March 7, 2022

What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Termite Control

Protecting your home from termites can keep a roof over your head. These destructive pests can literally eat your house from underneath you. Termites feed on anything containing cellulose, including wood paneling, drywall, carpeting, wallpaper, and many other common building materials. In addition, they can tunnel through plastic and foamboard. It is no wonder these pests cause more damage annually to American homes than fires and storms combined! Proactive termite control is one of the best financial decisions you can make to protect your home investment.

How to Spot Termites  

Termite season in North Carolina begins in late winter and continues until September or October. On warm days, especially after a rain shower, you might notice dark-brown or blackish inserts that look similar to ants with wings buzzing around. Most likely, these are male termites known as "swarmers." Their job is to mate and start new termite colonies. 

Not sure if what you are seeing are ants or termites? Unlike ants, termites don't have a pinched-in waist. The wings of termites are also the same length, while winged ants have longer wings in the front.   

Seeing termites outside your home can be alarming, but your house may still be termite-free. Termites live in the soil through North Carolina. They are present in most soil where there is wood, especially in older neighborhoods. 

If you notice termites in your yard, it's wise to check for signs of a termite infestation by examining your foundation for mud tubes. Mud tubes look like lines of mud that run from the soil around your home to the foundation. Termites use these pathways to burrow into houses. If you discover mud tubes around your home or find termites inside your house, call on an expert for a professional inspection!

Signs of Termite Damage

Spotting signs of termite activity can be challenging until it is too late. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not notice a problem until too late. Pest control experts--like our team at Eastline Pest Management are trained to spot indicators of termite feeding that homeowners often miss.  

If you see notice these signs of termite damage, call on a professional immediately:

  • A thin, gritty grayish-brownish film on drywall, wallpaper, or other building materials.
  • Softwood that you can easily splinter with a knife or screwdriver. 
  • Hollow sounding wood when it's tapped with the handle of a hammer or screwdriver.

How You Can Reduce the Risk of Termite Infestations 

Termite infestations can spread rapidly. Once your home has an infestation, getting rid of them is challenging. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce the risk that your home will attract these pests. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends following these tips to protect your home from termites:

  • Storing firewood and tree or shrub trimmings at least 20 feet away from your house.
  • Reducing moisture in and around your house by maintaining your downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks.
  • Maintaining your roof, water pipes, exterior AC units, and faucets, ensuring there are no leaks that might attract termites.
  • Replacing loose mortar around your home's foundation and weather-stripping around your windows and doors to ensure your home is adequately sealed.
  • Checking your foundation consistently throughout termite season for signs of mud tubes. 
  • Being on the lookout for noticeable changes to the health of wood outside and inside your home.
  • Scheduling an annual inspection by a pest control professional. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by wood-boring insects. Many pest control experts will perform a termite inspection for free or at a low cost unless you require a formal report for a real estate transaction.

An Unbeatable Termite Treatment 

Some pest control specialists swear by the effectiveness of termite baiting systems, while others rave about liquid termite treatments. However, studies have proven that Termidor liquid termite treatment beats out its competition. It is a highly effective termiticide whether your home has an infestation of subterranean termites or you want to protect against future infestations. 

Over ten years of test data have demonstrated that Fipronil–the active ingredient in Termidor–is more effective than other termiticides. Studies have also shown that Termidor reduces termite colonies 6 times faster than stand-alone bait systems. It kills termites in three ways: through ingestion, contact and the "transfer effect." Termidor is transferred from insect to insect when affected termites return through their colonies. Through the transfer effect, it successfully decimates termite colonies.   

This powerful termiticide can only be purchased and applied by licensed pest control professionals who have taken Termidor Certification Training. Eastline Pest Management's team is professionally certified to apply Termidor. In addition, we offer a 10-year termite protection guarantee!

How Effective Are DIY Termite Treatments? 

Have you seen termite bait at your local hardware store or read reviews of DIY termite treatments? Do-it-yourself baiting systems and liquid termiticide can be tempting alternatives to professional pest control. These products seem like affordable solutions, but using them could end up costing you more money in the long run than hiring a professional. 

"Because of the specialized equipment and chemicals needed to effectively and safely treat your home, it's nearly always best to hire a professional," says entomologist Dr. Michael Merchant from Texas A&M University. "For spot treatments, in a very limited area, these products may be as effective as some professional products; however, it takes a professional to thoroughly treat a home. Do-it-yourself termite control projects should be limited to smaller, less valuable structures such as sheds, fence posts, decks and woodpiles."

Since DIY termite bait is usually made with cardboard, it tends to decay and decompose faster than professional termite bait. As a result, it requires replacement every 3 to 4 months, making it as expensive or more than a professional baiting system, according to Dr. Merchant. 

A crucial difference between DIY termite control and professional termite treatment is that do-it-yourself solutions don't include a money-back guarantee or warranty. As a result, if termites damage your home, you are stuck footing the bill since most home insurances won't even cover the damage. In contrast, professional pest control providers offer a money-back guarantee or warranty that will cover termite damage if it occurs. 

Protect your investment in your home from irreversible termite damage! Follow the NPMA's tips to prevent termite infestations, and be on the lookout for termites in and around your home this spring and fall. 

If your home hasn't been inspected for termites this year, schedule an annual inspection by a licensed pest control professional! Taking the time to schedule an appointment could save you thousands of dollars in the future. 

Eastline Pest Management is here to help! We serve residents in New Bern, North Carolina and the surrounding area. If you are concerned about termites, contact us to schedule an inspection!