The Struggle With Keeping San Diego Homes Termite-Free

We have every kind of termite in our San Diego service area, which means termite prevention in San Diego is difficult. You must consider drywood termites that attack hardwood and subterranean termites that feed on softwood. It is also necessary to consider how Formosan subterranean termites differ from other subterranean termites. Knowledge is the secret to guarding the wood of your home from termites. Join us as we discuss termite detection, the challenges of termite control, what attracts termites to homes, and what effective termite pest control in San Diego does to stop termites. 

What Does A Termite Infestation Look Like?

termites eating wood in a house

Termites damage your home, but evidence of termite damage is hard to see. These insects damage wood from the inside out. You can have a million termites feeding on the wood of your home and not know it. If you hope to avoid termite damage, you need to be able to locate and recognize signs of termites in your yard. Here are some tips to help you.

Swarmers: When you see a swarm of long-winged insects, you may immediately know you have a termite problem. Winged termites are black or dark orange. They have wings that are teardrop-shaped and hang past their abdomens. In a group, you'll notice these insects. But it is wise to learn how to recognize one termite swarmer all by itself. The most important fact to consider is how small a termite swarmer is. At 3/8 of an inch in length, you may pay no attention to a swarmer that lands on your skin while you're in your yard, but you should. A swarm of swarmers is a warning of a termite problem that has gone on for years. One swarmer is potentially a warning of an impending infestation.  

Wings: Termite swarmers typically last less than thirty minutes. A swarm can come and go in the time it takes you to run to the grocery store. But you may find wings on your property after swarmers disappear. One good place to look for these wings is in spider webs. 

Workers: It is rare to see termite workers in the yard unless you know what they look like and where to find them. If you pick a dead branch up and see 1/8 inch long, pale-colored, fat-looking ants, those aren't ants. You can find termite workers hiding under any termite food source in your yard.

Tubes: When subterranean termites enter your home, you may see shelter tubes. Termites make shelter tubes with saliva and soil, which is basically mud. If you find a line of wiggly mud, about the width of a pencil, running up the side of your home, you likely have a termite infestation. 

Along with locating warning signs outside your home, you also need to know how to find signs of termites in your home. Some of these signs are obvious. Others are not.

Swarmers And Wings: When you have an infestation of termites, you may see swarmers or their shed wings inside your home. It is rare for subterranean termites to appear indoors, but when they do, it is a warning sign of a severe infestation because it indicates the nest is near or underneath the structure. Drywood termite swarmers commonly appear inside homes, which is one reason why drywood termites aren't as destructive as subterranean termites. They're not as sneaky. 

Frass: Drywood termites produce frass. You may see frass on floors, walls, and other surfaces. Frass is another reason drywood termites aren't as destructive as subterranean termites; they don't produce frass. 

Tubes: You may find shelter tubes inside your home. Look for them in humid spaces.

Damage: Termite damage is often hard to detect, particularly subterranean termite damage. In some cases, you may find the holes that drywood termites make in hardwood, such as window and door frames. You'll find subterranean termite damage in damp areas or in locations where moisture-damaged wood is obvious.  

Termite Sounds: You're not likely to hear termite workers eating the wood of your home, but you might hear soldier termites banging their heads on tunnel walls in response to a threat. When ants or other insects enter termite tunnels, the soldiers warn the workers by banging their heads. The sound they make is like a rattling or clicking. 

Termite identification and detection are essential for detecting termites before and after treatments. Often, inspections by untrained individuals are why termites are allowed to continue to damage property. Habitat Protection offers termite inspections complete with WDO reports. We can provide a one-time or yearly inspection to help you catch termites early.   

Why It Is So Hard To Get Rid Of Termites On Your Property

What we see most often is that property owners use methods or products that don't work. In some cases, these treatment methods can make even the problem worse. Let's look at a few examples.

  • Do you think that stacking dead branches in your yard and away from your exterior walls will lure termites away from your home? You should know that providing a food source for termites will only increase termite activity in your yard. Plus, while termite workers feed on the wood pile, they can also feed on your home.
  • Do you think spraying drywood termites and holes created by termites will work to stop them? Doing this only treats the symptom, not the source. You can eliminate termites every day and still have a termite infestation if you don't address the queen at the heart of her colony.
  • Do you think that putting bait stations around your home will stop termites? You should know that some termite baits are better than others. Some are terrible and will only work to attract termites to your property. Professionals use extensively tested products with a real-world track record of success. 

Termites are sneaky pests. When termite control fails, you're not likely to know. A certified termite control professional follows strict manufacturer guidelines outlined in trainings for certifications. After appropriate installation of professional-grade termite control products, your technician will perform routine inspections to ensure that termites don't find a way past your termite protection.    

What Attracts Termites To Homes?

The most obvious attractant for termites is available food sources in your yard. It is common to find a termite-infested tree, log, or stump. Step one is to remove all sources of rotting wood, such as:

  • Dying trees
  • Logs
  • Stumps
  • Campfire wood
  • Scrap wood
  • Construction materials
  • Wood pallets
  • Piles of dead branches

Termites feed on anything that has cellulose. You'll also need to remove piles of cardboard, paper, clothing, and other materials like these. When termites find food in your yard, the colony's queen produces more workers to collect the food.

Once you've removed attractants, consider altering conditions that can attract termites. Here are a few examples of what you can do.

  • Put wood deck posts on concrete foundations or blocks. Doing this will force subterranean termites to create mud tubes on the concrete which will reveal their activity.
  • Replace wood fences with vinyl fencing. As wood fences age, they become more delicious to termites. Termites don't eat vinyl, no matter how old it is.
  • Store dead branches in a rubber or plastic bin to get the wood up off the ground
  • Store campfire wood on a platform or rubber mat to prevent direct access to this desirable food source.
  • Refrain from burying wood in your yard. Even pressure-treated lumber stored in the ground will turn into termite food eventually. Moisture breaks down insect-resistant materials and allows termites to get inside the wood. The longer wood stays in the ground, the greater the attractant it is. 
  • Address moisture problems such as clogged gutters or damaged downspouts. Termite workers are attracted to moist soil.

It is hard work to remove attractants and alter conditions that attract termites. This is why people turn to termite control products. Let a certified termite control professional handle the installation and monitoring of these products to ensure your property is protected.  

The Best Way To Make Your San Diego Home Termite-Free

Habitat Protection offers a long list of termite control solutions to address every kind of termite that can attack your San Diego home and all the termite services you need at every point of home ownership.

  • We provide pre-construction treatments to guard your new home from termite damage.
  • We help homeowners sell their homes by providing termite inspections with a WDO report.
  • We offer borate treatments to treat homes that have a current termite infestation.
  • We install termiticide barriers around homes to stop current infestations and provide ongoing termite detection and colony elimination.
  • We install bait stations for monitoring and colony elimination around structures.
  • We may suggest a fumigation treatment when termites are widespread throughout a structure. Fumigation is like flicking a reset button on termites. One day you have them—the next day, you don't.

Habitat Protection is a full-service termite control provider in the San Diego area. We provide all the services you need for every possible termite issue. We'll guide you toward a termite control solution that will work best for your specific needs and budget. Reach out to us today to schedule a meeting with one of our certified pest control professionals. We're here to help.  

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