Found in every state except Alaska, termites cause billions of dollars in property damage each year. And unfortunately for business owners, termite colonies can grow unnoticed for years, especially in large buildings with plenty of places for them to nest and multiply. The first step towards getting termites under control is identifying you have a problem. Here's how to tell if you have termites and what to do about it.
What are termites?
Termites are insects that feed on cellulose material such as cotton fibers, paper products, wood, plants, and plant by-products. Termites never sleep and colonies are capable of growing into the millions with queens that can lay 20,000 to 30,000 eggs a day. Unlike other common insects like flies that have a short lifespan, termites can live up to two years and queens can live for several decades.
Adult termites are around the size of common house ants and can be white, yellow, brown or black. Three of the most common types of termites found in the U.S.A are:
- Subterranean: The most common and most destructive termite. They nest in the soil below structures and travel upwards to feed.
- Drywood: Found in Hawaii, the southeastern, southwestern, and western U.S.A. They don't need soil contact to survive and can infest almost any part of a building and its contents.
- Dampwood: Found in Montana, Idaho, northern Nevada, Oregon, northern California, Washington, southwest and southern Florida. They can survive without soil contact and often infest very moist or decaying wood.
Signs of termite damage
It's important to understand how to tell if you have termites so you know when to call in the professionals. Keep an eye out for these signs that termites are present in your building.
- Tight fitting windows and doors: As termites eat through wood, windows and door frames begin to warp. Stiff windows and doors that become increasingly difficult to open could be a sign of termites.
- Hollowed or damaged wood: Termites usually consume wood from the inside out. Knock or tap a piece of wood to determine if it sounds hollow.
- Evidence of termite swarms: Late spring and early summer can bring swarms of termites, also known as alates, looking for a place to reproduce. You might see a swarm first-hand or notice an area covered in discarded wings. Wings range from colorless and translucent to a gray or brown color.
- Mud tubes: Starting from the ground and extending into infested wood, mud tubes serve as protection for termites. Look out for tubular, muddy looking pencil size tunnels made of small pieces of soil and wood. Mud tubes are one of the most common types of structural evidence left behind by termites.
- Drywood termite droppings: Also known as “frass", drywood termite droppings look similar to sawdust or coarse grains of sand. The termites are making room in their tunnels by pushing their excrement (frass) out of small holes in the wood.
In addition to these common signs of a termite infestation, our technicians are trained to spot termite signs that you may not recognize and recommend a course of treatment.
Learn more about our Commercial Termite Treatment services.
Tips for termite prevention in large buildings
Obviously, the best case scenario is not getting termites in the first place. Large buildings have a lot of nooks and crannies that can be hard to monitor at all times but there are a few ways you can reduce your risk for termites:
- Perform regular inspections. Small termite infestations are much easier to get under control—and will cost your business much less in the long run.
- Treat before it's too late. Make sure the building is treated before an infestation shows up or gets out of hand.
- Stay on top of overall maintenance. In large warehouses, leaks and standing water can lead to damp wood, attracting termites. Conduct prompt repairs to avoid issues. Trim back vegetation that is leaning up against your building. Use rocks or gravel in gardens around buildings instead of wood chips that may attract termites.
- Ensure proper ventilation. Avoid excess moisture and humidity by maintaining proper air flow in every part of the building.
Related: What an Empty Building Means for Pest
Getting termites under control
If you suspect a termite infestation in your building, or you are not sure if the building has been properly treated, you should call in professionals immediately. Terminix Commercial will start by investigating and determining the extent of the termite infestation before devising an effective and fast-acting treatment plan with minimal disruption to your business.
You may have to close certain parts of your business to customers and/or employees for a brief time to focus on getting the termites under control. We can help you come up with a plan of action that makes sense for you.
Found termites in your business or concerned about a potential infestation? Call us at <a href="tel:8778376464">877.837.6464</a> to schedule service or request a free estimate.