Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Termite Infestation in California

Termites can be found all across the globe and the U.S. is no exception. Unfortunately, California is a state that suffers greatly from infestations. Termites are particularly active in the area from Redding to San Francisco, down to Fresno, Bakersfield, LA and Riverside. If you live in this region, it is essential that you take measures to protect your home from termite damage.

Types of Termites found in California

There are 3 main types of termites found in the state – subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. Of the 3, the first 2 do the most damage. Dampwood termites eat all kinds of material containing cellulose but are less likely to cause damage to structures. Formosan termites are a new entry into the state and they were first identified in San Diego County in 1992.


Termites move in swarms. The size may vary according to the region and the food supply available to them. Generally, swarms appear on warm days when the humidity is high, such as after rain. However, they can also be found at other times and may occur in heated buildings when the weather outside is cold. Different types of termites have varying swarming habits.

  • Western subterranean termites typically swarm in autumn, winter and the beginning of spring, usually after it has rained. In southern parts of the state, swarms are generally found between September and November.
  • Arid land subterranean termites usually swarm during the daylight hours in the spring and fall.
  • Desert subterranean termites swarm from July to September, usually at night.
  • Pacific dampwood termites swarm in the evenings, usually just before sunset, in the months from August to October.
  • Nevada dampwood termites swarm in summer and early in the fall in coastal areas and in the spring in higher elevations.
  • Formosan termites swarm at night in June and July. However, small swarms can often be found till autumn.

Whatever be the type of termite, the damage they can do could be major. Because of the different swarming patterns of the various types, it is essential to know what to look for at what time of year to be able to prevent infestation and remove it if it does occur.

Going online will give you a huge number of websites full of information about DIY termite control. Taking precautions to protect your home is always a good idea, but these are rarely enough to provide the complete protection that you need. Termites are persistent and extremely hardy creatures and both preventing their entry into a building and getting rid of them if they do gain access requires professional termite control. Regular inspection and control by professionals will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your home is safe. When looking for a termite control company to use, ensure that it is one that has the skills, experience and state-of-the-art technology to give you the best possible protection.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Termite Hotspots in Your Home (Part 2)

Continuing with the list of termite hotspots in your home.

  • Wooden Furniture: Wood is the predominant material used for residential furniture. It is found all over the home and will attract termites from wherever they are able to find entry points into the structure. It does not matter what type of wood it is,if it is wood, termites will be interested. There are 2 ways to reduce the chances of termite damage. The first, and usually unrealisticone, is to replace as much wooden furniture as possible with items made from other materials. The second and the more practical way is to keep furniture away from walls to make it more difficult for the termites to reach these food sources.
  • Laundry Room: An enclosed room, usually in the interior of a home, filled with metal appliances may not seem to be a termite hotspot. But they are known to eat clothing if it is made of cotton, as it contains cellulose. To prevent clothing from being damaged, keep it in either a tightly closed hamper or in the washer or dryer, with the door closed to prevent termite entry.
  • The Bedroom: With wooden beds, wardrobes, cabinets, tables and other furniture, besides carpets and other fabrics, the bedroom serves as a food source for termites. Besides keeping the furniture away from walls, check under the beds regularly for signs of termite infestation. Check under mattresses and if possible, check behind wardrobes and cabinets for signs of termites.
  • The Garage: Garages are typical places where unwanted or rarely used items are stored, usually for a long period of time. These materials often serve food to termites. Since the items are not disturbed for a long period, termites will happily make a home there. The garage is also a place from where access to the rest of the house becomes easy. Keep storage units away from walls and place loose items on metal, not wooden tables or platforms. If there are shelves on the wall, ensure that the pile of stored material does not form a hill that termites can climb to reach the shelves and what is on them.
  • The Kitchen: From wooden furniture and fittings to food meant for human consumption, the kitchen is like a supermarket for termites. Cupboards and cabinets are great nesting places and dampness that remains for any length of time will attract termites. If you live in an area where swarming termites are common, keep the doors and windows closed during the swarming season. Check cupboards and cabinets regularly for any signs of termite activity. And inspect the plumbing to spot and fix any leaks.
  • The Garden: The garden contains a great deal of material that termites feed on and to make base from where they can explore way to get into the house. Remove dead trees and tree stumps for the yard. If mulch is being used, ensure that it is not placed near the walls or foundation as this will make it easier for termites to find a way indoors.

