Catch of the Week: Termites in the Des Moines Metro
September 17, 2018
Our pest control team has received a surplus of calls about termites this year, and we want to share some of our recent encounters with these pests. Although we’ve seen them more throughout the entire metro this year, the photos we’ll share are from homes in Urbandale and Ankeny. Most termite trouble is treated the same way, but these infestations were spotted in different ways. Read on to learn more about the signs of termite damage.
What Are Termite Mud Tubes?
When we were called out to Urbandale, the homeowners and our exterminators knew immediately where the termite damage was, thanks to the 10 foot long mud tube the termites created! These insects work 24 hours a day, which is why they can cause a lot of damage in just a small amount of time. Termites form these mud tubes using small pieces of soil, wood and their saliva. New mud tubes are typically dark brown in color, and if you find them near your home it’s a clear sign of termite activity. If you spot lighter brown mud tubes they probably haven’t been used in a while, but you should still get your property checked for termite damage since they could be active in another area of your home.
There are three main advantages that mud tubes provide termites: moisture, protection and access. Termites have soft bodies that thrive in dark and damp spaces, so they use the tubes as a pathway to get from one place to another without exposing themselves to harmful outside conditions. These tunnels also provide quick access from one space to another - the termites in Urbandale used this tube to move quickly from the garage floor to the ceiling.
A Common Misconception About Termites
Many homeowners believe they only need to worry about termites if they live in an old home, however, this Urbandale homes is only one year old! The truth is that the age of the wood doesn’t matter; termites are attracted to any soft wood that also has a water source close by.
When you’re building a new home, be sure to ask your building crew to schedule a termite pre-construction treatment. Our pest experts often work with homebuilders and spray the foundation of homes to make the wood less appealing to termites and other pests.
Subterranean Termites vs. Drywood Termites
Similar to bees and wasps, termites form large colonies consisting of workers that serve a queen. The workers are constantly on the lookout for a safe place for the queen and searching for new food sources for the colony. There are two main species of termites, and the distinguishing factor that sets them apart is where they live.
Subterranean termites live underground and use tubes to travel to food sources above ground. These types are very common and can cause serious damage to the foundation of homes, slowly eating the house from the inside out. These types of termites will go unnoticed for extended periods of time until a mud tube or other damage is spotted.
When we pulled away the siding of the house in Ankeny we knew we were dealing with drywood termites. They live inside wood and create maze-like paths in wooden walls, furniture, floors or siding. This type of pest can be spotted when termite swarmers fly to another location and shed their wings.
Tips to Ward Off Termites
In our last termite Catch of the Week we discussed steps homeowners could take around the outside of their home to keep termites at bay, this time we’ll talk about a few things to try on the inside of your home.
Treat wood before building. As we previously mentioned, treating the wood you use around your home will significantly lower your risk of a termite infestation. Many professionals use borate before priming or painting wood. If you really want a natural wood for an outdoor deck or other wood structure, there are a couple options that naturally deter termites: cedar and redwood.
Fix any leaks inside your home. It’s important to check for any excess moisture in or around the home. This is the type of environment that termites seek out, so regularly checking your crawl spaces or plumbing areas is essential.
Sign up for termite prevention. Many homeowners don’t know the first signs of termite damage, and having a professional looking after your home could save you from extensive damages.
Des Moines Metro Termite Exterminators
Preferred Pest Control offers one-time termite treatment options where we spray wood to deter termites away from your property, or if you already have termites, we treat the existing problem and set up bait stations to check for future activity. Additionally, homeowners can request year-round protection from termites and many other insects with our AllPest Elimination Plan. We’ll come to your home multiple times a year to check for termite activity and much more. With our services you can rest assured that your home will stay pest free! Call Preferred Pest Control today at (515) 276-7277 or schedule an appointment online.
Our pest professionals also inspect homes for new movers! If you’re buying a house, have our local pest exterminators check the new location for signs of termite damage.
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