Warmer spring temperatures and recent heavy rains are the perfect storm for termite swarms in the southeastern United States. Termites love warmer temperatures and a high humidity environment which is why they seek out crawl spaces to reproduce and food/water sources.
Springtime is when termites swarm. Swarmers are an important part of the termite colony life cycle. Swarmers leave the termite quality to reproduce new colonies. Their single purpose in leaving one colony is to help reproduce new colonies. Typically, swarmers leave the nest in flight and fall to the ground. Their wings fall off and they bury themselves into the ground moisture to form a new colony. Most of them die before they reach the moisture line, but it only takes a few to form a new termite colony. A termite colony can have anywhere from 250K to over one million termites!
Termites have a colony organization system. There is a king and queen, swarmers, workers and soldiers. The colony is well defined. The majority of termites are workers and they look like white maggots. Workers leave the colony to find food, which they consume and return to the colony to regurgitate for the rest of the colony’s consumption. The soldiers protect the colony from predators such as ants which are a top predator in the termite world.
Swarming season is the time to get a handle on termite activity
Warmer and wet days are productive for swarmers to spread their potential damage and destruction on houses. Your crawl space can be a primary breeding ground for termites during these seasons. Regular inspections from a reputable termite and pest control company can eliminate potential colonies from breeding under your house and floor joists.
Termites won’t eat metal or masonry materials. Their first choice in diet is wood, paper, carpet, drywall, cardboard, leather and anything that contains cellulose. They only need water and a food source to survive and thrive. Your crawl space, cellar or storage building offers a buffet for termite colonies. Termites are active year round. Signs of termite damage include mud/dirt tunnels up cinder block foundations and along the floor joists above. Termites use the tunnels to transport food back to the originating colony and to gather from water surfaces. A water surface can be a wet/humid basement or crawl space. Termites can infect your flooring and crawl space with a lot of damage in a small amount of time, which is why vigilant professional monitoring and treatment is necessary, especially in the southeast.
The difference between a termite bond and a termite letter
Homeowners and home buyers need to be vigilant in their termite inspections. A termite letter is required by most lending institutions especially in the south. Lenders do not want to approve a loan on a residential property that has active termite activity or damage. They want proof that any termite damage in the past or future is treated by a certified pest control contractor. In South Carolina you need a letter from a licensed and trained termite and pest control company stating if there is active termite damage or previous damage.
A termite bond provides protection against termites and is good for ten years. The termite and pest control company will perform a thorough inspection look for wood destroying insects. For the bond to be active there has to be a treatment. Termites can’t be eternally eradicated, but they can be killed, controlled and treated to prevent recurrences. Most companies inspect and treat the home. The bond requires an annual termite inspection so the issuer can make sure there is no new activity that requires additional treatment. If it occurs the company is standing behind its bond and will retreat the residence. Selling a home with an existing bond is also beneficial for lenders paperwork and home inspections. It establishes that the home has been treated, protected and regularly inspected, plus it is transferable.
Remember termites need food and water sources. Rid your crawl space of cardboard, carpet and anything containing cellulose. Termite inspections may show a high level of moisture underneath your home or building and the termite and pest control company will make recommendations that will help control the amount of moisture in addition to treatment. The industry standard is 20% or fewer moisture readings. Moisture readings can vary between a week in the same area because moisture is constantly seeping into the ground.
The inspection can find signs of termite activity, but they cannot see beyond a visual inspection (for example they cannot see inside the brick/mortar) and look for food and water sources such as boxes, or debris under the house. A termite professional will look for wood rot, another sign of a moisture problem and an invitation to termites.
At Apex Termite and Pest Control we use the EPA approved product Termidor. It’s safe and there is no odor, you won’t breathe it and it’s safe for your family and pets. A termite comes in contact with Termidor and its active ingredient called, Fipronil, is totally undetected by the insect. They get it on their body and return to the colony. Upon return, they groom themselves and regurgitate their food. The colony feeds on it and the Termidor spreads throughout the colony like a virus or bacteria. It starts to spread and eventually wipes out the entire colony. It isn’t a contact kill, but it is by far the best, long-lasting product to eliminate termite infestations in homes.
Apex Termite & Pest Control has been in business since 1957 and we are up to date with the latest termite and pest control technology. The bottom-line with Apex is that we don’t just want to be the best termite and pest control company, we want to be the best service company. And by providing the best customer service we earn the right to be the best termite and pest control company.
Paul Hamilton, Owner
Apex Termite & Pest Control
Greer, SC 29651