Taking precautions against termites will help to protect your house. But by itself, it is not enough. The best protection comes from using a professional termite control company to inspect your home and get rid of any termite infestation early, before any serious damage can be done.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Termite Hotspots in Your Home (Part 1)

There are few parts of your home that termites will not get into. And once they get in, the damage they cause can be massive. While professional termite control is the best way to protect your home, doing your bit with regular inspections of termite hotspots will increase the level of protection and allow for quick action if termites are spotted.

Here are some of the areas where termite are likely to be found and what you can do to prevent them from nesting.

  • The Roof: Broken roof tiles allow moisture to collect. This attracts termites and from here they could find their way indoors. Have the roof checked regularly for any signs of dampness. Have any broken or damaged tiles replaced.
  • HVAC unit: An air conditioning system creates a moist environment, which termites love. Although there is no wood in the system for them to feed on, if they are able to enter the ducts they can easily make their way to all parts of a home. Have the system cleaned and serviced regularly and ensure that the moisture release is in a place far away from the foundation of the home.
  • Attics: Because attics are places that are not frequently visited, it is easy for a termite infestation to go unnoticed until the problem has become a serious one. If there are exposed wooden beams, the termites have found a feast. The damage to the beams could be on the interior and so difficult to spot. To check for damage, press down hard on the wood with your thumb. If the wood feels soft or spongy, there could be termite damage. Call for professional help without delay, as weak beams could affect the integrity of the structure.
  • Cardboard boxes: Cardboard boxes filled with loose paper, photos, and junk are a tempting nesting spot for termites with shelter and food both easily found. To prevent them from finding a home, store all items that they could be attracted to in plastic storage boxes with tight lids.
  • Living Rooms:The wooden furniture in living rooms makes it a place where termites also want to live. Check under wooden furniture regularly for signs of wood dust or mud that could indicate the presence of termites. Wooden floors are also attractive to termites and since they are at ground level, access is relatively easy. All you can do is keep checking for signs of infestation.
  • Skirting Boards: Skirting boards draw termites like honey does ants. Again, since they are also at a lower level, access is easy. Check for damage by pressing down hard with the thumb on the skirting boards. If there is any softness, it could be due to termite damage.

The list of termite hotspots continues in the next blog.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Termites - The High Risk Areas

Termites can hit you when you least expect it. The damage they can do could be massive. Regular inspection and termite control by a professional company is the best way to keep your home safe. The best ones will offer you a warranty on their services. Doing your own inspection and checks regularly can add another level of protection. After all, you know your home better than anyone else and so are best placed to spot any changes that could signify a termite infestation. Checking all the wooden parts of the home and the furniture is good, but paying special attention to the high risk areas is important. Here are the parts of your home that you should pay particular attention to when looking for signs of termites.

The Outside

Subterranean termites prefer damp wood. Overflowing gutters and downspouts on the exterior of a building can lead to moisture collecting near the foundation. Reducing the collection of moisture will reduce the chances of termites being attracted to the building. Keeping the gutter clean and free flowing and directing water away from downspouts with dry wells and/or extensions will help in this.

Utility Pipes

The opening in floors and foundations through which utility pipes run are a common entry point for termites. Any water leaks from these pipes will cause dampness to develop and this, if it affects nearby wood, will draw in termites. Leaking bath traps and water dripping from air conditioning drains could also cause pools of water to develop, creating a termite breeding ground.

