Wreaking destruction 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; termites are stated as one of the demolishing species by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). The termites cause over five billion dollars’ worth of damage each year in the United States, and the worst part is that the homeowners’ insurance does not cover this cost.
Disregarding the termites’ presence can prove to be a nuisance for your property and costly possessions. These insects tend to eat all day long, which makes their existence in your house the worst thing to endure.
Let’s get into the topic at hand and find out in detail what kind of termites can be of danger to humans and what happens if you ignore termites in your apartment.
Types of Termites
Although there are more than 2,000 species of termites in the world, only around 50 of them are found in the United States. Out of all the distinct species, there are four that pose real threats to your homes.
1. Subterranean Termites
The subterranean termites are also known as the ground termites, as they live underground in massive colonies. These are the most common and destructive types of termites that usually prefer warm climates.
These insects can dig up to 46 meters into the ground to locate their food that mostly consists of wood and insulation pipes. That deep underground, the termites mostly destroy support beams and house foundations. The subterranean termites are the cause of 90 percent of the termites’ damage in North America.
2. Drywood Termites
The drywood termites live above the ground level as they prefer to make their nests inside trees and woods. These species are called drywood termites because they don’t need moisture in their homes, as they take it from the humidity in the air.
These insects are mostly found in your apartment’s window sills and door frames. Although the termites-affected wood looks fine from the outside, they are weak and crumbling from the inside majority of the time.
3. Dampwood Termites
As the name suggests, dampwood termites like to nest their colonies in damp and decaying woods so they can survive without soil. They are attracted to the places in your home where there is a leaking pipe or roof, fallen logs, or woodpiles. These termites are bigger than other types of termites and have reddish-brown heads.
The dampwood termites are found in all states except Alaska. However, as long as your home is free of any water leak and damp, rotten woods, there is no danger of these termites to your home.
4. Formosan Termites
The Formosan termites are incredibly destructive, and they are mostly found in Louisiana, California, Georgia, New Mexico, North California, and South California. These termites typically invade boats, trees, and sometimes homes, infesting on wood and other cellulose-based items.
Now that you know what kind of termites can be harmful to your home, the next step is to be informed about their visible signs in your house.
What Are the Signs of Termites?
The termites are known as the ‘silent destroyers’ because of their ability to secretly hide in apartments for a long period. As the signs of prominent damages are not immediate, it isn’t easy to know these pests are residing inside your home.
People mostly notice termites when they flock in the early spring, and by then, it is always too late. Here are a few signs you can look out for, which will help you figure out if your home is infested with termites:
- Swarms of winged insects in your home or around the soiled and damp areas
- Mud tubes on your walls
- Peeling paint that looks like water damage
- Discarded wings around the apartment, mostly in the nooks and corners (resembles tiny fish scales)
- Wood items that sound hollow when you tap them
- Squeaky floorboards
- Termite droppings (tiny oval-shaped capsules that look like small piles of salt or pepper)
- Increase in cracks or bubbling paint on your walls
If you see signs of termite infestation in your home, you should immediately act on it by calling a professional pest control agency. Homeowners can prevent their homes from termite infestation, but they can’t control it themselves after the deed is done.
What Happens If You Ignore Termites?
A termite infestation can cause some severe damages to your property. About 600,000 apartments encounter damage because of termite infestation in the U.S. each year. The reason behind this is that many people ignore the signs of termites, as the damages do not look that wrecking at first.
However, you should know what happens if you ignore termites in the long term, and how much their actual destruction and your ignorance can cost you.
Damages of Termites
Here are some of the excessive damages you will see in your house when you ignore termites for a long time:
1. Severely Damaged Walls
The first thing you will notice if there are termites in your house is the damaged wall. Termites target the walls first, as it provides them with the best-protected habitat. They can demolish your apartment walls without making an appearance, but you will see the damaging effects nevertheless.
The termites will nibble through your inside walls, which will ultimately weaken the pillars of the walls. It is the sign of termites’ damage when there are cracks and bubbling paint in your wall, and the solid wall sounds hollow when tapped.
2. Foundation Damage
The subterranean termites live underground, where they dig their way to food sources that include the properties’ foundation. These termites are the most destructive of all as their diet continues 24/7, and they have huge colonies of millions of termites. It takes time to weaken the foundation, but once it happens, your property will always be in the danger zone.
3. Destruction of Cellulose-Based Materials
The termites prefer to live close to wood; however, they enjoy the cellular-based materials like carpet just as much. These insects proliferate under the carpet if you leave them unattended. Although the termites don’t damage carpet like walls, it serves as an excellent place for them to multiply their colonies.
You will feel the destruction when these termites decide to make an appearance in your house, damaging everything in their way.
4. Windows and Doors Infestation
Termites also destroy your house’s doors and windows completely from the inside. Termites also target the attics once they start infesting your home. If you see that the wood is looking wavy, has voids, and sounds hollow on tapping, then that is enough of a proof of termite infestation.
Once the damage is done, the window sills and door frames will crack on the lightest of external pressure.
This is what happens if you ignore termites. To prevent a termite infestation, you should also know how these insects enter your house in the first place.
How Do the Termites Enter Your Home?
The termites can trespass into your home regardless of the construction type of your property. That’s because these pests consume cellular-based materials, which they can easily find in all houses.
Termites enter your homes from the foundation, or from gaps and cracks around the wires, pipes, and woods that are accessible to these insects. They can also invade your house through:
- Firewood stacks leaning against your property
- Damp soil in your yard
- Trees that are planted close to your house
- Porches and decks
- Leaking pipes, gutters, faucets, and downspouts
- All above-ground locations that constantly stay wet
How to Prevent Termites
You can take some definite measures to protect your home from a termite infestation, including:
- Receive annual or bi-annual termite inspections from a professional, licensed expert.
- Seal all the gaps and crevices around the water and gas lines.
- Remove termites’ access points to your house by blocking the highways that join ground points to the upper levels.
- Get rid of the extra cellulose-based items from inside and outside of your house.
- Make sure water does not pool around your house.
- Repair the leaky pipes, faucets, and gutters.
- Remove lumbers and dead trees from around your property.
- Inspect your wood materials from time-to-time to make sure there is no damage.
- Refresh your wall paints annually to seal all crevices and cracks.
- Install bug screens in your attic and foundation vents.
Are Termite Bites Dangerous to Humans?
The termites don’t bite humans. However, in some cases, it happens when you try to handle them with your bare hands. Their bites mostly leave small red spots on your skin, which may itch for a couple of days. The bites don’t contain any venom that means you wouldn’t be harmed from their bites at all.
Some Facts About Termites
- According to scientific research, termites eat almost 2 to 3 percent of their body weight every day.
- The termites typically measure between one eight of an inch to one inch in length.
- A termite queen can live for approximately 25 years while laying eggs every 15 seconds.
- Florida ranks the highest in the termites’ infestation list.