Know and understand the enemy
Officials estimate that locally, one in 10 homeowners experiences a termite infestation in or near their homes. Termite inspections conducted by TNT Termite Services in Nebraska show that 5% to 8% of the homes we inspect do not meet the criteria for a successful Wood Destroying Insect Inspection Report (WDI) in support of a real estate transaction.
Unfortunately, most homeowners are unaware of the infestations. Termite infestations are reported to cost the American public more than $1 billion each year to repair the damage and to hire termite control companies to treat infested structures.
Termites are soft-bodied insects that dehydrate easily, so they must have access to a moisture source. This is usually accomplished by maintaining contact with the soil.
Termites will leave their colony and head out in all directions, forging for a food source. Typically, a colony can forage an area up to a half-acre. Their antennae have around 500 sensor cells that help them find anything that contains cellulose (wood/paper products).
- Termites have no preference for older or aged wood. They actually are consuming the cellulose contained in the wood.
- If a newly constructed home is built near a termite colony, chances of infestation are very high if the area is not treated.
- If a colony is within half an acre of a dwelling, they will soon be inside the house.
Once their food source has been identified, termites use chemicals to communicate to other termites so that the entire colony knows where there source of food is. They conceal their workings by feeding along the grain and following the softer spring wood, leaving little more than a thin wooden exterior.
Common signs of termite infestation:
- Sudden appearance of winged termites emerging from a structure.
- Termite-infested wood or wood products.
- Presence of termite shelter tubes — above-ground earthen pathways that protect them from the drying effects of the air as well as from their natural enemies, such as ants.
Stopping the termites
To properly protect a structure, it is necessary to establish a chemical barrier around the entire perimeter of your home. If evidence of termite activity was found inside the home, the area near the point of infestation must also be also treated.
As forging termites tunnel, they come in contact with the termiticide barrier, they consume it and when they return back to their colony, they infect others. Because termites constantly interact, a lethal dose of termiticide is transferred to other termites through social interaction, eventually wiping out the entire termite population.
For additional information on termite inspections or treatments, please contact TNT Termite Services at 402-393-3697.