Mulch And Wood Chips

Wood chips and mulch are useful in the garden. These are both ideal food sources for termites. Mulch should be stored as far away as possible from the siding or foundation of the home as termites that collect there will soon migrate into the structure. The places where mulch and wood are stored should also be regularly inspected for signs of termites. Do not allow scrap wood to collect in crawl spaces. If firewood is stored indoors, it should be placed on a platform so that it is a few inches above any contact with the floor or ground. Even then termites can build mud tubes to allow them to reach the wood, but these are relatively easy to spot so early action can be taken to get rid of them.

Crawl Spaces

Crawl spaces are where dirt and moisture collect. Inspecting and cleaning these areas out regularly can be a pain, but by doing so, the chances of termite nests developing there are greatly reduced.

Termites have been around since before man walked on the planet. They will probably still be around when after human cease to exist. That does not mean that infestations and damage are inevitable. A little care can go a long way in protecting your home, which is the center of your family’s life. While using a professional termite control service is the best way to protect it, doing your own checks will add to the level of protection.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Termites for Lunch?

No one wants termites anywhere near their homes. They are destructive pests and need to be exterminated as soon as they are detected. But just because you don’t want them around doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know a little about them. They have been here for millions of years, are social creatures and, in some parts of the world, are a great culinary delicacy.

Termites Knew the Dinosaurs

Termite fossils have been found that can be dated back to the Cretaceous period, which occurred, around 145 to 66 million years ago. That was the time that dinosaurs roamed the earth. So they have a pedigree that goes a very long way back in time. Some early termite species are thought to have had a more varied diet than those we see today. Traces of termites have been found in dinosaur bones of the mid-Jurassic period, which indicates that they also ate flesh and bone. Termites are not unique in their long history – grasshoppers, ants and aphids are thought to also go back to the Cretaceous period.

They Have Friends and Relatives

Termites are social creatures that live in organized colonies. In many ways, they are like ants and bees in that they have a social structure and produce offspring who are born to carry out specific duties in the colonies, in which they live. As for their relatives, they are thought to be related to cockroaches. Their biology is similar. For example, both cockroaches and termites have specialized cases that enclose their eggs and the structure of their heads is also similar.

You Will Find Them Everywhere

Over the millions of years of their existence, termites have spread across the globe. In fact, they are to be found on every continent, except Antarctica. They are in every state of the U.S.A, with the exception of Alaska. There are 50 different species of termites in North America, but only 10 are to be found in Europe. Africa has nearly 1,000 species of termites and in South Africa’s Kruger National Park there are an estimated 1 million-plus termite mounds.

They are Delicious

Many cultures consume termites. This is not always out of necessity because other forms of food are in short supply. In Africa, a winged form of termite forms a major part of the diet of some tribes. The ways of preparing the termites varies from region to region, but those who eat them usually consider them to be a delicacy. Many species do have a high nutritional value and some have a pleasing nutty flavor. Queen termites are considered to be a special delicacy.

Since You Don’t Eat Them

Since you don’t eat them, you don’t want termites near you. The best way to keep your home safe from termite infestation is to use a professional termite control company to do regular inspections and if colonies are found, then have them removed. Amateur efforts are rarely as successful, in comparison to the professional expertise, as with amateur DIY, these pests usually soon return.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Subterranean Termite Treatment

Nobody wants termites in their home. Most people are under the impression that termites only attack woodwork, plants and trees that are above ground.  This is not the case. Subterranean termites live in nests below the ground and attack any wood that is in direct contact with the ground. They can also get to wood that is above the ground by way of the tunnels they build to reach the higher levels. These tunnels or tubes can often run several feet above ground level. Termites can also enter a structure through the expansion joints in concrete slabs or openings where utilities enter the building.  The best way to avoid a subterranean termite infestation is to have pre-treatment done at the time of building construction.

What Is Pre-Treatment?

