ABC Blog

What Eats Termites? Controlling An Infestation

Subterranean termites burrowing in dirt

Many homeowners, especially those who spot signs of termite activity in their homes or elsewhere around their property, may wonder if there are any animals that eat termites. Do these pests have natural predators that can help keep termite populations low and protect homes from damage? Termites cause billions of dollars worth of damage to American homes and other structures each and every year, and once they have infested a home, they are notoriously difficult to get rid of.

Worse, termite colonies are typically hidden to the untrained eye, which means these insects can go about their destructive business for quite a long time before they’re detected. The varieties responsible for the vast majority of serious damage to our homes, subterranean termites, largely live out their lives in the dark, and their queens can lay many eggs in a single day. This means that termites’ natural reproductive and feeding habits can … Read Full Post »

Termite Frass And Other Signs Of An Infestation

Tube of termite frass on a baseboard

Termites are stealthy, destructive pests that cost homeowners in the U.S. billions of dollars in damage each year. Part of the reason these pests are capable of causing such extensive damage is that they tunnel underground and out of sight. However, there are a few signs that a homeowner can look out for that indicate the presence of termites, including termite frass, which is the technical term for this insect’s waste products.

Other common signs to look out for that can indicate that you have termites on your property include:

  • Flying swarmers
  • Piles of wings
  • Mud tubes
  • Cracking wood or wood surfaces that sounds hollow when you knock against them

Subterranean termites mix their feces with saliva and chewed wood to make their tunnels, called mud tubes. These passageways are most commonly found around the foundation of your home or along walls. About as thick as a pencil, mud tubes are typically brown, or are similar … Read Full Post »

Do Termites Have Wings? Identification Tips

A winged subterranean termite

If you have spotted a swarm of small insects flying or crawling inside your home or elsewhere on your property, you might have instantly feared a pest infestation—and then asked yourself, “Do termites have wings?” The short answer here is yes: Certain types of termites in certain stages of their life cycle do have wings.

Not all termites have wings, however, and even those that do have wings don’t keep them forever. Furthermore, there are other winged insects, such as winged ants, that are commonly and easily mistaken for termites. A professional exterminator can determine exactly what type of insect is swarming in or around your home, whether it’s a termite, a winged ant or something else altogether. There are also certain signs and characteristics that homeowners can learn to look out for in order to make an initial diagnosis on their own.

Wanting to know how to identify termites and distinguish … Read Full Post »

How To Tell If You Have Termites In Your Walls

A white and gray living room

Maybe you spotted some strange, tiny holes in your drywall or baseboards, close to where the wall meets the floor. Or perhaps you knocked on the wall on a spot you thought was solid, and oddly enough, it sounded hollow. Each of these signs could be an indication that you could have termites living—and feeding—inside your walls. However, these aren’t the only signs.

If you wonder if you might have termites, take a closer look around to see if you can spot any of the following:

  • Faint lines on drywall along areas where termites are tunneling
  • Wood that seems hollow when you tap on it with a screwdriver
  • Bubbling or peeling paint
  • Small pinholes where termites have eaten through your drywall
  • Baseboards that crumble under slight pressure
  • Jammed windows or doors
  • Buckling wood
  • Discolored drywall

While there are visible clues of termite activity, keep in mind that the subterranean variety, the type that is responsible for a reported $1.5 billion … Read Full Post »

A Homeowner’s Guide To Termites In Texas

A group of termites on wood

There are many reasons Texans love calling this part of the country home. We have warm weather nearly all year round, with so much to offer in terms of nature, history, sporting events, museums and other attractions. Unfortunately, we aren’t the only ones that are drawn to this state. Termites in Texas—specifically, the subterranean, Formosan and drywood varieties—are a major problem for countless homeowners. These destructive pests are responsible for costing homeowners in Texas hundreds of millions of dollars of damage each year.

How does this tiny pest get away with so much?

