Any pests in your home are bad news, but the worst pests you can have are termites. They are wood destroying pests that can cause absolute havoc and extreme damage to your home's structure. Termites can be a problem in San Antonio households, but if you get them exterminated quickly, it can prevent a lot [...]
All across the state of Texas, termites are thriving, and they'll continue to flourish despite the colder temperatures that accompany winter months. Since termites can cause a great deal of structural damage, costing homeowners thousands of dollars with each incident, it is critical that you learn how to identify their presence. In fact, it's important [...]
Carpenter ants are wood destroying insects that have no useful purpose in the ecosystem. Their normal habitat is living outside in trees, but when environmental conditions are unsuitable, they move into homes and other structures.
Even though they don’t eat wood like termites, carpenter ants still damage homes by tearing out wood to construct nests where they raise their young. As the colony increases in size, carpenter ants destroy larger areas in your home and begin putting off reproductives or swarmers. These reproductives start new colonies so, over time, your home can have many colonies of ants. They can be very destructive and the resulting damage very expensive to repair.
Carpenter ants are hard to detect because they are nocturnal, thereby foraging for food at night. Debris in a windowsill, around a doorjamb, on baseboards or in the attic that returns when cleaned up is often the first sign of an infestation. The damage they cause to your home’s structure is seldom detected until the galleries formed in the wood to make nests collect moisture causing the wood to rot. Exterminating these insects from your home can be very difficult. Like most ants, carpenter ants don’t have digestive systems so they can’t eat solid food. Therefore, food must be carried back to the colonies where it is fed to mature larvae (an intermediate stage). These larvae digest the food and regurgitate it to feed the colonies making slow acting baits, which normally take 14-21 days to start affecting the colonies, the preferred treatment. Baits can be in a liquid, gel, granular or powder form but the colonies must be located for proper placement. The hope is to not only kill the workers but also to kill off the queens.
Carpenter ants are very sensitive to any pesticides placed in their environment and when these products are detected they move to other areas of your home where they tear out more wood. Many bait products that you buy over the counter will kill the ants too fast so you only kill a small portion of the colonies and the rest will no longer take the bait, so it's very important to contact a professional exterminator when your suspect you might have a problem with carpenter ants. Researchers have spent many hours producing baits with tiny amounts of toxins that carpenter ants can’t detect. These slow acting baits can eliminate entire colonies. By the time they realize the baits are killing them, the entire colony, including the queen, has been contaminated and will die.
Termites are beneficial organisms that eat dead wood and turn it into rich humus in the wild, but when they start eating your home it’s time to call Bob Jenkins Pest & Lawn. Subterranean termites, the most common wood destroying organism in this area, are social insects that infest homes & businesses. They travel from the soil into your home, consume the wood and return to the soil.
Here are a few helpful tips for recognizing termites in your home. Look for damage to sheetrock, wallpaper or doorjambs, especially in plumbing areas. Also look for small areas of dirt called “castles” on walls, baseboards, doorjambs or window areas. Inspect the perimeter of your home for mud tubes. Subterranean termites use these mud tubes to travel into your home. They also enter around water and sewer pipes or any other accessible openings such as hairline cracks in the slab. The swarmers or reproductives are small black bodied insects with clear wings that are twice as long as their bodies. Soldiers have cream colored bodies with brown heads. Workers entire bodies are cream colored and are 1/8 to 3/8” in length.
There are many species of termites that can cause problems but subterranean termites are the primary culprit in the San Antonio area. One of the most effective treatments for these termites is a soil treatment applied by a professional exterminator using the product Termidor.
Termites are social insects. This means there is a division of labor among the different types of individuals. Most ants, bees and wasps are also social insects. Nearly all termite species have reproductive and soldier castes, but in most of the more primitive species the typical duties of the workers (nest building, food gathering and feeding of the reproductives and soldiers) are handled entirely by the nymphs which are young or juvenile termites. Even in species with workers, the older nymphs may do some of the work.
Workers and nymphs of subterranean termites perform all the work of the colony and also cause all the damage to your home. Soldiers serve only to defend the colony. They can’t eat wood. They, together with reproductives, are fed by the workers. Both workers and soldiers are eyeless and therefore blind.
Winged adults are referred to as primary reproductives (often called swarmers). They emerge from the colonies on recolonizing flights during certain seasons of the year. In South Texas it is between March and May. After these flights, a male (king) and female (queen) will pair up, lose their wings and construct a small cell in the soil. There they will mate, lay eggs and rear the first group of workers for the new colony.
Each colony supports itself independent of other colonies, although recent research suggests closely related colonies may share workers during part of the year.
Other types of termites, such as drywood termites, don’t have to travel to the soil. They, unlike subterranean termites, live in the wood all the time. Drywood termites are primarily found in areas with high humidity such as the Corpus Christi or Houston areas. The normal treatment for these requires tenting your home and the use of gas fumigation.
Termites and Carpenter Ants are incredibly destructive indoor pests. Both species swarm during the Spring, so if you notice flying ants in your bathroom area or in the kitchen (anyplace where you have moisture), take a close look to determine if they are termites or just winged ants. Termites have a single pair of wings, straight antennae and a broad midsection while winged ants have four wings, bent or elbowed antennae, and a narrow waist.
A termite inspection will examine conditions conducive to infestation or infection and will look for live evidence of wood destroying organisms. A leaky shower or toilet creates a moisture problem for the surrounding wood members and thus creates a suitable environment for termites or carpenter ants.
Once termites take hold of your home, they are particularly difficult to remove. Due to both their destructive power and the difficulty in removing them, termite control is effective when you understand their habits. Whenever warm temperatures hit and it rains, you should be keep a watchful eye on the wet areas inside your home for termites or carpenter ants.
The majority of termites start to reproduce and lay down their own eggs in the springtime. They dig into the damp ground to lay their eggs, and while the eggs incubate, the worker termites work on you home so they can provide nourishment to the new termite babies that are about to become members of a larger colony.
Termite treatment by a professional exterminator is the most powerful way to exterminate current termites and continue to keep termites far away. The best time for termite control is actually a year round treatment plan that works to kill existing termites and then includes treatment of the damp ground beneath your property that will prevent future infestations.