Termites

termitefacts

More than 365,000 homes in the United States are involved in a fire each year. More than 600,000 U.S. homes suffer termite damage totaling over $1.5 billion annually. That is more damage than is caused by all fires, storms, and earthquakes combined. More than 2 million homes require termite treatment each year. Homeowners insurance can help recover losses from fires, storms and earthquakes, but it is almost impossible to carry insurance against termite infestation. This problem effects many cities in Pennsylvania, including Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Stroudsburg, Lancaster, Reading, Trexlertown, Tannersville and Tamaqua, PA.

Finding out that your home has termites instills a sense of fear among most homeowners. You typically can’t see them, you can’t hear them and frequently only a trained inspector can find signs of infestation. Treatment by the homeowner for the control of termites is virtually impossible. Specialized equipment is used and the experts have the knowledge necessary for control strategies.

Your termite control specialist at Seitz Brothers Termite Control, can provide protection from termite infestation. Termites can be found in almost every state as well as Mexico and parts of Canada. They feed on wood and may also destroy paper products such as books, cardboard boxes, furniture, and various other items. Even buildings with steel framing and masonry  walls are targets because of the wooden door and window frames, wooden support beams (often hidden), cabinets, or shelving within them…

 

How to Tell Termites From Winged Ants

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  • All termites have a “thick waist” where their abdomen is joined to their middle body region (thorax); but all ants have a “pinched-in waist” at that point.
  • All termites have antennae that look like a “string of beads”; but all ants have distinctly “elbowed” antennae.
  • All termites have antennae that look like a “string of beads”; but all ants have distinctly “elbowed” antennae.
  • Termite swarmers have two pairs of long narrow, wings with very few clearly visible veins, and both the front and back pair are nearly equal in size and length. Winged ants have two pairs of wings with several distinct cross veins, shaped like long triangles, and the back pair is much shorter than the front pair.

How Termites Find Their Way Into Your Home

Subterranean termites build nests in the ground. They search (“forage”) for wood (food) farther and farther from their nest as their colony numbers grow. Foragers may make underground tunnels or above-ground “shelter tubes” of mud, feces and debris used to search for new food sources and to connect their nest to their food. They can enter a building without direct wood contact with the soil through such tubes. Termites can enter buildings through cracks, expansion joints, foam insulation below ground, hollow bricks or concrete blocks, or through spaces around plumbing. They can find their way into a structure through an opening as small as 1/32nd of an inch. Any building, whether constructed with a slab, basement or crawl space foundation, can be infested by termites.

In certain areas of the country you may encounter different types of termites, such as Formosan, damp-wood, or dry-wood termites. If your home is infested with one of these termites, it may require different or more extensive treatment procedures including wood treatment or fumigation.

Look For The Signs

Several possible signs of a termite infestation, which a homeowner might see include:

  • Pencil-sized diameter, or larger, mud tubes running across bare concrete or masonry between the soil and any wooden part of your building.
  • Thin, small, papery wings, all the same size and shape, 3/8-1/2 in. long, on your window sill, counter top or floor (especially if it is late Spring and there has been a recent rain)
  • Thin, “bubbled” or distorted areas of paint on wooden surfaces, especially if these feel cool to the touch.
  • Any wooden building parts (especially if they are important support structures) beginning to “sag” unexpectedly.

Preventive Measures You Can Take

There are several things you can do as a home owner to help prevent or avoid termite infestations including:

  • Stack all firewood, lumber or other wooden items, several feet away from your building.
  • Keep all wood supports of porches, patios, decks, or separate buildings more than one foot from contact with your home’s foundation; and use only pressure-treated wood for all construction which contacts the ground. Even treated wood has a limited protection period.
  • Move all wood-containing mulch (even cedar or redwood) and decorative wood chips at least one foot away from your foundations. Sand and stones can be just as attractive and they discourage pest (including termite) harborage next to your building.
  • Repair any leaking water lines or fixtures, especially any that wet any wooden part(s) of your house. Repair any eaves, down-spouts, gables, or shingles which allow wooden parts of your house to get wet even occasionally.
  • Monitor moisture levels and take steps to reduce moisture build-up in any crawl spaces.
  • Relocate any frequently watered garden or flower bed as far away from your home’s perimeter as you can.

Some Termite Trivia

  • The total weight of all the termites on Earth is estimated to be much greater than the total weight of all humans on Earth.
  • Several species of “higher” termites (e.g. Macrotermes Bellicosus) raise their own fungi, inside their nest, as a food source.
  • Termites communicate mainly via chemicals called pheromones, but many (most) species also strike their heads against the sides of their nests, tunnel walls or their own thorax. Variations in frequency and pattern of such “tapping” seem to constitute “messages” which seem to be understood by (at least elicit responses by) other colony members.
  • One Species of termites in Australia, Amitermes meridionalis Frogg, build large flat mounds up to 4 m. tall, called “compass mounds” which are always oriented with narrow ends pointed North-and-South and the large flat sides facing East-and-West.

If you suspect termites, Seitz Bros offers termite inspections for you. As part of our termite treatments and termite control service, we have 3 convenient locations covering places like Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton at our Trexlertown location in the Lehigh Valley; or Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Stroudsburg at our Tannersville office in the Poconos; and Hazleton, Reading, and Lancaster at our Tamaqua Headquarters in Eastern and Central PA. We also service other parts of PA, New Jersey and New York. Call today to schedule an appointment and see why you are calling the best termite inspection, termite treatment and termite control service in PA.