Subterranean termites, the most common species of termite found in Texas, tunnel in moist soil in search of cellulose, their primary food source that is found in wood, plants, cardboard, insulation and even pet excrement. Because these pests are tunneling underground, many homeowners are unaware they have a problem until these voracious insects have already caused extensive damage. These … Read Full Post »

Carpenter Ant Damage Vs. Termite Damage: Identification Tips

a kitchen with signs of carpenter ant damage or termite damage

If you find damaged wood in or around your home, you might wonder whether carpenter ants or termites are to blame. Quite honestly, it can be difficult to tell if you have termites or carpenter ants without extensive pest control knowledge. While termites are responsible for $5 billion in property damage each year in the United States alone, most of this impact is linked to the subterranean varieties, which can be difficult to detect, since these species live most of their lives underground. and primarily eat away at our home’s foundation and other hard-to-access areas. Drywood termites are more likely to be spotted above ground, in similar environments as carpenter ants. One way to tell the difference between carpenter ant damage and drywood termite damage is by looking at how clean the damaged wood and surrounding area is. Generally speaking, carpenter ants tend to be pretty meticulous. Any wood that … Read Full Post »

Does Mulch Attract Termites? Your Questions Answered

termites crawling through mulch

If you’ve ever dug into the mulch around your property, you’ve probably noticed that there are quite a few insects squirming around in the mulch. You may have even noticed one of the most destructive pests in the country—the termite. Upon this observation, you may start to wonder if mulch attracts termites. If so, should you remove it? Or, does finding termites in mulch serve as a warning sign that an infestation already taken place?

While termite control specialists advise against piling up mulch near the foundation of your home, it isn’t necessarily because the mulch attracts new termites from outside. What the presence of mulch against the home does do, however, is provide an environment that encourages existing termites to set up shop more permanently. In fact, any kind of organic matter near your home that remains moist can provide that necessary cover for a termite invasion.

Therefore, while mulch doesn’t … Read Full Post »

Are Termites Harmful To Humans? Your Questions Answered

Are termites harmful to humans

Yes, termites are harmful to humans, but perhaps not in the way you might immediately think. These creatures aren’t often responsible for serious physical harm, as they do not pose the same health risks as many other insect and animal pests that can bite or sting you or transmit disease. However, the destructive impact of termites on the structure of a home makes these pests extremely dangerous.

Only in rare cases have soldier termites bitten people while defending their colonies. While in the most severe infestation scenarios, occupants can experience contact dermatitis, asthma attacks and lung irritation, these instances of direct ill effects are relatively rare. However, left untreated, this insect can completely break down all the wooden structures in a wood-built house (including the furniture) within three years. Within five years, termites can render a home unfit for human habitation and cause it to be condemned. In short, termites are … Read Full Post »

Do Termites Eat Drywall? Your Questions Answered

Termites eating away at a wall

If you believe you have a termite infestation, you may be wondering what materials a termite will eat. One of the questions that may be running through your head is: do termites eat drywall? Termites live off a diet of cellulose, which is an organic material that can be found in all living and once-living things, including trees, plants and grass. While termites prefer a diet of the cellulose in wood, they are absolutely willing to chew through other objects that contain cellulose to fill themselves up. For example, termites can and will chew through all kinds of building materials, including soil, sheetrock and, yes, drywall.

In fact, any kind of organic material will suit a termite just fine. This is why termites cause billions of dollars of damage to homes each year. Unfortunately, few building materials are safe from termite infestations, so a colony can destroy an entire foundation with … Read Full Post »

Do Termites Eat Cedar? Protecting Your Home From Damage

Do termites eat cedar

Most homeowners have heard of termites, and know that these pests chew their way through wooden structures, including houses, garages and fences, as well as other natural food sources. Termites cause billions of dollars worth of damage to homes and properties each year. Their colonies can number in the thousands or even millions, and a termite colony can lay waste to wooden beams, rafters, siding or flooring in your home or garage.

Which types of wood are their favorites? For example, do termites eat cedar, an evergreen tree that is common in Texas and other southern states? Or, if some people think cedar is an effective DIY method to keep wool moths at bay, you might wonder: could cedar repel termites as well?

The short answer is that while some research has shown that some types of commercially-available wood may be more palatable to termites than others, subterranean species have been found … Read Full Post »