HOW DO I GET RID OF TERMITES?

What Orkin Does
Based on the layout of your home and the degree of termite infestation, Orkin will create a customized treatment plan tailored for your home. This can include a variety of treatments such as Termidor Liquid, Dry Foam and OrkinFoam, and Sentricon Bait and Monitoring dependent on the areas of usage, situations, and species of termite. Learn more about our termite treatments here.

How Serious Are Termites?

A termite infestation and damage can be devastating to your home or property. Termites are often called the “silent destroyer” because they may be secretly hiding and thriving in your home or yard without any immediate signs of damage. All termites consume cellulose-based plant materials. Unfortunately, all homes, regardless of their construction type, can provide cellulose food for termite infestation.

Termite Warning Signs

Some indications you may have a termite infestation:

  • A temporary swarm of winged insects in your home or from the soil around your home.
  • Any cracked or bubbling paint or frass (termite droppings).
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Mud tubes on exterior walls, wooden beams or in crawl spaces.
  • Discarded wings from swarmers.
  • Types of Termites

    There are three major types of termites found in the United States:

    Three of the more common home-invading termite species are Eastern subterranean termites, Pacific dampwood termites, and Southeastern drywood termites.

    HOW DID I GET TERMITES?

    Termites invade homes by crossing from their colonies in yards to foundations. Cracks or gaps around pipes and wires give the pests access inside. Homeowners can also get termites from:

    • Wooden structures, like porches and decks, in direct contact with the ground
    • Stacks of firewood that lean against the house
    • Damp soil near foundations from leaking faucets, gutters, or downspouts
    • Trees and shrubs planted close to the building.

    Above ground locations in the house that remain damp enough to support termites without them needing to return to the moist conditions found in the soil.

    HOW DO I PREVENT A TERMITE INFESTATION?

    Since termites are a constant threat to your home, here are some things you can do during the year to help maintain the effectiveness of Orkin’s termite treatment plan. Small steps make a big difference in termite prevention and sustaining an effective termite treatment plan. Start by eliminating moisture conditions and termite food around your home. These simple steps make your home a less attractive target, helping deter termites.

    Eliminate Moisture Problems

    • Repair leaking faucets, water pipes, and A/C units
    • Divert water from foundation
    • Keep gutters and downspouts clean
    • Remove excessive plant cover and wood mulch
    • Get rid of standing water on roof
    • Keep all vents clear and open
    • Seal entry points around water and utility lines or pipes

    Remove Termite Food Sources

    • Keep firewood, lumber or paper away from foundation or crawl space
    • Get rid of stumps and debris near house
    • Place screens on outside vents
    • Check decks and wooden fences for damage
    • Wood on your home shouldn’t contact the soil

    Read more termite prevention tips.

    What Can I do About Termites?

    Learn more about how Orkin controls termites.

    BEHAVIOR, DIET & HABITS

    Where do they live?
    Commonly, termites live in wooden structures, decayed trees, fallen timber, and soil. Habitats vary among species as some termites require different amounts of moisture. The pests are found in greater numbers in tropical regions where living conditions for termites is optimal.

    Subterranean termites are the most abundant variety and can be found throughout the United States. Both dampwood and drywood species are generally more localized in the Southern states.

    Subterranean termite homes are usually formed in soil. Within these mounds, termites build elaborate tunnel systems and mud tunnels through which they access above-ground food sources.

    Termite Mud Tube
    Mud Tubes on Walls

    Drywood termites live within the wood they consume and oftentimes infest walls and furniture.

    When a colony has matured, winged, swarming termites can be seen around windows and doors. Winged termites are highly attracted to sources of light and are most active in springtime. After mating, these termites locate a new breeding site and create another colony, spreading infestations throughout multiple locations in the case of drywood termites.

    What Do They Eat?
    Termites are detritivores, or detritus feeders. They feed on dead plants and trees. Termites get nutrients from cellulose, an organic fiber found in wood and plant matter. Wood makes up the majority of the pests’ diet, although termites also eat other materials such as paper, plastic, and drywall. Most species prefer dead wood, but some termites feed on living trees.

    Each type of termite has its own dietary preferences.

    • Subterranean termites prefer softwoods, but may invade most species of wood.
    • Dampwood termites generally stay close to the ground, but will choose moist, decaying wood anywhere it is found.
    • Drywood termites are often found in attics and require little moisture in the wood they eat.

    A termite’s mouth is capable of tearing pieces of woody material. This ability is what causes concern in human dwellings: while termite workers only measure approximately 1 cm to a few millimeters in length, their feeding habits are capable of causing costly damage to property. House foundations, furniture, shelves and even books are all possible feeding sites for termites.

    Read more about what termites eat.

    LIFE CYCLE & REPRODUCTION

    Workers and soldiers live approximately one to two years. Queen termites may survive for over a decae under optimal climate conditions.

    Workers are responsible for gathering and feeding the colony members, maintaining the nest, and caring for young. Soldiers protect the termite colony using their large mandibles to fend off predators. Reproductives are the only sexually mature members of the colony, aside from queens and kings. Read more about termite colonies.

    Mating Flight

    The life cycle of the termite begins with a mating flight, wherein swarming winged reproductive males and females leave established colonies and procreate. After fertilization, winged termites land and shed their wings, going on to form new colonies. These insects then become the king or queen termites of their newly established colonies. The queen and king termites are at the center of the termite life cycle and are responsible for reproduction.

    Eggs

    After the fertilized queen lays her eggs, they hatch into pale white larvae.

    Molting

    Eggs hatch into larvae and molt (shed their exoskeletons) to develop into workers, soldiers, primary reproductives and secondary reproductives. A nymph is a young termite that is going through molts to become a reproductive.

    The termite growth process begins with a process called molting. First, a termite develops a soft exoskeleton under its current, hard exoskeleton. Then, once the termite has reached maturity, its outermost skeleton splits open, and the new exoskeleton enlarges and hardens. This molting process continues throughout a termite’s life cycle based on the colony’s needs.

    Larvae

    Over the course of several molts, these larvae grow to assume a role in one of the three termite colony castes: workers, soldiers and reproductive termites, also known as alates.

    Termite Infestation and Control

    Termite colonies are active day and night, feasting on anything made of wood,plants or cotton. Termites attack structures of all types causing homeowners and business owners $5 billion in treatment and damage repair annually.