In Arlington, the termites we battle are subterranean termites. They're sneaky. They're destructive. And, if you don't have a plan, they can eat you out of house and home, literally. Let's take a look at a few things you can do to deter these wood-damaging insects and discuss the methods that work to get complete control of termites before they eat into your equity.
It should come as no surprise that subterranean termites will feed on wood in your yard. It's what they do. But what you might not know is that termite workers don't just feed on one source at a time. While they're eating a wood source in your yard, they can also be feeding on your home. It is also important to understand that an abundance of food sources will help a termite colony grow faster. Your first and most important goal should be to remove wood sources in your yard if you're able to do so. Here are some examples.
- Pick up dead branches in your yard. These are a primary food source for subterranean termites.
- Refrain from stacking branches in your yard. If you have a pile of dead branches, you can be sure termites know about it. If you're saving branches to use in a backyard campfire, consider putting them on an elevated platform.
- Remove leaf litter from your landscaping and blow leaves out from underneath your deck, porch, patio and exterior stairs. While decaying leaves aren't necessarily a preferred food source, they will do in a pinch. And while termite workers are feeding on the leaves under your deck, they may notice the wood of your deck and start feeding on that instead.
- Remove logs, stumps, and dying trees.
- Pick up construction materials, or elevate lumber you're storing in your backyard.
- Address any wood-to-soil contact, such as deck supports or fence posts. Put supports on stone or concrete and consider replacing wood fencing with a termite-resistant material.
Subterranean termites need moisture because they dry out easily. When they explore your yard, they'll be drawn to damp soil. If you have moisture issues, it can promote termite activity and lead to wood rot, which will increase your problems with termites.
- Make repairs to damaged gutters, splash blocks and downspouts.
- Have your gutters cleaned out to prevent blockages.
- Address unnecessary vegetation in your landscaping.
- Avoid putting down mulch that is too thick. This traps moisture underneath.
- Give your plants only the water they need.
- Repair plumbing issues, leaky hoses, and damaged sprinklers.
Your greatest tool in the war on subterranean termites is routine inspections. Here are a few ways you can deter termite activity:
- These termites create shelter tubes on foundation walls and other surfaces. These tubes will run from the ground up to the wood. You'll have to roll your sleeves up and get dirty to do this job properly. You need to inspect your entire perimeter, even under your deck or in the crawl space under your home.
- Look for mud on wood. When termite workers accidentally breach tunnel walls, they use soil and saliva to seal those holes. You may notice this mud material on wood that has termite activity inside.
- You may be able to find worker termites if you have wood sources in your yard. Pick up a dead branch and examine it closely. If you see tiny, white insects that look like maggots with legs, you've found termite workers.
- You might notice wood splintering or exposed tunnels near moist soil. Look in dark, damp areas to find damage.
- You may be able to detect termites by tapping on wood timbers. If a timber looks solid, but sounds hollow, that's not a good sign.
- In the spring, termite nests release winged termites into the air. These winged termites are called swarmers because they swarm together during the mating process. If you see lots of black insects with long white wings, be aware that you're seeing termites. This is usually a warning sign of a current infestation.
- You may not see swarmers because swarms don't last for more than 30 minutes. If you miss the swarm, you might find shed wings on your property. Look on the ground, on surfaces, and in spider webs for these wings.
What Works To Control Termites
There are two trusted methods for colony elimination and protection from termite damage. They are liquid treatments and bait station installation. We strongly recommend that you hire a certified professional to install professional-grade products around your home. There are far too many ways DIY termite control can fail and, if it does, you're not likely to know it.