Did you know that termites cause roughly 5 billion dollars worth of property damage every year? Most Mississippi homeowners don’t even realize they have termites until it is too late. Unfortunately, this damage is not covered by any type of homeowner’s insurance.
That means that an unexpected infestation can put you in a serious financial bind. One way to prevent these costly situations is by investing in termite protection for your home. Reputable termite companies will also include an annual termite bond that includes re-treatment for termites at no cost.
Termite protection systems, like the Trelona ATBS bait system, can wipe out colonies before they become a problem. Termite baiting systems are fairly new to the market and this cutting-edge technology offers a number of benefits for homeowners.
In this article, we’ll discuss ways to protect your home from termites. We’ll also talk about termites and how they operate. Let’s get started!
How Many Termites Are There Around Your Home?
Central heating has allowed the termite population in the United States to explode. Current studies indicates there are an average of thirteen to fourteen termite colonies per acre. In each colony, there are hundreds of thousands of termites. Do the math! Right now there are millions of hungry termites around all of our homes.
In some cases, this number can reach one million. This means that there are truly astronomical amounts of underground termites throughout the country, depending on the climate, soil condition, and food supply.
As such, there’s no question that there are termies all around your home. The question is whether they are already inside your home or not. Protecting your most valuable asset, your home, is critical. Because of this, you should always perform a termite inspection before you purchase a home AND invest in ongoing termite protection for your home.
As we’ll see in the next section, termites can cause massive amounts of damage if colonies established near the foundation of your home make their way inside.
What Kind of Damage Do Termites Cause Without Termite Protection?
Any wood that is in contact with the ground is especially vulnerable to a termite attack. And don’t think that your concrete foundation will protect you. Subterranean termites can create tunnels through the support beams in concrete. Termites love moisture! Pay close attention to areas in your home with high moisture content or around your home that may be holding water.
Once they’re inside your home it’s an all-out buffet for termites. Any structure in your home that’s made of wood is vulnerable — ceiling joists, structural beams, floor joists, and wall studs are popular targets.
Even non-wooden material like insulation and plaster is open season. Unfortunately, cosmetic damage is the least of your worries. Termites eat at wood from the inside out. So, any exterior damage is likely evidence of serious support damage.
The cost of this damage depends on the extent of the infestation. You may be able to attach some new wood to the damaged area for minor damage. Unfortunately, many termite repairs are much more extensive and can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in major structural repairs. Serious damage will require entirely new wood if you want to maintain a structurally stable house.
What Are Termites and How Do You Identify Them?
Termites are an insect that resemble ants in many ways. They’re subterranean, work in colonies and even look like them. However, they differ in their food source. Termites eat wood to absorb the cellulose found inside.
A termite colony is divided into a clear caste system. At the bottom of the caste are the workers. These termites are responsible for gathering food, feeding the other termites, and building the nest.
Termite workers make up the largest population of the colony and they’re responsible for most of the structural damage that occurs in homes. Next up on the caste system are the soldier termites.
These termites can be identified by their large heads and mandibles. Their sole job is to protect the colony. At the top of the caste system are the reproductives. This includes the king and queen of the colony, but also winged alates.
The king and queen are responsible for finding a moist cell and laying eggs. When the colony is ready to expand, then alates, or winged swarmers, fly off to a new location.
Swarmers are the type of termites that people usually see out in the open. You can spot them by their identical narrow wings. Termite swarmers are most commonly seen during the spring around window and door frames. If you need help identifying them, visit the EPA’s official resource.
The Warning Signs of Termites in Your Home
Usually, the way most people discover termites is through the presence of swarmers and/or visible damage to their home. Termites eat up through the subfloor. So, you can expect water-like damage signs. Bubbles, scratches, scarring, and blisters are common signs.
Another way you can tell is by tapping on the wood. Termites consume wood from the inside out. So, if you have an infestation, then a tap should reveal a hollow or paper-thin sound. You can also look around your yard for evidence of termites.
