As a pest, termites can be the most destructive of all the insects that can enter your home. If left unchecked, termites can literally eat the house from underneath you! Unless you carry special insurance, this can also leave you without a home!

What is a termite?

Termites have been known to build towers, hollow trees, move soil and destroy houses, and they are around the size of an ant. However, termites are usually slower and fatter than ants and they are usually white in colour. Termites are part of the same group of insects as cockroaches, and they feed on dead plant material, such as wood and soil.

Termites generally inhabit dark nests and tunnels. Some termites have wings and are a darker colour, and they are the ones that leave the nests to harvest food and to eventually start new colonies, while the termites that stay in the shelter are wingless and paler. The flying termites can shed their wings when they find a new nest, and the wings grow back when it is time to hunt for food once again. Termites feed on the cellulose that is in plant fiber. This is a rich energy source but is difficult to digest.

Termites live in colonies that can have several hundred to several million termites living in the nest. A queen can lay as many as several thousand eggs in a day. Termites use swarm intelligence to gather their food, and within the colony there are several roles for the termites, including workers, soldiers, and breeders. The egg-laying queens are kept within the colony nest at all times. A female termite that has flown, mated and produced eggs is termed a ‘queen’, and there can be many queens within a colony. The male termite is usually the only one in the colony and mates with all of the queens to produce offspring. The termite workers are usually blind, as their eyes are undeveloped. They are responsible for creating the nest walls using soil, wood, and saliva. The soldier termites are used when ants attack, and they have an over-developed jaw to attack; yet this makes it difficult for them to eat, so the workers feed them.

What do termites do?

Termites can cause major structural damage to buildings, crops and plantation forests as they pick away at the wood fibers. Termites can go undetected for years, consuming the wood without people noticing until the structure is too severely damaged. Termites can also damage paper, cloth and carpets.

Termites feed on materials, such as wood and cloth, yet they do not digest it. Rather they use most of their intake to build their colony nests and to protect themselves from sunlight and rain. They usually build their nests in the walls of houses, as there is a large amount of food nearby for them, and they can go undetected for years.

What can you do to prevent termites?

Insure that all deadwood (piles of firewood, dead trees etc.) are as far away from the home as possible. Inspect any decks, sheds or parts of your home that are made of wood for signs of tunneling or wood rot. If you suspect termites, it is imperative to take a proactive approach to this situation, as termites will move from fences and trees into your home. If any of these situations are detected, please contact us immediately for termite extermination!

How can PPC services help?

PPC service professionals will come in and evaluate your home and surrounding area for termite infestation. Once it has been determined that termites do exist in your home, PPC will exclude the termites from your home by inserting a chemical rod into the surrounding soil (including the basement), as well as spraying down the wooden structure of the house. If you suspect greater damage, it is possible that sections of drywall may have to be opened up to be examined, and if necessary, chemically sprayed.