By Chris Hall
What is a termite? Where are they located? Are they bad for my home?
Let’s talk a little about termites, what they look like and what the signs are of them.
Termites are often described as “wood ants” or “white ants”, however, they are not ants or closely related at all for that matter (although they can look similar). While thousands of species exist, locally, termites are usually white in color and consume cellulose based materials, such as wood. This makes them detrimental to our homes, as most are largely constructed of wood products. Termites measure between ¼ and ½ of an inch long, have straight antennae, have wide waists and two pairs of equal size wings.
Termites are insects that live in the ground all around us. They feed on dead and decaying trees and plant materials, and without prevention, can cause severe damage to your home. Termites need a damp, dark environment to survive, making basements, garages and crawlspaces particularly welcoming. Termites use tubes to travel between the ground and your home to feed.
Periodically walking around your home, checking your foundation (both inside and out) as well as your garage walls can alert you to a problem early on. If you live in an area prone to termites, such as in a wooded area, it would greatly benefit you to get on an annual treatment plan with a local exterminator as a preventative. This is far cheaper than treating a termite infestation and repairing any damages caused.
Termites serve a vital role in nature, but have no right to our homes. Get outside, and take a good look at those foundations, siding and walls for signs of termites. When in doubt, contact a local inspector for evaluation, prevention and treatment.