Cockroaches and mice are disgusting. Pigeons are annoying. Black widow spiders and raccoons are dangerous. Subterranean termites, however, are one of the most destructive pests that can invade your home or business. They attack the wood of your building so quickly and so completely that they have actually been known to cause structures to collapse. If you suspect that you have an infestation of subterranean termites, take immediate action before more damage can be done.
All About Subterranean Termites
Despite the huge amount of damage that they can do to a building, subterranean termites are only about 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch long. They are found throughout the United States, but have become quite a major problem in Virginia recently. True to their name, they prefer to live underground, but can also be found in damp areas above ground as well.
Subterranean termites swarm in the spring when the warm weather and frequent rains trigger colonies to send out winged termites to reproduce. These winged termites look much like flying ants, but are smaller in size. Once the mating is over, the termites shed their wings. When looking for infestations, look for piles of small, fish scale-like wings near your building in the spring. Another way to tell if you have an infestation is to see if there are “mud tubes” in or around the wood of your building.
How to Get Rid of Subterranean Termites
There are many methods for getting rid of subterranean termites, and every pest control professional seems to use a different one. The three major types of termite treatments are repellent liquid termiticide, non-repellent liquid termiticide, and bait systems.
Repellent liquid termiticides are injected into the soil around your home and designed to keep termites from entering the structure. This is the least expensive treatment option, it begins protecting your home or business immediately, and it can repel termites for about five years. Repellent liquid termiticides, however, do not kill subterranean termites and it is possible that they could still find ways to get into your building.
Non-repellent termiticide is applied to the soil much like the repellent liquids, but the termites cannot detect it. When the termites tunnel through soil treated with non-repellent termiticides, they pick it up on their bodies and spread it to the rest of the colony. Eventually the entire nest dies. This is a bit more costly than the repellent termiticides, but it is also the most effective and long lasting treatment.
Bait systems are the most expensive treatments for subterranean termites. While they are environmentally friendly and provide fewer health risks for humans and animals, they are also less effective than liquid treatments.