Termites are the most destructive insect pest of wood in the Houston
area where it is reported to have approximately 16-20 colonies per
acre. In nature, termites are considered important to our ecosystem,
but the financial hardships they cause homeowners are in the billions.
The problems occur when termites feed on the wood in buildings built by
humans. If professional inspections are not done annually, termites
can go undetected for years, consuming wood for their nourishment.
The termites are doing this work for the queen and the good of the colony.
They will eat framing members, trimwork, door casings, wood flooring, cabinets, sheetrock paper, wall
paper, newspaper, books, linens and anything else you can think of
containing natural cellulose.
At certain times of the year, mature termite colonies produce
“swarmers” – the winged adults that fly away from their own colonies.
Swarming usually occurs during the daytime and is simply nature’s way
of reminding you that termites are nearby. Termite swarms may be seen
in the Houston area at any time of the year but the traditional season
is April through June.
The presence of many swarmers (hundreds) in an untreated structure
indicates a likely termite infestation. These flying termites likely
come from a nearby underground nest. If most of the insects are
outdoors, then the nest is likely somewhere in your yard, possibly
near an old tree stump or landscape timbers. If you find most of the
swarmers indoors, then you quite likely have an infestation under/in
you home or business. But in all of these cases, it’s prudent to have
a Pest Management Professional thoroughly inspect the structure.
Termites do millions of dollars in damage to property every year and
the key to termite detection is visualization. You have to be able to
see the tunnels or tubes to know that you have them. You can make
your house easier to inspect and less attractive to termites by
watching these few things:
– Foundation line covered (weepholes in brick):
-soil line too high
-vines covering house
-wood piles up against the house
-siding too low to ground
So if you think you have found termites, do not panic, they are actually
slow eaters. This gives you time to call a professional, this is not
something you want to do yourself. It’s one thing to kill a termite,
it is quite another to kill the entire colony.
It is recommended that you have a home inspected for termites before
you purchase it and annually thereafter.