Is it true termites are blind?

Termites rely mostly on other senses than eyesight to move around, but that doesn’t mean they are all blind. The most important termites in a swarm, like the queens and those involved in the reproduction, can see, although poorly. The lower rank termites, workers, and soldiers are indeed blind and some don’t have eyes at all.

Are termites attracted to light?

It is not uncommon to see termites swarming around utility lights in the evening. The same can happen if they see lights in your house. They will be attracted by the light reflected in your windows or by the porch light and will try to find a way to get near the source of light. It doesn’t matter that most termites are blind. It’s enough that the queen notices the light. She will communicate by emitting substances known as pheromones, instructing the soldiers to attack your house.

Can termites really fly?

Flying male and female termites appear when a colony grows too large and some of them need to move out. Growing wings is part of the reproductive cycle. Flying termites, also known as alates, leave their colony and look to settle in a new place, like your house in case you see them swarming around your windows. Once they’ve settled down and started reproducing themselves in their new colony, flying termites start shedding their wings. In case you notice small light brown wings on your windowsill, know that you might have a termite infestation in the house.

Why do termites enter a house?

Simple, your house provides them food and shelter. If there’s wood to munch on, that’s great for them. If they can also find a damp place, like under your porch or maybe the basement, that’s even better. Once they find a sheltered space with plenty of food, the flying termites start mating to grow their colony. It usually takes them three years to build a big colony and when it becomes too crowded other flying termites will evolve and leave. The others however will stay in your basement.

How do termites locate wood?

Eyesight isn’t really necessary for that. Termites use their sensitive antennae to detect the scent of decaying wood and certain fungi. Also, their antennae are covered with receptors that detect moisture which they need in order to survive. These receptors don’t work long-range, but when the flying termites come scouting around your house they will immediately detect if there’s such a moist place with plenty of wood where they can build a new colony.

How quickly do termites eat a house?

On the Eastern Coast, the average size of a colony is around 60,000 termites. A colony this size can eat up to 1/5 of an ounce of wood per day. In six months, these voracious insects will go through a 2×4 pine board. Or maybe they’ll snack on a support beam in some part of the house you rarely visit. In the southern states which enjoy warm temperatures, a colony can get huge. 3,000,000 termites huge, and they can finish the same 2×4 board in two days. This is an emergency and you need to call pest control as soon as possible.

Do termites live in trees?

When they’re not eating someone’s house, yes, they do live in trees, especially dead and decaying trees which provide the perfect environment for them. Termites survive on cellulose, which is the main organic compound found in wood or leaves. When you notice flying termites around your house that’s a sure sign there’s a big colony somewhere nearby, probably in a tree. When you decide to call pest control, you should also have a look around the property to see if you can find the colony the intruders belong to.

How do rain and temperature affect termite activity?

Termites love rain. Rain makes the soil moist and creates the ideal terrain for flying termites to burrow underground and start a new colony. Don’t be surprised if you see a swarm of termites around your porch light soon after a rainstorm. Also, plenty of rain causes wood damage and this is like fast food for termites.
As far as the weather is concerned, warm temperatures make them more active. This is why most home infestations occur in spring and summer. During the cold months, termites are less active, unless they have a nice cozy colony in your basement, where the low temperatures do not bother them.

Do I need to treat all around the house or just the infested area?

If you discover you have a termite colony somewhere in the house, your first thought will be to get rid of them. That’s good, but really not enough. Another small colony might already be hiding in another part of the house. Also, you have to assume that the termites in your house come from a nearby large colony. If they found your house once, they’ll probably do it again. This is why you need a complete treatment of your house, to create a strong barrier to keep termites away permanently.

Can termite still swarm my house after treatment?

This is always a possibility, but that doesn’t mean the first treatment was not good enough. A reliable pest control company will offer both spot treatment for the infested area of your house, as well as perimeter applications of a termiticide all around the house. If you happen to see termites swarming your house after treatment, you have to assume they’ve found a gap in the barrier and are using it to sneak in. That shouldn’t be a problem, as a reputable company will certainly offer you a warranty. If you see termites nosing around, just call them and have them find and close the gap.

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