Termites are extremely destructive and can damage your biggest investment—your home. You may be wondering, when the weather cools down, are you still at risk of a termite infestation? Should you still be on the lookout for signs of termites or do termites die in winter?
The reality is that termites like things warm. In warmer climates, these insects will be active all year long. In places where it gets cold for at least part of the year, it is a bit of a different story. When temperatures hit about 25 degrees Fahrenheit, a termite can die within minutes. So self-preservation means that when temperatures get to around 50 degrees, termites start moving farther underground, where the soil is warmer.
One of the most common types of termite in the U.S., the subterranean termite, not only loves warmth, but also prefers wetter conditions. Just after a rain is a prime time for swarming termites. Truth be told, the most harmful of these insects are not seen. You might see their tunnel trails or other signs of termites in your home, but these signs are typically difficult to spot. The winged termites you see above ground are generally harmless, but if you see them, you can be sure you have had an infestation for quite a while. Contacting a pest control professional is important at this point.
Why Termites Are Hard to Notice
Your home provides not only the warmth termites crave and need, it also provides a steady diet of materials that contain cellulose, their food of choice. This is why you need to remain vigilant all year long and know how termites get in your home. Termites can be even more of a problem when they have a place to snuggle in over cooler months. They have more time to create more termites and to tunnel into places where you won’t see them or notice them until they have already done a lot of damage.
A colony of subterranean termites can take two to four years to fully mature, and during that time, a colony can include anywhere from 200,000 to 2 million workers! Those worker termites are busy chewing through your walls, wood frame, wood doors, books and more. Controlling termites isn’t a job that is easy to tackle on your own. Getting a professional assessment with an initial treatment setup and ongoing maintenance plan is necessary to end the destruction and keep your home protected.
Why Be Concerned About Termites?
Termites can be a real problem. They are the most destructive, wood-destroying insects in the southern United States. People spend about $2 billion annually in the United States to control or prevent termite infestations. That doesn’t even count what it costs to repair any damage the insects have already caused to structures.
So, it is easy to see the importance of keeping watch for termites not just when it is warm outside but also when things get cooler. Waiting is never a good option when it comes to tackling termites! Calling a pest professional will help you learn if you have a problem. A pro can conduct a thorough inspection of your home and determine if there are wood-destroying insects on your property. If there are, they can create a thorough termite treatment plan. If not, they can educate you on termite prevention plans that they offer.
It isn’t just your home or business building that could be in jeopardy. Termites can also attack beautiful living trees that shade your space and make your yard or other landscaped areas lovely. They can kill those trees and reside in dead or dying trees, hastening their end and potentially making them unsafe. Dead trees can come apart quickly in wind or storms, and the broken branches landing on your home or car will still be damaging. Head it off by getting help sending those termites packing now.
What to Do About Termites on Deck
Spending time outdoors isn’t just for the summertime. Even in cooler temperatures, many of us still use our back deck for hanging out around a fire pit or grilling. You might not have considered that termites also like to hang out around your deck.
So, how can you tell if you have these uninvited guests in or around your deck?
Checking for Termites On Your Deck
If your deck has been built with the posts placed directly into the ground, not set in concrete or any other material, the chances of attracting termites are higher. Closely inspect each support post and look for the same type of tunnels or grooves in the wood that you might find with a home infestation.
Next, walk over the entire surface of your deck slowly. Try to bounce a bit on the planks. As you move across it, a solid, safe deck will feel hard and secure. It should not be springy in any way. If you feel some give, mark each spot that moves so you can give it a closer look or show your pest control professional once you call them in.
Knock on the wood in these spots. If it sounds hollow, that could signify termites tunneling into the planks. Even if the movement in the boards is from general rot, not only is that still a safety issue, but it could lead to future termite issues. Termites love to move into rotting wood because it is easier for them to chew through. You can also take a nail head and dig a bit into the soft spots to look for tunnels. Do this on the deck planks and around the base of the posts. All this evidence will be useful to your pest control professional as they make their assessment and treatment recommendations.
Termite damage can be difficult to notice because it can be easy to confuse termite damage with wood rot. If you’re unsure of what you’re dealing with, contact a pro. It can be extremely difficult to locate termites, which is part of the reason why they are extremely difficult to control. Your most effective path is to bring in an expert who can create an effective pest treatment plan.
Does Baking Soda Kill Termites?
A search around the Web will show many mentions of baking soda as a way to eliminate a termite infestation. This seems a good way for many people who would like a “natural” solution. But in reality, baking soda is completely ineffective against these invasive insects. To kill a pest, a solution has to get to the pest. Sprinkling baking soda on a tunnel trail or other space where you believe termites have traveled doesn’t even come close. Termites must carry the product back to the colony to wipe out an infestation. So even if baking soda did any damage, it can’t get where it needs to go.
DIY methods rarely work when trying to handle a termite problem. If you try one solution you find online or from a friend that doesn’t work, then another, you are wasting valuable time. While you are looking for a way to take care of things on your own, the termite colony is growing and continuing to damage your home or outdoor space. Many people are reluctant to call a pest control company because they believe they can eliminate the problem themselves. You will find it’s more effective to call in a pest control professional as soon as you suspect you might have an infestation.
After removing the problem, you will want to move toward preventing another infestation in the future. Look for places where moisture might be collecting, such as leaks in plumbing or letting water build up in drains or your home’s gutters. If you have an attic or crawlspace that tends to get damp, consider using dehumidifiers or fans to remove moisture or circulate air and keep the levels low. Talk to your pest expert about other ways that you can work together to monitor your space for potential problems and steps you can take to keep your home pest-free.
ABC Can Eliminate the Termites on Your Property
If you have noticed signs of termite activity, it’s imperative to contact a professional. ABC Home & Commercial Services uses scientifically proven methods of termite control. We can put your mind at ease.