Fall is prime time for termite swarms. There is nothing scarier than seeing termites swarming around your property. Brezden Pest Control has been protecting properties since 1980 in and around San Luis Obispo County. Below are several points to consider as we move into the fall season this year.
1. Termites are a property owner’s nightmare
In nature, termites are useful. They help in recycling dead and fallen trees. Chomping away, 24 hours a day they turn this wood into nutrients for the soil. Termites also supply a food source to other animals and their underground colonies help to aerate the soil. In your home or business property, it’s an entirely different matter, however. Termites cause billions of dollars of damage to structures each year around the United States. If you would like to learn more about how the industry calculated this damage figure read this article from Pest Control Technology magazine. Damage from an infestation can go unnoticed for years. In a home, they can eat away at wood and cellulose based fiber, including books, furniture and sheet rock. A trained and licensed pest control provider can help you find termite problems and protect your property from future attacks.
2. Likelihood of Termites
The Council of American Building Officials and the International Residential Code have created a termite infestation probability map. Ninety percent of California is listed as a very high (probability) that a structure can have termite infestation. The most northern 10% of the state has a moderate to heavy rating. If you are reading this and live in another state, find your state on this map to find the probability of your property becoming infested by termites.
3. Termites Damage Property
How much wood can a termite munch if a termite finds my home? Termites eat 24 hours a day, they don’t take vacations and don’t call in sick. The unique weather of California allows termites to be active, eating and foraging year-round. Termites eat the most food in the warm weather months between June and September. Rain seems to make termites even hungrier because they can get both food and water in one bite. During cool months between November to February, termites will be less active in looking for new food sources but will continue to chew away at their current location. When a hive grows too large, the termites will swarm. Flying away from the nest in large groups, they look for a new place to settle down, mate, and eat away at your valuable property. Quick action is needed to protect your property from termite damage.
4. Types of Termites
Termite problems can make you lose sleep. The three, most common, California termite species are; Reticulitermes, Heterotermes, and Coptotermes. These three pests are subterranean, meaning they build their hives underground. Finding their hives takes specialized training and equipment. Brezden has the training and equipment needed to locate and eradicate termites from your property.
- Reticulitermes is a found in the eastern U.S., Texas, California and as far north as Ontario, Canada. They are one of the most destructive species in California. You’ll see afternoon swarms in the fall and again in the spring usually after a soaking rain.
- Heterotermes Aureus is common in the Sonoran Desert of southeastern California. You’ll see late afternoon or early evening swarms in July, August, and September.
- Coptotermes formosanus nicknamed the Super Termite. They were, and continue to be, native to China but are now well established in the United States. As reported in this ABC News Report, this species is spreading quickly. They can be found in 11 states, including Alabama, California, and Florida. In California. The formosanus is rapidly becoming even more destructive than the Reticulitermes. You’ll see late evening swarms, with the peak season being June and July. They are attracted to lights and typically live in larger colonies.
All three of these species can cause damage to your property. Luckily, we employ our own in-house, fully-licensed termite repair crew. Brezden can also help you contact the best flooring, painting, or other contractors to make your place like new again.
5. Termite Behaviors
Only a full inspection can determine what type of termite you have. Termites live in large social colonies where they cooperatively care for the eggs and the young. The colony includes sterile members who are the workers. These are the ones that are eating away and carrying food back to the hive. Established colonies can number hundreds of thousands of members. If left undisturbed and with a ready food source, the hive can reach over a million members. Like ants and bees, termite colonies have a queen, workers, soldiers, and reproductive members. The largest group are the worker termites who care for eggs and forage for food for the entire nest. Queen termites can have a lifespan of a decade or more, while workers usually live for only a handful of years. They are adapted at feeding on cellulose with an intestinal parasite (protists) that allows them to convert the wood fiber into food. Learn more about the lifestyle of termites from this March post
6. Signs of Termites
If your property is not currently protected from termites, you may have a problem and not even know it. By the time you begin to see visible signs of termite infestation, thousands of dollars of damage could already have been done. Property that has had past termite problems are also more likely to become re-infested if they are not treated on a regular basis. Continuing treatment should use products that have been proved to discourage termites and are approved by the State of California. We use the Exterra Termite Interception and Baiting System.
Signs of termite infestation include:
- The presence of fecal pellets (termite poop) which is often the first sign of a problem. Pellets will vary in color depending on the wood the insect ate, and have six flattened sides.
- Swarms of the insects
- Small piles of sawdust-like wood particles
- Darkened or blistered appearance to areas like window sills
- Hollow sounding and thin wood members that are easily punctured with any sharp tool
- The presence of dirt or mud (shelter) tubes.
7. Protection Against Termites
Elimination of termites usually involves either whole structure eradication or localized (spot) control. For proper treatment, professionals need an understanding of building structures and the ability to correctly identify termite species. Only licensed professionals can safely use registered pesticides to eliminate termite colonies.
- Whole Structure Eradication is a process where your entire home will be enclosed in tenting. The structure is then treated with fumigation or heat, in some cases both methods are used. You, your pets, and your plants will be required to remain out of your home during this entire process.
- Localized Spot Control uses the application of pesticides, electric current, extreme cold or heat, microwave energy, or a combination approach to individual locations around your home.
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About Brezden Pest Control: Brezden Pest Control provides rodent control, bird control, ant control, and termite treatment services in the San Luis Obispo area. The company keeps homes and businesses pest-free with its commercial pest control and home pest control services. “Like” the Facebook page to receive information on termite treatment. Call 805-544-9446 today for a local pest control estimate. Visit the website to download a copy of the “Top 10 Reasons Customers Choose Brezden Pest Control.”