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The Beast That Never Sleeps: Termite Activity During The Winter

Termite activity
November 1, 2017

Termite activity can be any homeowner’s nightmare. Termites are still active during this point in time and continue to do so despite cold temperature. During the winter, termite colonies will move further into the ground evidently in colder climates. Foraging tunnels may be somewhat deeper for those species that travel near the soil surface, and food sources that are exposed to cold temperatures may be abandoned.

In heated buildings or basements with heating involved, termite activity will not decrease. Queens will lay eggs during the warmer months in varying amounts depending on the breed. Because of this, it is possible that termites may have found their way into your home. Granted, you will not see swarms of termites during a three-month period between December and February, unless you live in Florida.

The following signs indicate that you have a termite activity within your home:

Discarded Wings

Termites constantly shed their wings following fertilization periods. Generally, these wings can be found near closed windows, doors and other access points. If you do notice these discarded wings, consider the following parameters. Check to see if the wings themselves are from termites. Ants also in some cases possess wings, but these tend to be shorter sets. A termite’s wings are longer than the thorax, abdomen and the body itself.

Mud Tubes

Termites require certain temperatures and weather conditions to survive. They need a warm and humid environment in order to continue existing. Often termites will create mud tubes found at the base of your home. These tubes are small approximately the size of a pencil, but in some cases can be slightly larger in width.

There are actually four different types of mud tubes. The tubes are constructed of feces, saliva and dirt. They consist of the following:

  • Exploratory Tubes
    • As the name suggests, termites use these tubes to explore and search for sources of food. These tubes will not connect to wood, but are found on concrete sections of the foundation.
  • Working Tubes
    • These tubes serve as a means of transporting the termite workers to the food source. These tubes are the most common and run between ¼ or 1 inch diameter.
  • Swarm Tubes
    • This tube serves as an escape route for termites during a swarm.
  • Drop Tubes
    • These tubes are connected to food sources and wood. They will take the appearance of a stalagmite formation.

To confirm that these tunnels are associated with termites, consider this test method. With a knife or similar object, cut the tube along the approximate middle section. These mud tubes can be easy split down the middle. If termites do begin to flee from the tube and it is reconstructed in a couple of days after, you most likely have a termite infestation.

Wood Damage

Termites often seek the cellulose found within wood. This is their food source and their status as pests. If you notice any long grooves along any wood sections of your house, you more than likely have a termite problem. Termite damage can create structural damage to a home and potentially cause future problems.

How to Combat Termites

Before you decide to conduct any counter-measures against termites, examine the following steps.

  • Remove any sources of food. This means removing any sources of wood on the outside of your home such as firewood, lumber debris, paper and other wood related debris.
  • Make sure that there are screens placed on outside vents and windows
  • Inspect any additional wood structures on the house such as decks, porches and any structures made from wood

If you prefer a non-chemical solution to combating termites, there are options available. Installing a barrier around your foundation that is sand could slow down termite activity. Sand is a termite’s deterrent and can prevent entry into the home. Combined with steel mesh on any vent, this can be an effective solution. Certain fungi and nematodes have also been shown as being effective at eliminating a termite colony.

There are a number of chemical solutions available on the market. These include:

  • Liquid Pesticides
  • Building Materials infused with a pesticide
  • Specialized wood treatments

When applying any pesticide, it is wise to follow the exact instructions that the product specifies.

If possible, attempt to begin these measures prior to the winter season beginning. This could save you much pain and suffering.

Call Boz Pest Control today for more information on termite activity!

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