 2,500 termites in a nest, subterranean termites build colonies of 60,000 to two million termites. Most of the termites in a nest are wood-eating worker termites whose sole purpose is to provide food to the nest. Considering that a small termite nest of 60,000 workers consumes about five ounces of wood daily, or about 2.3 feet of a 2x4 board annually, imagine the damage a nest of over one million workers can do!
Fungus-infested, damp wood is an attractant for subterranean termites. Although this wood is often outside homes in tree stumps, buried timber, etc., it may also be support beams underneath the house unobserved in the crawl space. As a colony (or colonies) in the crawl space grows, more worker termites chew tunnels into the surrounding structural wood.
Over a few years, these signs of subterranean termite damage on your Charlotte property may appear:
Sagging floors, particularly in the corners
Warping window and door frames
Breaking porch or deck railing
Insurance companies estimate that all termite types in the United States cause over $5 billion dollars in damage annually. Unfortunately, most homeowners' insurance policies do not cover the cost of termite damage repair. When you recognize evidence of termite damage, the repair bills will be a minimum of $2,000 to $3,000 dollars because most structural damage requires a licensed contractor to replace or repair the problem.
Be proactive. Avoid costly repairs by contracting with the termite specialists at ProForce Pest Control. We will stop a current infestation before it can cause more damage and prevent future invasions with our termite control services in Charlotte.
How A Termite Infestation Starts
When a nest reaches several thousand workers and soldiers, the queen produces reproductive winged termites, known as alates or swarmers. When warm spring air begins flowing and often after a heavy rain, male and female swarmers leave the nest and fly on wind currents looking for new nesting locations. If they detect an odor from damp, fungus-infested wood as they float along on wind currents, they land and begin reproducing. When the smell emanates from a crawl space, basement, or underneath a wood porch or deck, they will search for a crack to enter the house. It does not take much of an opening for them to enter your home since termites require an entry point of only 1/16 inch wide.
Once they find the damp wood source, the male and female termites dig a hole in the nearby dirt, enter the newly formed chamber, and seal it off from outside invaders. The queen delivers about six to 20 yellowish-white eggs in the first six months, which consist of worker termites. As she matures, she can produce up to 1,000 eggs daily. A queen may live up to 25 years producing over 60,000 eggs. After 50 to 60 days, the eggs hatch, and nymphs emerge.
Initially, the king and queen nurture the eggs and feed the offspring predigested wood; however, once the first batch of workers matures, the workers take over foraging for food and attending to the eggs and nymphs. The next group of eggs consists of workers and soldiers, who are wingless and blind like the workers. The main difference is that soldiers have large heads and strong jaws. Termites in this caste defend the next against ants and other invaders. After a couple of years, the queen begins producing reproductive termites that leave the nest and start the process in a new location.
ProForce Pest Control provides effective termite control and prevention that will stop a termite infestation and keep new colonies from forming.
Professional Termite Control Offers Lasting Protection
ProForce Pest Control offers subterranean termite treatment in Charlotte using the Termidor® system. When a trained service professional arrives at your Charlotte home for a termite inspection, we will determine attractants, entry points, and termite hot spots. Based on our findings, we will develop a strategic plan based on your situation. If you have an active infestation, we treat hot spots with Termidor® termiticide. Next, we install Termidor® monitoring stations in the ground around the perimeter.
After 90 days, we return to inspect the monitoring stations for activity. If termites are present, we fill the stations with a chitin inhibitor. As the name suggests, this solution prohibits termites from shedding their exoskeleton as they grow, which kills them. When the worker termites are in the Termidor® monitoring stations, the chitin inhibitors stick to their shell, which they then carry back to the colony and spread to the nymphs. As a result, the nest members begin dying from the youngest to the oldest, eventually killing the queen. Contact us today to learn about our residential and commercial pest control services in Charlotte and schedule an inspection.