In part 1 of this series on preventing termite problems, we talked about some of the unique conditions in Houston that create favorable breeding grounds for new termite colonies. In part 2 we’ll discuss some of the warning signs to watch for.
Warning signs found inside your home or business may include mud tubes, stains along walls, insect wings around window sills, door frames and more. A more serious and noticeable indication would be finding a soft spot on a wall. Often, however, you may never see the warning signs even after years of termite infestation because these pests are known to stay out of sight even while literally eating your home out from under you.
As mentioned earlier, part of the challenge when dealing with termites is identification. Swarming termites may be easily confused with flying ants. However, termites may not always threaten your home by air; certain types of these pests represent a threat by ground too. The most common types of termites found in Houston, Texas include subterranean, drywood and Formosan.
Subterranean termites live in underground colonies. To travel above ground, they build dirt or mud tubes to provide themselves protection from the elements and predators. Homeowners may spot these tell-tale tubes but they may not always be in visible locations. Drywood termites do not live underground or build tubes, but rather they build their colonies in wood. Evidence these pests leave behind are pellet-like waste remains that appear similar to sawdust (or actual sawdust from wood damage). Formosan subterranean termites also live underground, but compared to their other subterranean cousins build much larger colonies with more destructive risks. Formosan termite colonies may have as much as ten times the population as common subterranean termites.
In order to correctly identify the termite type and distinguish from ants, the observer must know what to look for. Termites have two body segments while ants have a segment connecting the thorax to their abdomen. Termites have curved antenna versus ant antenna which have bends. However, as a homeowner if you feel you’re not up to the challenge of correctly distinguishing among types of insects – or, more importantly – if you have reason to suspect ANY type of bug infestation, seek professional help! The damage and cost associated with pest infestation, in particular with your home’s foundation, can be severe. So the question is – how to keep termites out of your Houston area home?