Termites cause billions of dollars in damage across the United States every year. They are a homeowner’s nightmare, as you may not know there is an infestation until they have done a lot of damage. Termites can be a big nightmare, but many people still don’t know that much about them or even what they look like. Also, what people may think they know, often isn’t even the truth. Here are some of the most common myths about termites that just aren’t true.
There is no such thing as a white ant, but termites are often mistaken as them and not taken as seriously as they should be. Termites aren’t even in the same family as ants, so once you know the differences, it is easy to tell them apart. Ants can be a variety of colors, from yellow-brown to red to black while termites are normally a white or cream color that may even appear translucent. When termites have wings, the wings are larger than their bodies and they only have two. Winged ants have four wings and they aren’t as uniform as a termite’s wings. Ants also have bent antennae, unlike termites that have straight antennae. A final thing to note is that termites aren’t noticeably segmented like ants are. If you can remember these small differences, then you should be able to tell termites and ants apart.
Deforestation Means Extermination
There may be a tree or trees in your yard that are infested with termites and while that doesn’t mean they are in your house, it could only be a matter of time. Cutting down the affected trees is a smart idea because depending on the damage that the termites inflict, the trees could end up falling and damaging your yard or house in the process. Cutting the trees down does not mean you kill the termites, the colony will just move. Treating the area to ensure all the termites are gone is a good way to protect your house and surrounding areas.
Termites Can Eat Through Concrete
Termites are hard workers, but they can’t work their way through concrete. If you have a concrete foundation or barrier around your house, you still might not be safe though. Termites just need a small crack in the concrete to get through to your house. Once they find a food source they will build a mud tunnel to and from their colony, so the worker termites are protected as they travel. If you can see the concrete, look for small cracks that you can seal to keep termites and other potential pests away. The concrete may be underground, if that is the case, bringing in a professional to check occasionally will allow you to know where termites could potentially get to your house.
Brick Houses are Safe
The majority of brick houses may sit on concrete slabs, but still have a wood frame that you may not see. Creating the mindset that you will never get termites because there is hardly any wood building up your house can make it harder to see if you ever do. Bringing a professional in is always a good idea to make certain that you are termite free and also check to see where they could potentially get in and protect those areas. Being careful is always better than having to pay a lot more money later.
Treatments Last a Lifetime
Your house may have been treated for termites before or when you bought it, but that doesn’t make you automatically safe. Termite treatments normally have a year-long warranty and can last longer, but you never know when the weather or products that you use around the house can affect how long termites will stay away. Paying for termite inspections yearly can allow you the peace of mind in knowing there aren’t any termites or that you caught them early and don’t have as much damage as you could.
Termites are Easy to Find
People believe they will see termites before any real damage is done to their house. This is not always the case, as termites could be living underground or coming from a colony apart from the house. Looking for warning signs, like termite wings, swarmers, and mud tubes is a way to be proactive, but these signs may not be visible. There may be places where wood is thinner or paint is bubbling, but by this time, termites have been at work for quite some time and probably have done a lot of damage. Termites are elusive and can be hard to find because they like to enter through small cracks and crevices, getting an inspection will look for all the possible places termites may be, so they don’t go undetected for years.
Termites are Simply a Pest
Termites can be annoying to deal with, but they play an important part of our ecosystem. They may eat all the good parts of our houses, but many times they also eat a lot of dead wood that then gets put back in the soil, making it more nutrient rich and better for plants. Termites are natural recyclers and are only real trouble when they infest residential areas. Keep in mind that a lot of what we see in nature wouldn’t be possible without termites.
DIY Termite Treatments Work
Most of the chemical termite treatments homeowners can get aren’t strong enough to deal with termite colonies. Even if the treatments do work, knowing where to put them can be another story. Managing chemicals without a knowledge of what they can do or how they work can put your family’s health at risk. Bringing in a professional will ensure termites are being treated properly and in all the correct areas.
Taking action now in keeping your house safe from termites will go a long way in the future. Treatments and inspections may seem expensive, but consider what would happen if you got termites and let them sit for years. Termites can do a lot of damage, but knowing the truth about them and how to prepare will make it much easier to protect your home from now on.