Termite pre-treatment at the time of building construction is recommended by architects and builders. It offers the most effective and economical way of preventing termite damage.There are a number of pre-treatment options available. One involves treating the soil surrounding the foundation of a structure with chemicals that kill any termites that may be present or which may try to build nests there in the future. Once the treatment has been applied and the foundation has been laid, the soil is sealed in to retain the chemicals. Another way is to apply liquid termiticide around the foundation to prevent any termite attack.  Liquid termiticide can also be injected directly into the foundation walls and over and under concrete slabs to keep termites away. The type of construction, the actual prevalence of termites in the region and the construction techniques being used will determine how the pre-treatment is to be done.

Pre-treatment should also be done when additions are being made to a home or when an in ground swimming pool is be constructed.

The Benefits

When pre-treatment against subterranean termites is done at the time of construction, the effects last for a long time and the homeowner does not have to worry about termite infestation. It also reduces the need to have regular termite control treatments done and so reduces the disruption to family life that the treatment can otherwise cause. Since the pre-treatment is part of the construction process, this minor cost can be factored in the construction budget.

Subterranean termite colonies can contain up to 1 million insects. That is a huge amount and the damage they can do could be catastrophic. Studies show that subterranean termites cause more damage in the U.S. each year than fires and storms combined. If you are planning on building a home or adding to it, termite pre-treatment is a major factor in protecting one of the biggest investments you will make and one that will become the center of your family’s life. To learn more about pre-treatment, contact a professional termite control company. They will be able to explain the process in detail and answer all your questions. If you have not had pre-treatment done, then they will be able to suggest other termite control treatments and measures you can use to protect your home.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Microwave Termite Treatment

There are a variety of methods available for dealing with termite infestation. Only a professional termite control company will have the equipment and skill to be able to make all the methods available,and more importantly, to know which one to use in each specific situation. One of the most advanced methods, which is most effective in localized and inaccessible areas, is the microwave termite treatment.

Microwave termite eradication has been in use for over 25 years. A test done by the state of California in the 1990s found that the treatment was over 97% effective in killing termites in a structure that was treated. In the years since then the technology has improved as has the efficiency. The XTerminator 4.0 which was released in 2012 is considered to be the cutting edge of microwave termite control equipment.

How It Works

The process begins with a detailed in depth inspection of the premises where the termite infestation is thought to exist. The location of termite colonies will be noted, as well as the extent of any damage they may have caused. A fiber-optic scope is usually used for this. Once a location has been identified, the microwave equipment is put in place, often on a tripod to provide for easy access to wall framing. The equipment will contain a magnetron that produces the microwave. A wave guidance device will direct the microwaves to the infestation. When the microwaves find the termites, the energy is converted to heat, similar to what happens in a microwave oven. The heat kills off the termites almost immediately.

If required, microwave treatment can be combined with traditional chemical based termite eradication methods.

The Advantages

Microwave termite extermination has many advantages:

  • It is quick. Termites are killed in a matter of seconds.
  • There is no need to vacate the premises during the treatment, so there are no hotel expenses for the family and minimal disruption to daily life.
  • Pets remain safe.
  • There is no need to remove plants, furs, plastic etc. to prevent them being damaged by termite control chemicals.
  • Similarly, there is no need to empty food, medications and cosmetics from the home.
  • The gas supply does not have to be shut off.
  • No shrub or tree trimming is required.
  • Communications equipment, security systems and computers do not need to be disconnected.
  • There is no need to inform the fire department when microwave treatment is being done.
  • The treatment is completely green and environmentally friendly.

Use Professionals for the Best Results

Trying DIY methods or hiring a local handyman to spray some chemicals around the home may seem to be a cost effective way of dealing with termites. However, the danger is that without expert knowledge and the right equipment, the termites may not be fully eradicated. Those that remain will repopulate the infested area. While the homeowner relaxes in a false sense of security, the damage continues to occur unseen in the home. By the time it is realized that the termites have reappeared, a huge amount of destruction, requiring costly repairs, may have occurred. When dealing with termites, using a professional eradication service is always the best option.