One way that termites travel from area to area is with the use of mud tubes. These pencil-thin tunnels that allow them to burrow into your home. The goal of every termite colony is to grow and expand.
When the colony is large enough, winged termites will fly off to settle elsewhere and establish new colonies. When they fly these winged termites(termite swarmers) leave behind the scale-like structure of their wings. Look for these on the floor or in places like spider webs.
Finally, the last way you can spot a termite infestation is simply by listening. Termites are fairly noisy eaters. In particular, the soldiers often make loud clicking sounds. If you hear anything resembling clicking, then contact an exterminator immediately.
Most types of termites are native subterranean termites. Unfortunately, if you live in the southern United States, then you may be susceptible to Formosan termites. This invasive species is much more aggressive than native termites such as the more common Eastern subterranean termite. Formosan termites are known for their ability to quickly infest a structure damaging its structural integrity.
As such, they consume much more wood than other termite species. If you want to learn more ways of identifying and dealing with termites, make sure to check out this article on our blog.
How Does a Termite Contract Work?
A termite contract(or bond) is a maintenance agreement made between a pest company specializing in termite control and you. Termite bonds are state-specific and can vary in services covered. Depending on the terms of your contract, an inspector will come out to your house on an annual basis to conduct a termite inspection and renew your termite contract or bond.
If an infestation is discovered during the time your property is under a termite bond, the pest company is required by law to come back and re-treat at no cost to the homeowner. Think of a termite bond like insurance: you hope you never need it but are glad when it turns out you do.
The terms of the termite contract can vary based on the type of termite system installed, bait or liquid. Termite bait systems are checked during each annual termite inspection. Bait that has been consumed or is contaminated will be replaced at the time of the inspection.
As we mentioned, there is such a large population of termites in the United States that it’s not a question of if your house will be hit, but when. As such, a termite contract should be viewed more like an insurance policy to protect against potential damage.
Just like it’s reckless to drive a car without insurance, it’s dangerous to own a home without a termite contract. If you don’t have a termite contract, then visit this page to figure out what to do.
How Long Does My Pre-Construction Liquid Termite Treatment Last in My Home?
Ideally, before the construction of your home the soil on your property was treated with a liquid termiticide. In Mississippi, most local building codes require a liquid termite treatment prior to pouring the slab for your home. This essentially is a chemical barrier sprayed before the installation of your home foundation and driveway.
While this type of termite prevention treatment is ideal for new homes, its termite control doesn’t last forever. The exact amount of time depends on the specific type of termiticide used and the location of the property. You can learn more about the different types of liquid treatments, and their lifespan, in this helpful study. On average these types of chemicals can remain functional for three to seven years depending on which termiticide is used and the skill of the termite company making the application.
After that time period, the liquid termiticide application will need to be repeated. Unfortunately, post-construction liquid treatments are difficult to perform. Liquid termiticide applications require digging around your home’s foundation as well as drilling and cutting through concrete. If these applications are not done properly, they may leave your home vulnerable to hungry termites. Just one small gap in the termiticide barrier application is all termites need to get into your home.
Other things to consider: a foundation drain near a body of water can cause liquid treatment to drain out. If there’s a well or source of drinking water, then these treatments are illegal under municipal law. The alternative to liquid termiticides is to use the latest cutting-edge technology for termite prevention, termite baiting systems.
What are Termite Baiting Systems?
As their name suggests, termite baiting systems are designed to distribute bait to the worker termites. These workers then distribute the bait to the rest of the colony. Termite bait systems are unobtrusive bait stations installed around the permiter of your home at 10 to 20 foot intervals.
It’s important to note that this is a long term solution to killing termite colonies. Why? Because bait systems use insect growth regulators instead of traditional insecticides. These chemicals are intentionally slow-acting so they get distributed to the entire colony. Traditional termiticides may quickly kill termites that come in contact with them; however, the termiticide is never transferred back to the majority of termites in the nest.
