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The Best Way To Protect Your Phoenix Home From Termite Infestations

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We believe strongly that the best way to protect your Phoenix home is to get professional termite control, but we don't want your home to lack the protection it needs. For this reason, we provide these blogs so that you are equipped to detect termites early and prevent extensive damage. We also provide unique insights to help you better understand these insects and how they behave. The more you know, the better your protection will be. Join us as we look at the secretive nature of termites, signs of termite damage, how to remove attractants, and why it is best to contact Phoenix pest control when you detect a termite infestation in your home. 

You're Likely Never To See A Termite

Termites in Phoenix are sneaky. They can feed on your home for years without providing any noticeable signs. Why are they so good at hiding from sight? There are several reasons.

  • They don't like light. Termite workers live their entire lives in utter darkness. They hate sunlight and also avoid moonlight. Researchers have found termites working to seal holes when moonlight is cast on the surface of the ground over underground nests. As you look for signs of termites in your yard, you're not likely to ever see workers unless you uncover them. 
  • They don't like dry air. A worker termite has thin skin that must stay hydrated. When workers feed on your home, they're going to stay inside their tunnels, whether those tunnels are in the ground or in the wood of your home. They do not like the air because it dries them out.
  • They're tiny. You may not realize it when you see a termite because of its size. A worker termite is only ⅛ of an inch long, and although winged termites are three times that size at ⅜ of an inch, they're also not much to look at. You may pick up a stick and see half a dozen termites and pay them little attention. Even if you do notice them, you might just think they're fat ants or maggots with legs. When a winged termite lands on you in your yard, you may swish it away without a second thought. 
  • They don't show themselves for long. A group of winged termites is usually noticeable because of their white wings. But we wouldn't recommend that you wait until you see winged termites. It takes years for a termite nest to create winged reproductives and they only appear for a short time during mating (less than one hour). After mating, they disappear into soil and wood.
  • Signs aren't always visible. Drywood termites create a material called frass. You'll know you have a termite infestation if you see frass. Unfortunately, frass can be hidden in wall, floor, and ceiling voids. As you look for signs of termites in your home, you may never see the frass.

It is a challenge to detect termites. But what about termite damage? When termites attack the wood on your property, won't you see it? Let's take a look. 

Signs Of Termite Damage To Look For Around The House

Most of the damage termites do to wood is on the inside of the wood and is not visible. To detect this damage, you'll need to tap wood with a hammer and listen to see if it sounds hollow. You'll need to do this for subterranean termites, but perhaps not for drywood termites. Drywood termites are more apt to create visible holes in your wood. Unfortunately, you can't count on seeing holes to avoid termite damage. The holes may be hidden in the same way frass is hidden.     

When termites damage your home and you're able to see the damage, they provide subtle clues that will let you know that you have a termite problem and not some other wood-damaging pest or a wood-rotting fungus issue. 

Drywood Termites: These insects prefer hardwood. If you see drywood termite damage, the frass is your clue that termites are the culprits. Termite frass looks like wood pellets that are the size of pepper grains, but it isn't wood. Termite frass is the droppings of termites, which is the same color as the wood the termites are eating. These pellets are also hard, like wood.  

Subterranean Termites: These insects prefer softwood. If you see subterranean termite damage, you'll find mud associated with it. Subterranean termites use mud to patch holes in tunnel walls and create structures called shelter tubes up the sides of foundations.

Early detection is crucial for protecting your property. Perform an inspection at least once a year and continually keep an eye out for workers or winged termites in your yard. Along with routine inspections, take steps to remove attractants to deter all of the termites you don't see.  

We're sure it wouldn't surprise you to learn that termites are attracted to properties that provide wood as a food source, but termites don't only eat wood, and some of the sources of wood they feed on are not obvious. On top of this, there are other factors that attract termites that don't have anything to do with termite food. It is critical to know how to identify and remove factors that attract termites if you hope to protect your property.

Food Termites Eat: Let's start with the greatest attractant. Termites are going to want to live on your property if they can find a food source.

  • Dead branches. Rotting branches are an obvious food choice for termites. What isn't quite so obvious is what to do about branches. When you pick branches up in your yard, store them in a large plastic bin or on top of a material termites can't chew through, such as a rubber mat. Or just remove them.
  • An old fence. Yum. Termites love old fences. Consider replacing your old fences with vinyl fencing. Modern vinyl fence products can look just like wood, and termites don't eat them. It is a win-win. 
  • Scrap wood. When you're done with construction products, you may leave scrap wood on the ground in your yard, or worse, you may decide to bury the scraps. Both will cause your yard to have active termites. Store that wood on something termites can't eat or remove it from your property.  
  • Wood pallets. Do you store stuff on pallets in your yard? If you have wood pallets that sit on the soil, you'll have trouble with termites. Consider getting pallets that are made of plastic rather than wood.  
  • Cardboard and paper products. A pile of cardboard and paper goods is very appetizing to termites. They've even been found feeding on items stored in garages. It is best to put cardboard and paper in plastic totes, no matter where you store them.
  • Clothing. Clothes made of natural fibers, such as cotton, can attract termites. We don't imagine you have a pile of clothes sitting on the ground in your yard but keep in mind that a garage, storage shed, or barn is not a safe place to put a pile of clothes. Store clothing in plastic totes.
  • Certain vegetables. Termites eat cellulose in vegetables. In most cases, they won't attack living plants, so you don't need to worry too much. But it is good to familiarize yourself with what veggies termites may chew on, what kind of damage they do, and how you may prevent them.

How Moisture Attracts Termites: A worker termite has a thin skin that requires constant moisturization. When you address moisture problems, you deter termites.

  • Clean your gutters.
  • Fix broken areas of your gutter system.
  • Thin out dense areas in your landscaping.
  • Water your plants in the morning.
  • Only give your plants the water they need.
  • Put sprinklers on timers.
  • Fix exterior plumbing issues.

Drywood Termite Entry Points: Drywood termites don't chew a hole to get into your home. They use entry points that already exist. Seal these entry points to deter these insects.

  • Use a caulking gun to seal gaps around window and door frames.
  • Use expanding foam to seal gaps around pipes, wire conduits, and other exterior penetrations.
  • Replace or install door sweeps, weatherstripping, and screens as needed.

When you take these steps, you'll have better termite protection than if you do nothing. But, as we already stated, the best way to guard your property is to get professional termite control

Contact The Pros At The First Sign Of Termites In Your House

Why is professional termite control so important? Professionals have specialized knowledge and training to install appropriate pest control products, such as Termidor, Altriset, Dominion, Premise, and Fuse SC. Our current favorite is Fuse SC. It provides the power of Termidor and Premise in one solution. Our service team members are trained and certified to apply these products and maintain them so that you are never without protection.

If you're in Phoenix, contact ACTION Termite & Pest Control. We can guide you toward the best solution for your specific goals and budget. We have the experience and professionalism to provide the termite protection you want.