Everything you need to know about termites

They silently chew through walls, floors, ceilings and even wallpaper with scissor-like jaws. They feast on wood 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And with upwards of 2 million members in a single colony, they can cause serious and costly damage to a home in a matter of weeks or months.

Drywood termite

While this may sound like the beginning of a horror movie, it is a reality that many homeowners face when they find that their home has been infested with termites. In fact, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage every year. Worse still, is the fact that damage caused by termites is not usually covered by homeowners’ insurance policies, making prevention and education key in protecting your home from termites.

That’s why the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has created the Termite Hub, a central location for everything you “wood” ever want to know about termites – from FAQ’s and prevention tips to current news.

Termite Frequently Asked Questions

Termite Fact Sheets

Wood destroyed by termites

A termite swarm indicates that a colony is nearby

Close-up view of a termite swarm

In the News: Recent NPMA Termite Coverage

NPMA Termite Press Room:

Termite Frequently Asked Questions


What are termites?

Termites are wood-destroying insects. Their presence dates back to the dinosaurs. While they play an important role in nature, experts estimate they cause $5 billion of property damage each year.


Are there different kinds of termites?/

Yes, the three major kinds of termites in the United States are dampwood, drywood andsubterranean. Dampwood termites commonly live in heavily forested areas of the country as they prefer wet wood; while, drywood termites, much more rare in the United States, prefer extremely dry wood. Subterranean termites require moist environments, live mainly in the soil and are the most destructive species.


How do you recognize termites?

Depending on your geographical location, termite swarms should be visible in the early spring. Termite swarms can be confused with flying ants. Telltale signs of termite infestation include soft wood in the home, mud tubes in the interior or exterior of your home (often near the foundation), and darkening or blistering of wood structures.


How much damage do termites cause?

Termites work 24 hours/7 days a week at damaging the wood in and around a structure. And, while they cause $5 billion in damage each year, there is no reason to think that termites cannot be controlled.


When does a homeowner see termites?

Termites swarm in the early spring, depending on their geographical location.


What can a homeowner do to prevent termites?

The most important thing is to remove the conducive conditions termites need to survive. Termites love moisture; avoid moisture accumulation around the foundation of your home.Prevent termites by diverting water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents. Be sure to remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., left in place after the building was constructed. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building. Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil. An 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal. It doesn’t hurt to routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of termite damage.


How are termites controlled?

A pest control professional will come in and treat the problem so that you can live comfortably in your home.


What is the most effective type of termite treatment?

The National Pest Management Association and the entire industry are committed to providing highly effective treatment options for all pest issues. The most effective type of treatment depends upon the severity of the infestation, the species of termite, and the location and construction of the home or building. A trained and licensed pest control professional can assess each infestation separately and recommend a rigorous treatment plan that will effectively control the termite population.


How difficult are termites to treat?

Termites are nearly impossible for homeowners to treat on their own. On the other hand, pest control professionals have the training, expertise and technology to eliminate termite infestations.

Types of Termites

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas aboveground that can contain up to 2 million members. They build distinctive “mud tubes” to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air. Termite colonies are organized into castes depending on tasks — workers, soldiers and reproductives. The characteristics of a subterranean termite are dependent on the termite’s role in the colony. Cream-colored Worker subterranean termites are 1/8 to 3/8’s of an inch in length. Soldier subterranean termites are of a similar body length, but are distinguished by their powerful mandibles. Solider termites have cream-colored bodies and brown heads. Reproductive subterranean termites are approximately one inch long.

Drywood Termites

These social insects infest dry wood and do not require contact with the soil Dampwood Termites As the name suggests, dampwood termites infest wood with a high moisture content. Dampwood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species. Bodies of king and queen dampwood termites range in size from 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch long and have two pairs of wings that are equal in size and shape and extend beyond their abdomen. Nymphs range up to 5/8 inch and worker dampwood termites are up to 3/4 inch.
Formosan Termites Originally from China, Formosan termites are the most voracious, aggressive and devious of over 2,000 termite species known to science. Formosan termites are a subterranean species of termite. Swarmer formosan termite are about 1/2 inch in overall length, including their wings

*Information provided National Pest Management Association – http://pestworld.org/termite-pest-control

Buzz Kill Pest Control has 20 years of experience in treating termites in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. We provide termite control and termite services for commercial, residential and industrial structures in both pre-construction and post construction phases of building. We offer liquid or conventional treatments along with baiting systems that include products like Termidor, Talstar, Advance Termite Bait System and Firstline Termite Defense System.

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