What is Infestation?
Infestation means a state in which parasites or pests overrun space. It also includes actual organisms living on a host.
Pests can infest anywhere, provided they get the conditions suitable to survive. Proper temperature, food, and water are what they look for as it is enough to sustain them. They come in big numbers, and it is difficult to eradicate them once a place becomes infested.
Termites are small insects that live in colonies and many species feed on wood. Because of their wood eating habit, they often colonize and damage unprotected structures. Wooden construction material acts as the food source and as a result, draws termites. Their habitat is often concealed and undetected till the wood is completely damaged.
What causes Termites?
There are three types of termites that can infest your home – subterranean, damp wood and dry wood. Subterranean termites live on the ground while the other two types live within the wood they eat. Termites are attracted to certain things which may cause an infestation.
Cracks in exterior: Cracks in the foundation of homes or gaps in sidings allow termites to venture inside. Subterranean termites can build mud tubes and move indoors. Fissures around doors and windows also allow termites passage and opportunities to build a colony.
Moisture: The level of moisture inside your house attracts termites and subterranean and damp wood termites thrive in such an environment. Poor air circulation, leaky pipes, and incorrect drainage creates humidity inside homes and can lead to a termite infestation.
Wood in the foundation: Termites need to move through soil and wood to get inside a house. Hence having wood that is in contact with the foundation of a house makes it susceptible to infestation. Firewood or mulch placed close to the foundation is an example through which termites can access wood in the home structure.
Infestation and Inspection
In order to check if your house is infested with any kind of pests or termites, you can call professional and licensed exterminators. They can quickly spot signs of infestation and help you in getting rid of the pests before they cause damage to your house.
The things that exterminators look for during a termite inspection are:
- Damage to Wood
Termites eat wood from the inside, and any damage is not visible to the naked eye. Termite inspectors will check wood by tapping it, and if there is a flat or low sound, it may be indicative of the wood being hollow. In advanced stages of infestation and disintegration of wood, you can see pieces of mud and deep parallel grooves that tell you that termites have gone through it.
- Mud is found in Construction Joints
Termites like to seal themselves inside and make themselves more comfortable. They get inside cracks and seal the gaps with mud or dirt. If you see dirt or mud in cracks or holes in construction joints, concrete or sheetrock, then termites may be responsible.
- Wood around the House
Wood in and around your property can harbor termites. Wood fencing, firewood, dead wood and wooden structures around your house are all food sources for termites. If they infest those, then your house is not far off the list. Wood mulch within a distance of 4-6 inches of your home’s
the foundation also attracts termites and will guide them to the structural wood inside your house.
- Mud Tubes
An obvious indication for an exterminator that there are termites are mud tubes. They are like streams of dry and crusted mud that is used by termites as highways to move around. These are also known as shelter tubes and can be found in exposed spaces, along with the foundation, near pipes or in the attic. These tubes are made of wood cellulose, soil and other matter. Most tubes are as thick as a drinking straw. If you need to check if the tubes are recent, break a part of it and observe if it is sealed back up. If yes, then there are termites at work.
Established termite colonies produce winged adults called alates which can fly off and create their own nests. Nests release alates slowly, in swarms. So, if you find too many winged insects inside your house, there is a high chance of a nest nearby which uses your home as a food source. Alates try to get outside and may gather near the corners of window sills, where an inspector will look. You can differentiate a flying termite from other flying creatures by looking at their wings. Their front-end and rear-end wings are of the same length. Termites have wide waists and straight beaded antennae.
There can be other signs that may reveal potential and recent infestation. Termites also like to eat cardboard and paper. Finding any shredded cardboard and paper will tell if there are termites. An exterminator will also look for signs of droppings, larvae sacks, and discarded wings. An exterminator may look at entry points for termites that may leave home vulnerable. Crawl spaces and broken basement windows are potential pathways or entryways for pests to your home. The exterminator may check for exit holes as well and seal both to prevent entry or exit.
A termite inspection can take around 30 to 45 minutes depending on the clutter, area, and size. If the inspector finds a presence of termites, then they can suggest a chemical treatment. Subterranean termites can be treated chemically by creating a barrier between the house and the colony which is usually in wood or the soil. Check out pest control for both residential and commercial termite inspection and exterminating services in New York.
Termiticide is placed in sources of entry, hollow masonry and block voids. In-ground baiting system places cellulose bait stations at locations for termites to find. Once termites find it, they are replaced by a chemical inhibitor for termites that retards their molting process and prevent them from growing. Foraging termites then bring back the chemical to their colony and spread it around, thus killing the entire colony.