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How Much Damage Can Termites In Phoenix Really Cause?

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If you have experienced purchasing a new car, you know the excitement and anticipation of owning a new vehicle. You feel good as you drive your new wheels down the road showing off the fruit of your hard-earned labor. For the first few months, you keep the car washed and vacuumed; you park away from the other cars at the grocery store to avoid dings and dents from inattentive drivers.  

But then, the unthinkable happens — someone or something damages your beloved car. Now, you can't help but see that dent in the side of your door or the scratch along the front bumper. You find yourself angry that a careless person or Mother Nature caused injury to your car. When something we work hard to purchase is damaged, it changes our attitude. We move from being elated over the item to frustration and anxiety because we have to repair the car or house, which costs us time and money!

Purchasing a house is an undertaking that is greater than acquiring a vehicle. You save for a long time and wade through a mountain of paperwork to make the acquisition. Once you own your home, the last thing you need is termites to damage it.

If you suspect termites are in your house, you need the Phoenix pest control services of ACTION Termite & Pest Control. For over 50 years, we have removed termites from homes. Our highly-trained technicians use the power of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)  techniques to take Action against termites. One of our core values is a commitment to continual learning; we want to pass along our decades of experience to our community by answering questions about termites in this brief article.

Different Types Of Termites That Can Be Found In Phoenix

Drywood termites and subterranean termites are the two types of termites in Phoenix that cause problems for homeowners, and although both species consume wood, they have different characteristics and habits. Learning about the unique practices of these two species will help you assess what is happening on your Phoenix property:

  • Drywood termites: We usually conceive of termites living in damp areas underneath the house where they have access to moist soil, but that is not the case for drywood termites. This termite species gets moisture from the wood and humid air and does not live in the dirt or need a water source. Mounds of tiny droppings (known as frass) with six hexagonal sides and longitudinal ridges outside small holes (about 5/16-inch) in wood indicate drywood termites are present. Shed wings from reproductive termites and swarms of winged termites in the spring are additional indications of drywood termites in your Phoenix home. Drywood termites have a creamy white to light brown 3/8 to 1-inch body, so if you see what appears to be white ants, you may have drywood termites. Drywood termites on your property are in wood picture frames, furniture, trusses, support beams, and other structures in the attic; examine support beams and subflooring in the crawlspace for signs of these wood-eating insects. 
  • Subterranean termites: Unlike drywood termites, these termites live in the soil and not in the wood; they also require moisture outside of any water contained in the wood. Subterranean termites quickly dehydrate if exposed to the sun, so they build mud tubs to provide protection when traveling to and from the soil to their wood food source. In addition to mud tubes on the house exterior, other signs of subterranean termites are sawdust-like frass piles near a nest, discarded wings in window sills and doors, and swarms of termites in the spring after heavy rain. Because subterranean termites require moisture outside of wood, look for signs around wood support beams that contact the ground in the crawlspace or underneath wood decks; check wood near leaky water pipers for these 1/8-long brown to black insects with long, narrow bodies. 

If you see these signs of termites in your home, contact our ACTION Termite & Pest Control professionals. Each of our inspectors has more than 20 years of termite control experience. 

How Termites Damage Phoenix Homes

Unlike a scratch or dent on an automobile, termite damage is not usually apparent. When winged, reproductive drywood termites enter your house through cracks in the foundation or around window and door frames, they eat the wood in furniture, picture frames, the attic, and other locations within the home. Wood in the house serves as a food source and a nesting location for drywood termites. As they bore out tunnels for the nest, the population grows, and over time, a mature nest of about 2,500 members is eating wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   

Subterranean termites work underneath the home, where they can access their nests in the soil. Although a drywood termite colony of 2,500 members sounds large, it is minuscule compared to a mature subterranean termite nest of 60,000 members! A mature termite colony can consume five grams of wood daily or approximately 2.3 feet of a 2x4 board in one year! Can you imagine the damage these tens of thousands of termites are doing to the wood in your Phoenix home as they tear away wood with their scissor-like jaws all day, every day? 

These are evidence of termite damage:

  • Warping frames: You may have termites if windows or doors are not closing tightly or appear to be twisting. Termites produce moisture as they eat wood within the door or window and cause the wood to swell and warp over time. 
  • Hollow-sounding wood: When you tap on wood, it should sound dense and solid, but if it sounds empty and hollow, you may have termites eating it from the inside. 
  • Crunching sounds: Drywood termites create tunnels parallel to the wood grain and weaken the wood. When you walk over flooring damaged by drywood termites, you may hear what sounds like paper crinkling or cracking sounds.  
  • Darkening wood: Areas of discoloration in wood indicate termites. 
  • Blistering wood or paint: Drywood termites leave only a thin layer of wood or paper present as they bore tunnels in the wood beneath the surface. Since only a thin layer remains between them and the outside, paint, wallpaper, or wood on the surface will often appear to bubble or blister. 
  • Sagging corners: If the flooring appears to be separating from the baseboard, it is a sign that there is a structural problem with the underlying support beams, which may be the result of subterranean termites in the crawlspace. Conversely, if the ceiling is drooping or it appears as if there is water damage, you may have drywood termites in the attic. 
  • Pinholes: Tiny holes in drywall, wood, or the ceiling indicated termites. 

Termites cost homeowners an estimated $5 billion in damages yearly in the United States. Unfortunately, most homeowner policies do not cover termite damage, which means the owner must pay for the costly repairs. Our decades of experience, coupled with our specialization in termites, makes best ACTION Termite & Pest Control the best termite control company for your Phoenix home. 

Termite Activity Can Go Unnoticed For Some Time

The main reason termites cause so much property damage is that homeowners do not think they have a termite problem until extensive damage occurs. Reproducing termites, known as alates, swarm onto properties in the spring, searching for new nesting locations with available food and moisture. Because these termites are only 1/4 to 1/2 inch, they can squeeze through cracks or gaps into the house. Once inside the home, the queen begins to reproduce. Until she matures, a subterranean termite may produce only a few eggs annually, but eventually, she will deliver 5,000 to 10,000 eggs yearly. It takes about five to ten years for a subterranean termite colony to reach a maturity of around 60,000 members. 

Drywood colonies also develop slowly. In fact, after two years, there may only be about 50 termites in the nest. Drywood termites will not produce swarmers until about four years after the establishment of the nest. Thus, the termites may be on your property long before you notice discarded wings or swarms of termites in the spring. Since the more termites present, the quicker you see the damage, drywood termites often go unnoticed for years due to their smaller population. 

ACTION Termite & Pest Control are the termite experts near you that can inspect your home and determine if termites are present before they cause significant damage to your house. 

How ACTION Termite Protects Pheonix Homes

Since our beginning in 1969, we have been a company specializing in termite control. We did not start as a general pest control business but focused solely on termite control in the Phoenix area. Because termites have been our specialization for the last five decades and not an add-on pest, we know these insects, how they operate, and how to effectively remove them. 

When you schedule your free termite inspection, our technician will thoroughly examine your home's construction materials, termite attractions, hot spots, and entry points. Using their knowledge, skill, and experience, they will determine the termite species infesting your property and create a strategic plan using IPM solutions to protect the environment while providing effective removal of the damaging pests. Contact ACTION Termite & Pest Control to learn more start with the company that offers the best termite protection in Phoenix.