Termites are sometimes known as “silent destroyers” due to their stealthy nature. It is very common for these insects to cause damage to your property without any visible signs. There are over 2,000 species of termite worldwide, but they are all similar in appearance. Termites are small, up to ½ an inch in size and have straight antennae on top of their soft bodies. The colors of termites can range from light brown to white; worker termites are known to be lighter while those that swarm will be darker. King and queen termites will be larger than the others and reproductive termites will have two pairs of wings.
Termites feed on a plant material called cellulose. Cellulose is the main ingredient in wood which means virtually every building structure is susceptible to termites. Although cellulose is a termite’s main food source, that doesn’t mean they won’t damage other materials. Termites will tunnel through objects containing plastic and foam board to find their way to a food source. Termites thrive in warmer weather so tend to be more of an issue during the hot summers in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The structural damage caused by termites is not only in the feeding of wood, but in the tunneling systems they create. These systems, also called “mud tubes” are where termites build up the soil. These systems can be found in floor joists and even in your foundation walls. The tubes created can also be noticed projecting from cracks between beams and boards from the floor system. Termites are also known to chew through sheetrock that makes up the walls and ceilings of a structure.
One telltale sign of a termite infestation is the discovery of swarming; swarmers are winged termites that are produced when colonies have matured, around 3-5 years. These winged pests will tend to swarm after a rainshower on a warm day. Typically found near tree stumps they can also be visible in your home. When swarming is visible it is sure to mean an infestation is present.
Signs of termites can appear unexpectedly. Other signs are discovered on accident or they can be noticed during an inspection. It is a good idea to have your home or business regularly inspected as well as call in a professional at any signs of pests on your property.