Is Your House Infested with Termites?

by | Sep 25, 2013

A termite infestation is probably the worst thing that can happen to your home. Well, that is excluding a fire or a flood, of course.  Termites cause over $30 billion worth of damage in the US each year.  That’s a lot of damage! In fact, an average sized termite colony can eat up to 5 grams of wood a day.

Now that you know termites are a real problem, how do you know if you have them and what do you do to get rid of them?

Is my house infested?

There are 3 tell signs of termites.

The first of these is swarmers.  Swarms happen when some of the termites grow wings, and take flight, leaving their old colonies behind to establish new colonies.   Drywood termites swarm in the late summer to early winter months, where as Subterranean termites swarm in the spring to early summer.   Homeowners will often see dead swarmers in windowsills as they try to leave their old colony or the wings of the swarmers after they have already established a new colony. Termite Swarmer

Another thing to look for is shelter or mud tubes.  These tubes are a sign that your home is being invaded with Subterranean termites.  Unlike Drywood termites, Subterranean termites live in the ground and need moisture to survive.  They build mud tubes from the ground up to the wood they wish to invade.

Mud Tubes


Termite mud tubes

The last thing to look for if you think your home is being invaded, is termite pellets.  These are tiny, round smooth pellets, almost like sawdust,  that the termites will kick out their tunnels through a small hole in the wall or ceiling, also called a kick-out.  If you start seeing small piles of pellets near the walls of your home, call a professional for an inspection right away.

Termite Pellets


How can you get rid of them?

Termite Pellets

There are a few different methods when it comes to exterminating termites.


Probably the most well known technique is fumigation or tenting.  This is considered a primary treatment. This method requires the homeowner to move out of the home for a few days while a tent is placed over the home and a poisonous gas is pumped in.  This is the most effective method for getting rid of termites completely (as well as any other pest that might be running around your home) but it is only used when the home is completed invaded and termite evidence is found in several different areas of the home.

Secondary treatments for termites are heat treatment and local treatments.

Heat treatment is mostly used when the termites are confided to a certain wall or room of the home, or the homeowner does not want to tent their home.  With a heat treatment, a propane heater is used to heat up the area in which the termites are located to 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit for about 4 hours.


Local treatments are also used to exterminate termites.  Local treatments are done for one of three reasons:

  1. The infestation does not appear to extend into an inaccessible area
  2. The infestation appears to be minimal and in accessible areas
  3. The homeowner does not wish to have their home fumigated

For a local treatment, we drill into the infested wood and treat it with a termiticide. Also we can do a topical spray with a chemical that will kill termites as they enter or exit the wood.

Fumigation, heat treatments and local treatments are used for a drywood termite infestation.

Subterranean termites require different techniques. Because subterranean termites are live underground, we have to treat underground.  We do this in two different ways.

The first is a slab injection.  With a slab injection we drill into the slab foundation and insert chemical.  The other method is a trench and treat, in which a trench is dug along side your home and chemical is inserted into the soil.

Whether you are seeing evidence of termites, selling your home or just want peace of mind, call Black Knight Termite and Pest Control today to set up an inspection.


Black Knight Termite and Pest Control


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