Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators
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Termites are destructive little insects. Every year, they cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage throughout the United States. Unfortunately, because termites work inside the walls of your home, it can be difficult to know that they are there until it is too late. Understanding how you get termites in your Houston home in the first place is essential to their prevention. Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators is Houston’s answer to termite infestations. Not only can we help you with your termite control and termite treatment needs, we can also help you to understand how termites get into your home, and help you to prevent them from getting in.
What are Termites?
Termites are incredibly small insects, ranging between ¼ to ½ inches in size. They have soft bodies that vary in color from white to light brown, and straight antennae. Termites are social insects, living in colonies numbering well into the thousands. The colony is divided into three classes – the king and queen, soldiers and workers. The king and queen are the highest of the social order, and are responsible for populating the colony. Soldiers defend the colony from attackers. Workers are the largest group, and have the biggest workload. They build tunnels, feed the colony and take care of the eggs.
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Types of Termites in Houston
There are over 2,000 known species of termites. Of those 2,000, there are three major types – the subterranean, the drywood and the dampwood. The most invasive of these groups are the Eastern subterranean, Southeast drywood and Pacific dampwood. Subterranean termites tend to be the most destructive. Dampwood termites, on the other hand, tend to leave homes alone, unless there is a substantial amount of water.
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Houston Termite Habitat
Termites require food, water and shelter in order to survive. Their food of choice is cellulose, which is derived from plants, mainly wood. Termites tend to feast on dead plants and trees, but they will eat other materials as well, such as drywall or plastics. They are frequently referred to as the "silent destroyer," because they can eat their way through your walls, floorboards and any other wooden structures in your home entirely undetected, until it is too late.
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Termites can mainly be found in dead or dying trees, lumber or logs left outdoors, underground and, of course, in the home. However, just because your home’s exterior is made of brick, or some other material that is not wood, does not mean that you are immune to a termite infestation. Subterranean termites can be found all throughout the United States, including Texas. They need to have contact with the ground in order to survive. In fact, their colonies are usually located underground, with tunnels leading up to, and into, their food source (which could very well be your home!).
Drywood termites, as well as dampwood termites, are more common in the southern states. Drywood termites don’t require any contact with the ground, and are able to get all of the moisture they need from their food. They often build their colonies right into the wood of your home. In some instances, there may be multiple colonies in one structure. Dampwood termites, on the other hand, require a significant amount of moisture in order to survive. They prefer dead and decaying wood, such as tree stumps and limbs. They are rarely found in the home, unless you are experiencing a plumbing leak or have suffered a flood and have lingering water.
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How Houston Subterranean Termites Get In
Subterranean termites build their colonies underground. From their colony, they create tunnels that lead up to, and even into, your home. They tend to enter from the ground level, or just below. However, they can also construct mud tubes along the exterior walls of your home in order to get in. Mud tubes allow for their tunnels to maintain an ideal environment, warm and humid, that shelter the termites from the outside elements.
Subterranean termites mainly enter your home through wood to ground contact. This could be any number of areas, such as a doorframe, steps to a deck or porch, deck beams or support beams of any kind. But this is not the only way that they can get in. Subterranean termites can often enter through cracks in your foundation, or even cracks in brick (which is why brick homes, or homes of other materials that are not wood-based, are just as much at risk for infestation). Because termites are so small, they can make their way in through the tiniest of cracks, which can often go unnoticed.
At Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators, our termite control and prevention of subterranean termites focuses mainly upon areas that could lead to potential trouble, and addressing them appropriately. This could be anything, such as water pooling around your foundation, creating the moisture that these termites crave. During a termite inspection, we monitor these trouble spots for signs of activity. Termite treatment may also include the use of termite monitoring stations, which can confirm termite activity and be used to treat the infestation, spraying a liquid treatment around your home or even treating the wood directly.
How Houston Drywood Termites Get In
Drywood termites infest your home a little bit differently than subterranean termites. A drywood termite infestation generally begins when the termites swarm in the spring. Once the spring arrives, some of the workers of a colony shed their skin and enter an alate stage. In this stage, they develop wings. The alate termites then leave their current colony to go off in search of a mate, and a new home. Once they have found both, they shed their wings and become the king and queen, and start their own, brand new colony. It only takes a couple of years to grow a colony large enough to do serious damage to your Houston home.
Because the alate termites fly, they can enter your home on any level. They can come in through doors, windows, or even attic vents. If there are cracks or holes in your roof, they will find them. At the same time, they can enter through foundation cracks or holes in the brick. Because of this reason, prevention for termites in your Houston home can be a bit more difficult. You need to perform regular maintenance to the wood of your home, making sure that is in good condition. Along with regular home maintenance, we can help you to be proactive in your termite control and prevention efforts with termite treatment around your home. This can include liquid soil treatments as well as wood treatments. With our highly-trained experts, we can help you to defend your home from an expensive termite infestation.
Why Call Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators For Termite Control And Inspection?
Termites are a unique pest, unlike any other common household pest you may come across in Houston. Simply spraying a store-bought insecticide around your home is not going to solve your termite control problem. In order to completely rid your home of termites and prevent them from coming back, you need the help of the experts at Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators. Our extensive knowledge and training gives us the advantage when it comes to identifying your species of termite and locating the colony. We have access to top of the line tools, the best chemicals and the most effective methods for termite treatment, which not only rids your home of termites, but helps you to save a significant amount of money in the long run.
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Don’t let termites sneak into, and destroy, your Austin, Texas home. Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators can inform you of the best ways to prevent termites from getting in. Contact us to schedule your termite inspection today!
Termite Resources & Information
Here are more information and resources about termites online with in-depth information, news and case studies:
- Termite information and facts by Texas Department of Agriculture
- All About Termites: Their Biology, Behavior and more
- Formosan Subterranean Termite In-depth Information
- Termites: How to Identify and Control Them
- Drywood Termite information by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Termites: How to Identify and Control Them