Everyone has heard of termites and at least knows someone who has a story about them. The story is never good. It's one of those things that we never think about until it happens then we wonder, "Why me". Termites are just about everywhere in the world. There are different types of termites in different parts of the world. Here in the USA, we deal with about three species. Around North Carolina and north we deal with eastern subterranean termites, which will be the focus of this blog.
Eastern subterranean termites live in the soil. The move freely underground foraging looking for food. They are an important part of the Eco system tasked with breaking down wood. The way I like to visualize it is, you see ants all the time running about all over the ground. Well, termites do the same thing but under the ground.
Termites eat the sugar in wood called cellulose. It's found in all wood types. An average colony can eat a standard 2x4x8 in a year. The problem is they don't just focus on one stud then move to the next one. They damage several at a time. Termites damage wood slowly, but move very quickly, building shelter tubes at a rate of an inch and a half per hour. The shelter tub is made from surrounding material and mud. They use it for protection from sun light, air, predators and turn it into a super highway. I have seen some shelter tubes as large as my wrist. Most shelter tubes are the diameter of a #2 pencil.
Oh yes, I know. Your house is okay. You know you don't have termites because it made of brick and you have it inspected when you bought it. You can stop reading now and just go to the end where my phone number is. You’re going to need it. Now, for everyone else, it doesn't matter what your house is made of outside. Stone, brick, steel, concrete, treated lumber, EFIS, stucco or any other type. Having a metal termite shield at your sill plate won't help either. Termites can build that mud tube over anything. They come up under the slab or footer of your home and forage until they find wood. Almost all homes in this area still use wood studs. If you use metal studs great. Drywall has cellulose in it, which isn’t good. Your inspection you had back when you bought the house was only effective for 30-days. The pre-treatment you had performed by the builder when you had your home built at best lasts 1-2 years tops. I know it's guaranteed for five years. Good luck with that.
So. With all this good news, what do you do? First thing is to relax. You need to have a termite inspection performed. It should be free and I will give you some tips. Do not call a large company like Terminix, Orkin, Western, Ehrlich or Home Paramount. They send out sales people with little to no experience of termites and their only goal is to sell you something. Ask around. We all have a network of neighbors, friends and family. See who's using who and if they are happy.
TIPS FOR SCHEDULING YOUR TERMITE INSPECTION
When they arrive they should ask you a few questions like:
POST INSPECTION TIPS
What questions should you ask?
If you have termites I would schedule one or two more inspections with other companies. I wouldn't do more than three. You will start to confuse the treatments and programs between them. Next week I will discuss how to select the right treatment and company.
Bryan Guderjohn, CEO for ATC Termite & Pest Control. This is where I will share with you my thoughts and experiences from my 25+ years of expertise in pest control.
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