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Why you should be worried about termites.
FACT: A typical queen termites lays an average of one egg per second 24 HOURS A DAY and has a lifespan of 25 TO 50 YEARS!
This means the queen termite lays about 86,400 eggs per day, or about 315 million eggs in a decade. This translates to fast colony growth that can destroy a home without you being aware of the infestation until it’s too late.
There are three types of termites, named after where they live: Subterranean, Dampwood and Drywood.
Subterranean termites live in underground colonies near dead trees, firewood, and other food sources, such as mulch. To survive, they need a moist environment. Because of this, swarmers can only fly a short distance without dying.
Dampwood termites typically live in and eat damp, decaying trees. They are an infestation risk for homes with plumbing leaks and high moisture areas where the wood is constantly wet. A leaky shower drain is just one example that leads to wet, rotting wood in homes.
Drywood termites don’t need the high-moisture environments of the other two termites. They live in and eat dry wood and require different treatment. Infestations occur in wood siding, cornices, other exterior wood, and inside the walls of your home.
I don’t have termites, I have flying ants!
The reproducers in a termite colony (aka swarmers) are winged and therefore are often mistaken for flying ants. When compared side-by-side, it’s easy to distinguish between flying ants and termites.
All four wings of the termite are about the same length. They have straight antennae with a thick, long body. A flying ant, on the other hand, has two large front wings and two smaller back wings. A flying ant’s antennae are elbowed and their bodies are clearly segmented.
If you have seen any winged termites around or inside your home, their colony is close by. Swarmers only fly when scouting for a place to start a new colony. If your home isn’t theirs already, it soon could be.
The dangers of termite infestation.
While there is no formal field data on how much damage a termite colony can cause, certain species can cause extensive damage in a short time, especially if there is a large colony at work. Mature subterranean colonies average around 70,000 termites, with large colonies numbering in the millions.
Regardless of the size or number of colonies, when termites are discovered in a home, it’s difficult, if not impossible to tell how long they have been there or how much damage has already been done.
In most cases, your home isn’t at risk of collapsing in on you if you do find you have termites. However, the longer they are allowed to infest your home, the more damage they will do. For most people, their home is the single largest investment they have ever made, an investment that should be protected.