& Pest Inspection Estimate! 800-332-BUGS (2847)
Do You Have Termites?
Say you’re walking your dog in your neighborhood and come across a house that looks more
like a circus tent. What are your next thoughts? I’m glad that’s not me!
Drywood termites start out as nymphs. In a drywood termite colony, the nymphs do all the work.
They feed the soldiers, clean and look after the queen and chew wood. They don’t sleep. When
they’re at it, they go twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five
days a year.
Nymphs eventually become soldiers, or reproductives (kings and queens). Soldiers form giant
heads with jaws. Their job is to protect the colony from intruders (mostly ants).
The reproductives, AKA kings and queens, AKA swarmers, are the termites that vacate the
colony on a warm, fall day. Picture paratroopers jumping out of a military transport plane.
Dozens of winged termites leave the colony and fly towards light. Their wings are perforated, so
they can be easily removed. If everything goes as planned, they’ll find a partner, mate, chew
into some wood and start a new colony. The good news: 97% of swarmers die. The bad news:
3% live and, according to the US Department of Agriculture, their colonies cause approximately
1.5 billion dollars in damage annually in the US southwest alone.
Most people discover their droppings (little wood pellets the size of particles of sand).
As the population of their colonies grow, drywood termites make room by boring little holes,
called kickouts, in the wood to push their droppings out. You might discover a pile of termite
droppings on a window sill, a trash can lid, or your sidewalk.
If you’re a do it yourselfer, you might grab a can of Raid and start spraying. It won’t work.
Drywood termites live inside the wood, so topical treatments won’t help. Their colonies can
stretch 4 feet or more and travel in almost any direction.
If you find termite droppings, what you’re seeing is probably just the tip of the wood beam.
When completing an inspection, a licensed termite inspector probes the exterior wood of a
home, including the fascia, rafter tails, eaves, window and door frames. The inspector will crawl
your attic and sub area, if you have one. They’ll inspect the garage and attic framing, and
anywhere else exposed wood exists. Sometimes, a section of wood looks fine but the
inspector’s probe will break through and droppings will spill out.
Termites love attics; they gain access through roof and gable vents. Attics in the West are
accessible through small, ominous openings in the ceiling. Attic spaces are hot, cramped areas
filled with hazards like cobwebs, insulation, nails and splintered wood. If you feel brave and
enter your attic, you might step somewhere you shouldn’t and break through your ceiling. If you
manage to remain on the rafters, you’ll need to crawl through small openings, electrical wires
and duct work to reach all the areas of your attic to complete a thorough inspection.
Without regular inspections, termites can go unchecked for years.
If you have termites and wait, the infestation will become increasingly difficult to eradicate. The
termites will cause more and more wood damage. The more wood damage, the more expensive
it will be to repair. If you catch the problem early on, tenting can be avoided and damaged wood
could be patched instead of replaced.
If you’ve found evidence of drywood termites or just want peace of mind, contact the friendly