Each year, termites cause roughly $5 billion in damage to homes in the United States. In this blog, we will detail what termites look like, what signs to look for, and control methods for both preventing them from getting to your home as well as how to eliminate them if they have already entered your home so you can better protect yourself from these pests.
What Does a Subterranean Termite Look Like?
A subterranean termite is a small, pale, typically white or light-colored, insect that is typically about ¼” – ½” in length with soft bodies and no wings. They have a broad waist and straight antennae, which are characteristic of termites. They are usually not as active as ants or other insects, and their primary food source is wood which is where you can usually find them creating their infestation.
Soldier subterranean termites are also white or light-colored, but they have a slightly larger, harder head than the workers. They are responsible for defending the colony and have mandibles, or jaws, that are larger than the workers’.
The reproductive termites are also known as alates, or more commonly swarmers. They are slightly larger than the workers, have two pairs of wings of equal size, a pale white body, and straight antennae. Swarmers are responsible for leaving the colony to establish new colonies.
It is important to note that termites are commonly mistaken for ants, but there are some key differences. Ants have elbowed antennae, while termites have straight antennae, and ants are generally larger and more active than termites. If you have questions, it is best to consult with a specialist at Preferred Pest and Lawn in Columbia, MO. If you suspect you have fallen victim to a termite infestation, we are trained and certified to properly identify the presence of termites and recommend a course of action.
When is the Swarming Season for Subterranean Termites?
The swarming season for subterranean termites typically occurs in the spring, usually between the months of March-May, however they also have a second swarming season usually between August-October. This is when the reproductive termites leave the colony to establish new colonies.
What are the Differences Between Subterranean Termites and Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter ants and subterranean termites are both common pests that cause damage to wood structures, but they are different in several key ways:
- Appearance: Carpenter ants are larger and darker, usually measuring between ¼”-½” for the workers and up to ⅝” for the queen, while subterranean termites are small, pale-colored insects that are typically about ¼”-½” in length.
- Diet: Carpenter ants do not eat wood. Rather, they feed on insects and other small organisms, as well as sweet substances such as nectar and honeydew, while subterranean termites primarily feed on wood.
- Nesting habits: Carpenter ants nest inside wood, creating galleries and tunnels to move around, while subterranean termites live in underground colonies and build mud tubes to travel above ground.
- Damage: Carpenter ants remove wood to create galleries and tunnels, leaving the surface looking rough and uneven, but they do not weaken the structure. In contrast, subterranean termites consume wood from the inside out leaving behind a thin veneer of wood on the surface which weakens the structure.
- Swarming: Carpenter ants swarm in the spring and summer, usually in the evening, while subterranean termites swarm in the spring and fall, usually between the months of March-May and August-October.
- Wings: Carpenter ants have two pairs of wings which differ in size, while subterranean termites have two pairs of equally-sized wings.
Preferred Pest and Lawn in Columbia, MO utilizes two control methods: Trelona(ATBS) termite prevention stations as well as liquid termite treatments for customers experiencing active infestations.
What is Trelona(ATBS)?
Trelona bait stations are a termite bait used to prevent termite colonies by eliminating them prior to entering your home.
Here are some facts about Trelona bait stations:
- Active ingredient: Trelona bait stations contain a slow-acting, non-repellent insecticide called novaluron, which is specifically designed to eliminate subterranean termites.
- Baiting system: Trelona bait stations are designed to be placed in the ground around a structure, and they use a cellulose-based bait that is attractive to termites. When the termites consume the bait, they also ingest the novaluron, which is what kills the colony.
- Effectiveness: Trelona bait stations have been shown to be highly effective at preventing and eliminating subterranean termite colonies, and they are considered to be one of the most effective baiting systems available.
- Long-term protection: Trelona bait stations provide long-term protection against termites, as the active ingredient remains effective for several years.
- Safety: Trelona bait stations are considered to be safe for use around humans and pets, and it poses minimal risk to non-target organisms.
- Professional use: Trelona bait stations are intended for use by professional pest control operators only. They are not sold over the counter, and it is highly recommended to contact Preferred Pest and Lawn for the installation, monitoring, and maintenance of the Trelona bait stations.
**It is very important to note, Trelona bait stations should be used in conjunction with a comprehensive termite control program, including regular inspections.
What is a Liquid Treatment for Active Subterranean Termite Infestations?
A liquid treatment for subterranean termites is a type of termite control method that involves applying a liquid insecticide to the soil around the foundation of a building in order to create a treated zone that termites cannot cross without contacting the chemical. The treatment can also be applied to areas where termites are known to be present, such as around plumbing penetrations, expansion joints, and other potential entry points. The liquid insecticide is designed to target and kill subterranean termites, effectively eliminating the colony.
The liquid treatment can be applied by a professional pest control operator using specialized equipment, and the active ingredient in the liquid will vary depending on the product. Common active ingredients in liquid termite treatments include Fipronil, Imidacloprid, and Chlorfenapyr. Preferred Pest and Lawn in Columbia, MO utilizes Termidor(HE) which is the best and longest lasting chemical on the market.
**Again, it is very important to note that a liquid treatment for subterranean termites should be used in conjunction with a comprehensive termite control program, including regular inspections, and it’s best to consult with Preferred Pest and Lawn in Columbia, MO to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.
What is Termidor(HE)
Termidor HE (High Efficiency) is a liquid termiticide and insecticide used to control subterranean termites and other wood-destroying insects. Here are some facts about Termidor HE:
- Active ingredient: Termidor HE contains Fipronil, a non-repellent active ingredient that is undetectable to pests, making it more effective as pests don’t know they need to avoid it.
- Application method: Termidor HE is applied as a liquid treatment to the soil around the foundation of a building, creating a treated zone that termites and other insects cannot cross without contacting the chemical.
- Effectiveness: Termidor HE has been shown to be highly effective at controlling and eliminating subterranean termite colonies, and it’s considered one of the most effective liquid termiticides on the market.
- Long-term protection: Termidor HE provides long-term protection against termites, as the active ingredient remains effective for several years.
- Safety: Termidor HE is considered to be safe for use around humans and pets when applied according to the label instructions.
- Professional use: Termidor HE is intended for use by professional pest control operators, therefore it is not available for over the counter purchase. It is highly recommended to contact a professional for the application and evaluation of the Termidor HE chemical.
If you think you might have an infestation or are interested in a preventative termite service in Columbia, MO, give Preferred Pest and Lawn a call at (573) 823-9269 to get your free quote!
Preferred Pest & Lawn – 925 Sondra Ave. Columbia, MO 65202
Phone: 573-823-9269; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org