Types of Termite Damage
Termites are among the most common pest infestations in the United States. In fact, termite infestations are so common that these critters are costing U.S. residents an estimated $5 billion in home damage repairs each year. As an already expensive problem for many Americans, the costs of termite damage and termite treatment in the United States is quickly increasing year after year. One reason that termite damage is so costly to the American homeowner is due to the fact that most insurance companies do not cover the price of home damage caused by termites. For Houstonians, the cost and inconvenience of termite damage is particularly high. Houston ranks thirteenth out of the top 50 termite infested cities in the United States, meaning termite inspections and termite treatment should be a high priority for those who live in and around the Houston area.
To understand why and how termite infestations occur and the damages that accompany these infestations, it is crucial to know what attracts termites to your home. It is also helpful to learn what type of damage the different types of termites can cause to your residence. The type of termite that infests your home depends on which type of wood source the termite likes to eat and how much of that wood you have readily available in your home or on your property. Different termite types enjoy different varieties of wood, some preferring to dine on moist wood and others enjoying dry wood or even non-wooden materials which contain cellulose, including paper and cardboard. However, no matter the type of termite in present in your home or what their preferred meal may be, it is always crucial to invest in quick and quality termite treatment upon detection of an infestation. for the safety and comfort of your family.
What kind of wood sources do different types of termites eat?
There are many different species of termites in the world with the majority of these species falling under three different termite categories — dampwood termites, drywood termites and subterranean termites. Each of these types of termites can infest different areas of your home causing damages in various locations. This is due to their preferred wood sources and the ways in which they enter your residence. Different types of termites require different termite treatment, so it is important to identify which type of infestation your home is being subjected to and the potential damages that infestation can cause.
Drywood termites are among the most common type of termite infestation found in the home. These termites search for dry wood in your home, including structural beams, banisters, baseboards, wooden frames and furniture. Since it is not necessary for drywood termites to have contact with soil in order to thrive, they are unique in that they are able to cause serious damage to moveable wooden structures like furniture. If you detect a termite infestation in your furniture, it is probable that you are dealing with an infestation of drywood termites. Because these termites can also seek out the wood that supports your home, the structural integrity can be compromised. This can pose a danger to you and your family and also turn out to be extremely costly when it comes to damage repairs. The drywood termite’s wood preferences make it likely that if you are dealing with this type of infestation, you will need fast termite treatment.
As their name suggests, dampwood termites prefer to feed on moist wood sources, including dying trees, damp logs and various other types of decaying wood. Their preference of decaying wood has earned the dampwood termite the nickname “rotten wood” termite. Unfortunately, this does not mean that damp wood termites only stick to eating wood found in forests or outdoor areas of your property. These termites can also infest your home and especially if you live in an area with a humid climate.
Dampwood termite infestations are less common than subterranean and drywood termites, but will still require termite treatment upon detection of an infestation. Areas of your home that have been compromised by water, such as damp foundations or attics, are most vulnerable to dampwood termite infestations. If you live in an area of the United States with a moist climate, such as Houston, these areas of your home are good places to check for signs of dampwood termite infestations and any consequent damages.
Subterranean termites build their colonies and nests underground in damp soil or sometimes in damp wood, but will venture above ground and into your home to feed on wooden structures. Like dampwood termites, subterranean termites prefer to chomp away at moist wood setting them apart from their drywood relatives. These termites are not picky eaters and are happy to dine on any of the common types of wood that are found in most homes. This includes hardwood, softwood, oak, structural lumber and pine.
Because subterranean termites build mud tubes from their nest to the food source, they are able to infest areas that are exposed to high heat or low moisture. This form of protection gives subterranean termites an advantage when it comes to consuming the wood within your home. Like all termites, subterranean termites are harmful home invaders that if ignored, will cause expensive damage to your home over time. This damage is not only costly, but when it becomes structural, can also pose a threat to the welfare of you and your family. For these reasons, it is important that you know your options for subterranean termite treatment and when termite treatment is necessary.
A particular type of subterranean termite, the Formosan termite or “supertermite”, is notorious for being one of the most destructive types of termites in America. Formosan termites do not live in all areas of the United States, but unfortunately do dwell in Texas and specifically the Houston area. While worker Formosan termites are smaller in size than standard subterranean termites and don’t necessarily eat wood any faster than other termite types, they are able to cause more damage to your home. This is due to the incredible size of their colonies which can contain over ten million termites compared to the thousands in other types of termite colonies.
