How to deal with termites
It's no reason to celebrate, but the National Pest Management Association has deemed April as National Pest Management Month. And for good reason: Early spring is swarming termite season, when young adult termites emerge en masse. Jim Fredericks, director of technical services for the association, said the “swarmers” surface to mate, form their own colonies and feed.
“There will be thousands of termites in a colony,” Fredericks said. “You never know how many are feeding on your house.”
Here are five things to know about termites, including how to prevent an infestation and how to deal with the insects once they're found.
Termites eat nonstop. The species of termites most often found in the mid-Atlantic are also the most destructive. Subterranean termite colonies, Fredericks said, travel underground in tunnels from the soil to a building and back, and they can destroy entire structures. The “mud tubes” termites create are about the width of a pencil, he said, and can be visible from the inside or outside of a building.
Termites are “silent destroyers.” The signs of a colony are most obvious this time of year, when termites swarm and form new colonies. But the insects can invade your home undetected and feed on wood, flooring and wallpaper for several years.
Termites don't just invade your basement. Termite colonies could set up shop in any part of your home. “I have seen native subterranean termites feeding and swarming on second floors,” Fredericks said. “You'll find them all over. They are usually found in lower levels, but that's not a rule.”
Extermination is not a DIY project. The first mistake a homeowner can make is to try to identify a termite infestation alone. Call a professional once a year to do an inspection, Fredericks said, because they are trained to find even the most hidden colonies.
Another blunder? Trying to debug your own home. “If you find termites and try to control them yourself, that is the next big mistake,” Fredericks said. “I don't recommend it, and most homeowners usually understand this. It takes specialized tools. “
Prevention is possible. There is no surefire way to deter termites from your home, but there are things you can do to minimize risk. Fredericks cautions homeowners to be aware of moisture; leaking rain gutters and water pipes, rotting wood, and improper grating attract termites, which need water to thrive. Firewood should also be stored away from the home, he said, because it is termite food. And leave space between soil and any wood portions of your home, so it is easier to spot the subterranean termite's “mud tubes.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Pa. Gov. Corbett: From pension critic to collector
- Injuries to Penguins’ Ehrhoff, Letang force defense to pick up slack
- Reversing the field: Pirates continue to raid Yankees for hidden skill
- Five is enough for Penguins’ defensemen
- Ohio governor Kasich, a McKees Rocks native, considers presidential run
- Steelers’ Tomlin, Pirates’ Hurdle share similar philosophy
- Laurel Mountain Ski Resort discusses planned revival
- Pgh. International leader strives to inject Pittsburgh flavor into airport
- Pirates notebook: Locke the choice to be 5th starter
- Ligonier doctor’s appeal to practice rejected
- Blaze guts South Greensburg home, kills 2 dogs