Termite baits affect the worker termites that are growing and molting, not the reproductives or soldiers. This is because the goal is to starve the colony. After a few months, the workers will begin to die in large numbers.
Eventually, there will be no food for the reproductive and the soldiers and the colony will perish. As such, it can take months or even seasons to fully work. If you want to learn more about how termite bait systems work as an alternative to liquid termiticide treatments, then check out this guide here.
Advantages of Termite Baiting Systems
There are a lot of advantages to using a termite baiting system over liquid treatments. For one thing, baiting systems are more compatible with post-construction homes. No one likes the idea of digging around or drilling through the foundation of their home. The holes used to bury termite bait stations are much smaller and can be placed around obstacles such as trees, utility lines, irrigation, and outside A/C units. This flexibility makes termite baiting systems discreet and impossible to notice.
Since they don’t require extensive digging and drilling around a home, termite baiting systems can be more affordable over the long-term. Termite bait systems and stations do not need to ever be replaced(unless damaged)! Remember, liquid termiticide applications have a finite lifespan and then must be repeated every few years. Alternatively, termite baiting systems are easy to maintain and effective for the lifetime of the home, with annual bait replacement only taking a couple of minutes for each station.
That means that your exterminator company can easily get in and out to quickly inspect and change the bait. Finally, because there are no harmful insecticides contained in the bait station, these types of systems are more environmentally friendly. As we mentioned before, liquid treatments can easily drain into bodies of water. If it enters the groundwater runoff, then it can potentially pollute aquatic ecosystems.
Termite baiting systems on the other hand simply take advantage of termite’s natural eating habits. All the chemicals used are completely safe around people.
Trelona ATBS Termite Bait System
The Trelona ATBS Bait System is an example of one of the most recent advances in termite baiting technology. Synergy² uses this system exclusively for all of our termite customers. Each bait station contains up to 2 baits, one active and one a passive or monitoring bait. The active bait is an insect growth regulator, Novaluron, that disrupts termites’ molting process.
The Trelona ATBS bait system also allows for tremendous flexibility. Monitoring cellulose bait can be easily switched to active IGR bait in areas with higher termite activity. If the technician discovers significantly higher levels of termite activity in a specific area, additional bait stations can be easily added.
Some companies also utilize a liquid treatment(exterior) or foam treatment(interior) near the hotspot of termite colony activity to more quickly wipe out the termite colony.
Information submitted to the EPA by the company reveals that the Trelona ATBS bait system has a 100% efficacy rate when placed in close proximity to active termite colonies.
Need Help With Termites or Any Other Pests? Contact Synergy²
We hope this article was helpful in learning about why termite protection is essential for your home. As you can see, termite baiting systems like Trelona ATBS can help provide that essential protection without messy digging and drilling around your home. Unlike liquid treatments, bait systems never need to be replaced unless individual stations are damaged.
Unfortunately, not all exterminators offer this type of state-of-the-art system. So, how do you find an exterminator you can trust that also offers this product? If you live in the Jackson, Mississippi Area, then look no further than Synergy². After installing your system, Synergy² guarantees it for a full year with a termite bond/contract. Annually, Synergy² will inspect your home for termite activity and then re-issue a termite bond for the next 12 month period. Peace of mind and cutting edge protection for your most valuable asset!
Our company prides itself on our devotion to solving difficult-to-manage pest problems and providing exceptional customer service. We believe in educating and protecting without offering unnecessary services at an extra cost. And we don’t just deal with termites. Did you know Synergy² is a full-service pest company specializing in difficult-to-treat pest problems such as bed bugs and ants?
Feel free to read more about us and decide if Synergy² is the right company for you. We have over 250 Five-Star Google reviews for pest control service in the Jackson metro area (Jackson/Madison/Brandon/Ridgeland). Check out our newest location reviews for pest control service in Jackson, MS here!