South Carolina is a popular state for termites. If you’ve moved here from an area with less impact from termites or you just never gave termites much thought before a recent issue, you likely have some questions about the notoriously destructive bugs. Here are the top termite control questions:
Q: How do I know if I have termites?
A: This question can be tough to answer because unless they swarm or you notice their damage, they are often unseen. Termites rarely leave the soil, mud tubes or wood tunnels they create. You can check for damage on a piece of exposed wood with a flat head screwdriver and press gently against the wood, looking for hollow sections. If they swarm, it’s important to make sure the swarm you see is a termite swarm and not an ant swarm. Termites have two sets of wings of approximate equal length and antennae that point straight forward or even droop slightly. Ants have two sets of wings but the front set is longer than the back set and their antennae stand up at a near 90 degree angle. If you see a swarm of termites then you likely have a serious termite problem.
Q: How many types of termites are there?
A: In the U.S., the most common type of termite is the native subterranean termite. There are two more types of termites in the U.S. that are less common – the drywood termite and the Formosan termite.
Q: Are pesticides used for termites safe?
A: Pesticides used for termites are called termiticides and they are heavily regulated by the EPA because they are very toxic. This means it is absolutely crucial that they be applied precisely according to their directions to protect the environment and your family’s health. This is best done by a qualified pest control company.
Q: What types of treatments are there for termites?
A: There are physical barriers and chemical treatments. For physical barriers, there are two of note. The first is steel mesh with specifically sized sand particles. The second are nematodes and fungi that have shown promise in lab experiments at repelling termites. Physical barriers are the least common form of termite treatment.
Most termite treatments fall into the chemical treatment category. These include liquid soil-applied termiticide barriers, termite baits, termiticide-treated building materials (pre-construction) and applied wood treatments (post-construction). The most popular of these treatments are the soil-applied termiticide barrier and termite baits. In most cases, soil termiticide barriers can only be applied by qualified and trained pest control technicians because they can contaminate ground drinking water wells and also can contaminate your home if applied incorrectly. Even if you find termiticide available for purchase, the risks of contamination are so high that it’s best left to the professionals.
Termite baits are popular because of the reduced risk to the environment and to human (and animal) health. Termite baits use cellulose with a slow-acting termiticide (or a combination of them) to control termite populations and infestations.
Q: What should I do if I suspect I have termites?
A: Even if you don’t think you have termites, prevention is much better than treating an infestation. If you don’t have any kind of termite control service currently, give The Pest Force a call to have your home evaluated and effective termite control measures put into place before you have irreversible damage to your home from termites.