Wood termites are considered one of the most serious and destructive pests that a house or neighborhood can suffer. There is no limit to their voraciousness; they can attack not only wood and products derived from wood but also many items in the house, such as books, clothes, cardboard, and decorations.
This article is a compilation of information on how to know your enemy and kill them.
In this article, you’ll know about:
- Types of wood termites
- How to Identify wood termites
- Natural ways to get rid of wood termites
- How to Prevent wood termites
- And more
After reading, you’ll learn about the natural ways to manage, control, and eliminate wood termites in your house.
What is a termite?
A termite is a wood-feeding pest that is colonial, meaning it is social and builds nests (termite mounds).
There are distinct morphological differences among the adult termites, which play different roles in these colonies.
This is the most abundant type of termites in the colony, over 90%. As the name suggests, they are responsible for the work, such as feeding the colony, digging tunnels, and cleaning.
These protect the colony from possible attacks, for example, from ants. Their most distinctive distinguishing feature is their prominent mandibles, although not all soldier ants have mandibles, and some are equipped with glands that produce toxic secretions. They are not particularly abundant, rarely exceeding 5% of the population.
Flying ants or winged termites
These winged termites are dark in color and can reproduce. When they leave the termite mound to mate, they may eventually establish a new colony.
Queen and King Termites
Once a termite becomes a king or queen, it plays a purely reproductive role in the colony. They barely move during their lifetime, which can be as long as 20 years.
These colony members are initially sterile due to the production of a pheromone by the royal pair. However, if something happens and this partner disappears or dies, the new termites develop the ability to reproduce, thus allowing the termite mound to survive.
This pest is known by different names depending on the country or region. Some of their names are termites, moths, turtles, and even white ants because of their obvious similarities.
What do wood termites eat?
The obvious answer to this question is that termites eat wood. Yes, they eat wood and many other things, such as paper, cardboard, clothing, various foods, grasses, fungi, vegetation, many agricultural plantations, etc.
And what do wood and these other elements that serve as termite food have in common? Cellulose.
So, to answer this question more accurately, we can say that termites feed on cellulose.
Types of wood termites
There are about 3,000 different species or types of termites, but they are divided into three main groups based on their use to build their nests or termite mounds.
These termites build their nests or termite mounds several meters underground, looking for moisture and no light. Then, they build tunnels that lead to their food.
Usually, a termite mound is hard to find because it is not next to the woods and maybe dozens of meters away.
It can cause real damage to wooden structures because it enters from below, and its presence may go unnoticed until there is no solution.
The most widespread species is Reticulitermes, the one most present in Spain. They are usually slightly smaller but on the other hand more numerous, with about 2000-2500 individuals per colony.
They are usually pale, whitish, or even transparent. They are very similar to dry wood termites, although the latter is somewhat larger.
Moist wood termites
As you can guess from their name, they settle and feed in damp and decaying wood: tree trunks, buried wood.
Although they can have a risk to your house, this type of termites, by their nature and interest, are not the most dangerous for human construction, as long as they have taken into account that certain precautions and maintenance are sufficient.
For these wood termites to infest our homes, there must be issues such as humidity, buried and decaying wood.
Colonies can reach up to 4,000 individuals and are particularly abundant on the American continent’s Pacific coast.
As their name suggests, these termites build their termite mounds on dry wood, the same wood used for construction, furniture.
The most widespread species are Kalotermes and Cryptotermes. They are a real problem in countries where wood-frame construction is abundant, such as the USA or Canada.
The colonies are low in number and can survive in low humidity conditions. Physically, they are slightly more elongated than subterranean termites, although they are often confused.
Signs of Termite Infestation
How do I know if there are termites in my home? There are some indicators that can help us know if we are suffering from a pest and what type it is.
Signs of subterranean termites.
- Muddy tunnels. This type of termite will dig and create tunnels to reach the wood. Finding holes near a basement, foundation, or wooden structure is usually a sign. They can also use existing cracks in concrete, stone, etc. So they don’t necessarily need to dig.
Signs of dry wood termites.
- Feces: They do not use excrement to dig tunnels as subterranean termites do, but to get rid of excrement, for which they make small holes. Through these, they excrete waste, which may look like sawdust, and then plug the holes.
Best Ways to Avoid Wood Termites
The best thing to do in the face of termites is always prevention. Keep in mind that we realize the problem too late in many cases, or it is already very late.
How to Prevent Wood Termites
Termites do not appear out of thin air but reach the wood through holes or cracks. Some people think that having a concrete foundation will save them from termites, but termites can even use expansion joints in floor slabs, travel between concrete and tiles, use air vents (such as those in kitchens or air conditioners), door joints, etc.
Preventive treatment of wood
It is recommended at different moments: during construction, during renovation, during reform. In these moments, wood is directly accessible.
Avoid storing wood or cellulose in an environment suitable for termite growth. Untreated wood is in direct contact with floors or walls, especially in humid environments. For example, wood in cellars and storerooms, firewood in contact with walls in gardens.
How to eliminate wood termites Naturally
Call A Pest Control Company
Let’s think you may have a wood termite infestation. You must quickly call a pest management company and avoid impulsive actions such as pouring insecticide on an area, moving or removing outdoor furniture, removing baseboards and other moldings, etc.
If these actions are carried out without much knowledge, it is possible that they may displace wood termite activity or even increase the number of nests or mounds. This will complicate and prolong the subsequent control of the termite infestation.
The most common treatment methods used by pest control companies to kill wood termites are.
Traps or termite bait.
It is Especially useful for subterranean termites. Though the result is similar, there are different types to kill termites by feeding on them.
The process is as follows, study the behavior and place the bait in the most active areas. After reaching the bait, the wood termites move the bait to the colony, gradually trying to feed all the termites. This baiting of termites changes the natural evolution of pests and prevents them from reaching the adult stage where they can reproduce.
A common problem that hinders the work is that the bait is not recognized as food. So choosing the right bait is fundamental.
Treatment with bait is effective if everything is in order, although there is no doubt that it is a slow way to exterminate termites and can take years.
Termite baits are generally not sold to individuals, only to pest management companies, as they are made up of potentially toxic substances. However, there are also more environmentally friendly ones.