Termite Facts

Useful Facts about Termites

Termites are often called the silent destroyer because they may be secretly hiding and thriving in your basement or attic without any immediate signs of damage.

While each termite species thrives in different climates and eats different types of food, all termites require four things to survive:

  • food
  • moisture
  • shelter
  • optimal temperature

Unfortunately, all homes, regardless of their construction type, can provide these ideal conditions for termite infestation.

3 Things to Know about Termites

Do you have termite problems? Chances are you’re not sure. Many homeowners don’t know these pests are lurking because termites mostly live unseen underground and in the walls of your home. Because an infestation is so difficult to diagnose, termites cause upwards of $5 billion in home damage each year.

If you’re wondering how to protect your home from these hidden invaders, these three tips from Orkin can help termite problems become a worry of the past.

  1. Termites are more active when and where it’s warm. Termites tend to be more active in warmer temperatures as they work to store food for the winter months. However, in warmer parts of the country, they are a year-round threat. In southern states and warmer climates, you’ll also find more species of termites.
  2. They may be sneaky, but termites do leave warning signs. Indicators of a termite infestation include wood that sounds hollow when tapped, cracked or bubbling paint, mud tubes on exterior walls or crawl spaces, and a temporary swarm of winged insects in or around your home.
  3. Simple steps can help prevent an infestation. While termite treatment should be left to an Orkin professional, you can take simple steps to help protect your home. Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris, install screens on exterior vents, store firewood and lumber away from your home, and eliminate moisture by fixing pipes and other home fixtures prone to leaking.

Don’t let these troublesome pests put a dent in your home or your wallet. If you’re concerned about termites in your home, call Orkin to set up a free inspection by an Orkin Pest Control termite specialist.

Common Termite Facts & Questions

Did You Know?

  • Species: There are approximately 45 species of termites in the U.S. There are more than 2,300 species worldwide.
  • Colonies: Termites are social insects that live in colonies with caste systems, which means termites are organized into different social classes based on their roles and responsibilities.
  • Caste system: The termite caste system has three levels: reproductives, workers and soldiers.
  • Blind: Worker and soldier termites are blind. Only termites that have become fully mature, reproductive termites develop eyes.
  • Communication: Since termites live in dark places and many of them are blind, termites communicate through pheromones (chemical signals) and vibrations caused by head-banging.
  • Nests: Termites build the largest nests of any insect.
  • Diet: Termites cannot “eat” wood. Termites require the help of single-cell organisms in their guts to digest cellulose (wood).
  • Ants: Ants are termites main predator. Ants can attack termite colonies or termite workers looking for food.
  • Damage: In the U.S., subterranean termites cause more damage than drywood and dampwood termites. Formosan termites, a species of subterranean termite, are responsible for the greatest amount of damage in the U.S.
  • In recorded history, termites have never developed resistance to any type of pesticide. Termites’ survival is due in part to the queen’s “royal taster system,” in which the colony’s workers taste and process all food before it is fed to the queen.
  • In Australia and Africa, very large and architecturally impressive termite mounds have become tourist attractions.
  • Termites have lived on Earth for approximately 250 million years.
  • While a serious threat to wooden structures, termites are also beneficial. Their ability to digest cellulose helps these insects recycle the nutrient base of the planet.

To help protect your home, contact a qualified termite expert to provide annual inspections and treatment, when necessary. Trained experts know all about termites, including their biology, behavior, signs of activity and prevention and control techniques.

In between service visits, make sure to monitor any unusual signs of pest activity around your home, including common warning signs for a termite infestation like swarms, mud tubes, and discarded wings.