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Termites are always unwanted guests. These pests harm nearly 600,000 households in the United States each year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that homeowners spend over $ 1 billion annually on termite eradication and repair.
Unfortunately, our Alexandria ecosystem of forests, swamps, farmland, and creek bottoms is a perfect haven for termites. Because of this, termites are a serious problem for homeowners in Alexandria. But what can you do about it? From early warning signs to termite damage, here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know about termites.
How to identify termites
There are three types of termites in the United States: subterranean, formosan, and drywood. These types of termites differ in behavior and geographic region. So far we only have one type of termite in Alexandria, the eastern subterranean termite.
One of the things that you need to know about this termite is how to identify it. The most common underground termite seen is the hawker. These are winged reproductive products that spring by the thousands. It is common to confuse these termite swarms with flying ants.
Termites have very different characteristics. Termite swarmers have equally long wings and straight antennae and belly. They are also about ¼ to ½ inch long. The worker termites are the ones that cause the damage. Sometimes you can see it under damp mulch and look like a maggot with legs. Subterranean termites from workers dehydrate and die quickly when exposed to air. As a result, they are seldom seen and less easy to spot.
Where do termites live in Alexandria?
The eastern subterranean termite lives underground and thrives in moist soils. They are social insects that live in large colonies. The workers are constantly looking for wood and wood products that contain cellulose. These termites gain access to your home from the ground up. They often enter right under the house, which makes them extremely difficult to spot. Remember, an underground termite only needs a crack the thickness of a piece of paper to penetrate concrete. Even houses with concrete foundations are not safe from these intruders.
Get rid of termites
Depending on the type of termite infestation and the size of the colony, some termite infestations can be difficult to remove. In some cases, termites live on a nearby property and still infest your home. Once termites find a source of food, they will keep coming back for more.
If your infestation is small and localized, you may be able to contain it with a DIY termite control solution. These over-the-counter products work well, but only for minor infections.
Professional exterminators offer the most effective termite control solutions. If your property has been compromised and you are not sure where to start, it is best to partner with professionals.
Finally, here are some things you can do to prevent, or at least limit, termite infestation in the future:
- Minimize wood-to-floor contact in sheds, fence posts, and other wooden structures
- Store firewood outside your home
- Make sure that all areas around the foundation of your home are properly drained
- Minimize the use of sprinkler systems
- Remove tree stumps along with their root systems
- Remove decaying mulch