Welcome to Termite Awareness Week! Termites are a fact of life in Georgia. Termites cause millions of dollars in damage to structures each year and primarily residences. No structure, not even brick or concrete slab construction, is immune to their damage. Termite infestation is often difficult to detect so regular inspections are important. Termites work silently and invisibly, sawing into your floor joists, cutting into your wall studs, hollowing out the heart of your home and hiding the damage until it’s too late. One of the greatest hazards any homeowner faces is termites. Termites cause more damage each year than fires, storms, and earthquakes combined.
Termites survive by eating wood, paper, fiberboard, cotton fabrics, and other cellulose products. Termites can actually threaten the structural integrity of your house, and this is where the danger lies. Houses and other buildings provide termites with the ideal combination of warmth, moisture, and food. They are small enough to gain entry into hidden areas of basements, crawl spaces, and concrete slabs, through openings as small as 1/32nd of an inch.
Types of Termite in Georgia
The Eastern Subterranean termite is the most common and most widely distributed termite in North America. It is a problem for home owners from southern Ontario in Canada, south throughout the Eastern United States and as far west as Montana.
This native american pest feeds on such cellulose materials as structural wood, wood fixtures, paper, books, and cotton. Occasionally, it will even attack the roots of shrubs and trees.
A mature colony of Eastern Subterranean termites can range from a low of 20,000 to a high of 5 million workers, with an average of 300,000. The colony’s queen will add 5,000 to 10,000 eggs per year to the total.
While Eastern Sub termite colonies are not the largest termite colonies you can find, there will often be more than one of them working in a single building.
Signs of a termite infestation:
- A temporary swarm of winged insects in your home or from the soil around your home
- Any cracked or bubbling paint or frass (termite droppings)
- Wood that sounds hollow when tapped
- Mud tubes on exterior walls, wooden beams or in crawl spaces
- Discarded wings from swarmers
- Signs of Easterns include dirt-colored tubes built to serve as protected paths from the earth to the wood the termites are feeding on, and the translucent wings shed by the kings and queens during swarming.
Recommendations for homeowners
- Check wooden structures for damage.
- Check water drainage sites to ensure they remain cleared and effective.
- Get rid of rotting wood and debris near the home.
- Monitor the collection of moisture by fixing pipes, gutters, downspouts, A/C units and other fixtures susceptible to leaking.
- Caulk around utility lines or pipes.
- Place screens on outside vents.
Facts about Eastern Subs
- An average Eastern Sub termite colony can consume 5 grams of wood per day, the equivalent of 2 1/3 linear feet of a 2’x4′ pine board annually.
- Colony growth is slow, and it may take years before swarmers are produced.
- Eastern Sub termites can enter buildings through cracks less than 1/16″ wide.
- The termite colony is made up of different types (castes) of termites – each with separate work responsibilities.
- Although Eastern Sub termite colonies are largely located in the ground below the frost line, secondary colonies can exist above ground, and examples of true above ground colonies existing without any ground contact have been seen. However, such above ground colonies have access to moisture and often the source is a roof or plumbing leak.
- Eastern Sub termites will often build mud tubes for travel between their colonies and their food sources.
- The king and queen in a colony can live for 10 to 30 years, while workers live for about two years.
If you have any signs of termites or any other pests or want an inspection, give Houseman Services a call at 866-964-PEST?
Houseman Services is the only complete service company in the Athens, GA area. We provide Weed control, fertilization, shrub care, mulch & pine straw, sod, annual plantings, irrigation, and commercial & residential lawn maintenance. We are also state certified and licensed in wood destroying organisms (termite control), household pest control, public heath, and turf & ornamental weed control. We are licensed to control and treat mosquitoes, termites, all pest problems and turf & ornamental weed control. Contact the professionals at Houseman Services and set up a free inspection of your yard. We have been servicing homes and businesses in the Athens, Clarke County area since 1985!