Termites on Cape Cod: Frequently Asked Questions
The very word "termite" is enough to strike fear into the hearts of homeowners, and rightly so: these pests cost an estimated $5 billion annually in treatment and damage repair. These costs are not covered by homeowners’ insurance.
Termites live in organized colonies, each individual with a defined role. They don’t sleep. They eat 24 hours a day. They’ve been around since the time of dinosaurs, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. These aren’t pretty facts, but they’re true all the same. That’s why it’s important to protect your home, and your sanity, from termites on Cape Cod.
While there are thousands of species of termites, the only one native to the Cape is the subterranean. Their colonies number in the millions, and once a year, reproductive termites or “swarmers” fly off in search of ideal locations to begin new colonies. Unfortunately, this is often the first or only indicator that your property may be infested.
Your friends at Burgess Pest Management are extremely familiar with how to monitor and treat for termites, and have decades of experience protecting Cape homes from the often very costly damage they can cause.
With swarming season in full swing, contact us today to schedule your free inspection and estimate. In the meantime, here are some frequently asked questions about termites that I’ve fielded in my years as the Cape Cod customer service rep here at Burgess.
What does a termite look like?
Termite workers are soft-bodied, pale, about ¼ of an inch long, or less. While ants have three distinct body sections and a “pinched waist”, termites usually appear to have a head and body region. Antennae are straight.
Termite swarmers, winged termites, have bodies about ¼ of an inch long and two pairs of wings the same size and shape. Winged ants have two sets of wings that differ in size and shape.
Do termites live in the home? Where do they come from?
The most common termite in the US is the subterranean termite, which live in colonies underground and can also be found in moist areas above ground. If you have a termite infestation in your home, they may leave evidence such as mud tubing, but are likely not living in the home itself. They travel from their colonies to structures to feed on wood before returning to the soil.
Why might my home be attractive to termites?
Termites are attracted to wood and cellulose materials; warm, dark places; and moist soil. Avoid storing decaying lumber or firewood, or cellulose materials such as newspaper or cardboard near the foundation of your home. Reduce moisture in your crawl spaces as well as the soil around your foundation to help keep termites at bay.
What kind of damage can they cause? How can I tell if it’s termite damage or rotting wood?
Subterranean termite colonies can consume an impressive amount of wood—a colony of 1 million members can consume approximately 15 pounds of wood per week. This can damage insulation, piping, support beams, foundations, and even furniture. Taking action against these pests immediately can save a homeowner some very costly repairs.
Consulting a pest management professional is the best way to find and correct potential risks.
When do termites swarm?
For many homeowners, swarming termites might be the first sign of an infestation. Swarming varies by subgroup. Subterranean termites swarm typically in spring and during daylight. Ideal conditions include recent rainfall, overcast weather, and low winds.
How can termites be controlled or treated?
Common options for termite treatment include conventional termiticides and Sentricon in-ground systems. It is recommended that homeowners consult with a pest control professional who can accurately assess the infestation and determine the appropriate course of action.
How does the Sentricon system work?
These in-ground stations are placed around the perimeter of your home. Termites will come into contact with the material inside the stations, inadvertently consuming a growth inhibitor. They then return to the colony and share the “food” with other members, and as the growth inhibitor effects take hold, the termites are prevented from molting and thus, die off.