What is a Termite?
Termites are an ancient descendant of the modern-day cockroach. Millions of years ago, during the Jurassic or Triassic period, termites evolved. They live in colonies very much the same way that bees and ants live. A colony’s hierarchy is focused on fertility: fertile males are kings, fertile females are queens, and infertile males and females are workers. This structure makes termites a formidable opponent to destroy. Only by taking out the queen termite will a colony be destroyed.
That being said, termites are extremely beneficial for the earth. They break down the rotting vegetation of the forests and produce soluble nutrients for regenerative growth. Without termites, the earth would be a giant rotting vegetable. However, they don’t quite understand the difference between forest timber and the floor joists in your home. So, though they are great for the environment, they must be eradicated from human structures.
Termites go through three stages of life: egg, nymph, and adult. A termite colony, unencumbered, will grow in size, from year to year. Some colonies live for decades with just a single queen that single-handedly produces every other termite. Termite colonies of three to five decades of age can reach numbers of over a million. These colonies are self-regulating, acting as a collective hive mind, which gives them the classification of Superorganism.
Types of Termites
Thousands of species of termite exist on the planet, with more discovered every year. Environmentally, termites can be split up into three classifications, based on their natural habitat and geographic area. These include subterranean, dampwood, and drywood termites.
Subterranean termites make the largest nests and the biggest colonies. They live underground, in the soil beneath and around the foundation of your house. Subterranean termites are the most destructive to homes in the United States. If untreated, they will eat through floor joists, exterior walls and more. The size of these colonies makes for fast work in chewing through a home’s timber.
If your home is near woods, in an area of high moisture, you will find dampwood termites. Luckily, they keep to themselves in the forests and woods—not your home. These termites live above the soil, inside trees and in the canopies. The wooden timbers and structural supports in the walls of your home are kept dry. Dampwood termites only live in the moist, rotting trees of forests and woodlands. However, if your home experiences water damage, all bets are off.
Drywood termites, also known as termite swarmers, will not be found in the ground. These critters take to the skies, fly into your home, and find a nice, crunchy upright two by four support on which to munch. They are widely responsible for damage to homes and building structures. However, unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites take a long time to chew their food. Therefore, it takes them quite a while to cause serious damage to your home. Even so, you will not notice the infestations presence, until the damage has been done.
How to Find Out if Your House Has Termites
There are two ways of going about checking for termites. The first—and best option—is to hire a professional pest control specialist to perform an assessment of your home. No matter what, they are the only ones that can objectively inform as to the extent of an infestation. The second option is to perform a spot check on your house. When you are checking to see if your house has termites, look for…
The first place to look for termite damage is in the wood of your home. Unfortunately, if the wood damage is readily apparent, it means there is a significant infestation in that area. Finding wood damage is a sign that you should call a professional to appraise the situation.
Check for soft or spongy wooden floors. If flooring is abnormally spongy, it could be an indication of termite damage to your floor joists. If you have access to your home’s supporting studs, check for hollowing of the wood, by knocking on the beam. Start at the base and work your way to the top of the wooden beam, listening for the knocking sound to change, from solid and muted to hollow.
Drywood termites have wings before they find a suitable place to eat and reproduce. Once they find dry timber, their wings come off as they squeeze their way into the wood. A sign of termites is discarded wings. Look at the floor of your house, near baseboards, studs, and anything with wood. If you see little, crunchy wings strewn across the ground, it’s a clear sign of termites.
Subterranean termites create mud tubes in the exterior of objects, structures, and materials that connect directly to the earth. Look for brown lines that follow a meandering path, from low to high. These are easily identifiable on structures of a contrasting color like stone, concrete, and cement. These tubes are used by termites to regulate their body temperature. Use a knife or stick to remove some of the mud tubes. If termites crawl out, use a termite spray spot treatment to kill them—then call a professional. The extent of an infestation is like an iceberg: the majority of it is unseen.
Unlike bat poop, termite poop is not toxic or harmful. However, it is a clear indication of a termite problem. Look for tiny brownish-black pellets on wood surfaces, floorboards, and at the base of door and window frames. If you find any little wood colored, pellet-sized excrement, it’s time for your house to get a professional termite treatment.
If you have any living plants in your house, termite poop is a great fertilizer. Scoop it up, and throw it in with your plants. If you don’t have plants, throw it outside in the grass.
What are Termite Sprays?
A termite spray is an application of termiticide that is dispersed using a wide angle projectile application. It involves a pump system and can consist of a liquid or foam treatment. Professional termite spray treatments are used for spot applications, in conjunction with a liquid treatment to expose the colony.
For consumers, diluted spot treatment applications can be done with a store-bought termite spray. However, these are only suitable as a deterrent and for small areas of exposure. As a preventative measure around small areas, however, they are convenient and effective. Read below to see our picks for the 4 best termite sprays of 2018.
The Bottom Line
Pest infestations require immediate and long-term approaches in order to be exterminated, for good. Preventative measures and spot treatments can be administered by our picks for the four best termite sprays of 2018. They provide immediate and short-term solutions to termite infestations.
If you have termites, the best solution is to use Precision Foam Termite Spray for nooks and crannies, Bayer Termite Killer Spray for around the outside of your home, and Terro Termite Spray for your home’s interior. All the while, have someone call a professional to find out about the best termite treatments for long-term protection.
Thanks for reading about the four best termite sprays of 2018. If you have used one of the products mentioned in the article, feel free to leave us a comment or question regarding your experience. And don’t forget to sign up for our weekly newsletter.