Because Formosan termites are simply a far more destructive type of subterranean termite, these termites cause types of damages that are similar to the standard subterranean termite. If you find that you are dealing with a Formosan termite infestation in your home, it may be even more crucial that you seek fast termite treatment to avoid any further damages.
What attracts termites and how do I safe guard my home?
Most types of termites, and especially subterranean termites, are most active in the Spring and Summer months. This is called swarming season where reproductive termites take flight from an existing colony to establish a new colony nearby. However, this is not the only time of year that termites are able to infiltrate your home. In warmer climates like Houston, termites can remain active year round making it incredibly important that you know what is attractive to termites and how you can avoid an infestation. Although your home does not actively attract termites, these pests will likely set up shop once they find the food they need in and around your residence. This process begins an infestation and the need for termite treatment.
As mentioned, most termites feed on wood and are attracted to moisture. When termites enter your home, they are in search of food, which includes wood and other materials that contain cellulose such as lumber, firewood and newspapers. One way to minimize the risk of an infestation is to avoid storing these types of materials in close proximity to areas that are easily accessible to termites, such as your home’s foundation. It is also beneficial to do away with any decaying firewood or lumber you have lying around, as termites prefer to eat this type of damp wood over healthy wood.
Termites are also attracted to warm, dark areas which remain mostly undisturbed, including crawl spaces. To reduce moisture in these areas and to help reduce the risk of a termite infestation, have your house periodically inspected for moisture sources. A major point of attraction for termites is the moisture in the soil under your home upon which your foundation is built. By mending any leaky faucets or pipes, checking that your gutters and downspouts are functioning properly and not allowing your lawn sprinkler system to cause water accumulation around your home’s foundation, you can help to keep this soil as dry as possible, reducing your risk for infestation and required termite treatment.
Types of damage caused by termites
Termites are a billion dollar problem when it comes to home damages in the Unites states. Not only do termites compromise the structural integrity of American homes, they can also cause massive agricultural damages. When learning about how damaging termites can be to your home and how crucial it is to seek termite treatment to rid your residence of these pests, it might offer some solace to know that termites are in fact ecologically beneficial. However, the behaviors that make the termite beneficial to our ecosystem are the same behaviors that can cause severe damage to homes across America.
If severe enough, a termite infestation can make a home unlivable until undergoing termite treatment and costly repairs. The most acute termite infestations cause structural damage as these infesting bugs eat away at support beams, drywall or sheetrock, roof supports, wall studs, posts and ceiling joists. However, these are not the only structural components of your home that are at risk. Wooden floors, attics, floor joists and foundations are also susceptible to termite damage.
Even if your home is not made from wood, but is made from alternate building materials, you might still be at risk of a termite infestation. Termites are able to make their way through metal siding and plaster in order to reach a wooden food source inside your home, including wooden cabinets and furniture. This means that even in the absence of a wooden structure in your home, you should still know your options when it comes to termite treatment in case of an infestation.
Sagging floors and ceilings, areas around your house that look to be water damaged or traces of dust throughout your home are all signs that your home could be facing damage from a termite infestation. If you notice any of these in your residence, it would be beneficial to you and your family to undergo a termite inspection and termite treatment if necessary. Although it is common for homes to suffer from structural failure by way of a termite infestation, this damage can be easily prevented when you are proactive about routine inspections and termite treatment.
Human health risks associated with termites
Fortunately, the direct damages caused by termites usually do not extend beyond damages to the home. Termites have gained the nickname “silent destroyers” because they prefer to do their work undetected and generally will not seek to bite or harm humans. In the rare case that you are bitten by a termite, be aware that termites are not known to carry diseases that are harmful to humans. However, there are a few indirect human health risks associated with a termite infestation.
One potential health hazard due to a termite infestation is the spreading of mold in your home. Termites prefer moist environments where mold tends to grow and as they gnaw through wood or crawl throughout these spaces, they can spread this mold. This can cause mold spores to release into the air and can create health issues if inhaled by you, your family and your pets. Additionally, termite colonies release dust and other particles that can be dispersed throughout your home via your air conditioning and heating systems. This airborne dust can be irritating to the lungs, making those who live with allergies or asthma especially sensitive to a termite infestation. These health hazards alone are enough reason to seek termite treatment in order to protect yourself and your family if you detect an infestation.
When should I seek termite treatment?
You should seek termite treatment as soon as you detect termite activity in or near your home. Natran offers active termite treatment for homes that are already enduring an infestation, as well as preventative treatments such as the Natranized Plan that can help to give your family peace of mind. Natran believes in using green and low risk pest control products and environmentally-conscious treatment methods to help save you, your family, your pets and the earth from the harmful side effects of harsh chemicals and treatments.