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    Termites: The $5,000,000,000 Problem

    September 11, 2015

    One of the biggest dangers to you and your home could be living right under your own roof. That's right, termites cost American home and business owners over $5 billion annually and have even caused entire buildings to collapse. Did you know that most insurance companies in Richmond and other cities won’t even cover the cost caused by termites? This leaves the financial responsibility on you and can cause complete financial ruin under certain circumstances. So how do you identify this destructive creature?

    How to Identify Termites in Your Home

    Termites live in colonies that can number anywhere from a hundred thousand to a million. The colony is divided into 3 castes: The workers, soldiers, and reproductives. Each caste has its own distinctive marking, but they are all generally about ¼ ‘’ long. The workers are creamy white and have no wings. The soldiers look similar to workers except they have a larger more yellow head and strong jaws for chewing. The reproductives are around ½’’ long and are dark colored with wings, well, for a while. The reproductives make up the largest part of the colony. They are the ones you are most likely to see around buildings in Arlington because they swarm in the spring and on warm summer days after a rain.


    You will notice ‘flying ants’ swarming around areas of moist wood like tree stumps or mulch. Once they find a place to call home, termites will mate and drop their wings. The females will then enter their new domain and begin a new colony.

    Mud Tubes

    Having said that, how many of us actually walk around the house and yard looking at insects after a rain, anyway? These termites are especially elusive because, aside from the reproductives, they have to stay in contact with the soil; and you are not likely to even notice they are around until the damage they have created has become severe. Mud tubes can help you identify termites, however. To avoid ants and other enemies, termites build mud structures to bridge the gap on surfaces between wooden structures. These mud tubes are made of soil and excrement. They measure about the width of a pencil but are noticeable from the outside of your home.

    Live Insects

    If you’re doing a bit of remodeling you might notice soft-bodied insects that are light in color. These could be termites. If they are about the size of a grain of rice, it’s time to call an exterminator.

    Damaged Wood

    Termites eat wood from the inside out. Unfortunately, this means that the damage they leave behind isn’t visible until your structure is destroyed. However, a trick inspectors use is to tap lightly on the wall to listen if it sounds hollow. If it does, it could mean you have a termite infestation.

    Tips to Prevent a Termite Infestation in Your Home

    The first step to preventing a termite infestation in your home is to know what you’re up against. Knowing your enemy gives you a fighting chance to prevent thousands of dollars of damage to your property. Now that you know some basic signs of termites, it’s time to dive deeper into subtler ways to identify termites. A few tips include the following. -Check around windows, tubs, and sinks for piles of discarded wings. -Check the structural beams in your basement for a blistering or crusted appearance -Check for signs of termites around damaged or rotting wood sources in and around your home. -Examine exposed wood in your home by piercing it with a screwdriver. If any of these signs are present it is important that you take them seriously and have a professional inspect for a termite infestation. Pest control can’t happen until you identify there is a problem, so don’t take any of these signs lightly.

    How Can I Prevent a Termite Infestation?

    Catching termites sooner rather than later is important to prevent serious damage. We know that termites eat wood, but what exactly is so attractive about your house that they would choose to live there, and what are some ways you can prevent a termite infestation?
    • Keep mulch and plants at least 15’’ from your foundation
    • Store wood at least 20 ft from your home
    • Trim back tree and shrub branches that touch your home
    • Prevent water accumulations by using gutters and downspouts
    • Fix any leaking pipes or AC units immediately
    • Ventilate attics, basements, and crawl spaces
    Of course, if you find out that you have a termite infestation, the next step is to control termites. That falls on the shoulders of a professional team of pest control experts, like us at Mitchell Pest. But what are the different types of termite treatments?

    Different Types of Termite Treatments

    Non-Chemical Treatments

    If the worst happens and you end up with a termite infestation, then the next step is to have pest control experts to help you out. Non-chemical treatments are a good option. One method to kill termites is by creating a physical barrier that is added during a remodel or new construction job but you need to get more info at the inspector's company. This steel mesh can help. Another option is biological control agents like fungi, which can kill termites effectively. The EPA does not regulate non-chemical treatments.

    Chemical Treatments

    As termite control experts in Virginia, we use chemical treatments that have been proven safe and effective by the EPA. These chemicals have demonstrated that they can provide structure protection and go straight to the source of your termite problem.

    Call Professional Termite Pest Control Experts in Virginia

    Even when you follow all of these suggestions to keep termites away, you may find yourself having to deal with them. They are voracious eaters and will find the tiniest nook and cranny of your home in Virginia Beach to invade if it means a meal. At Mitchell Pest, we use the most up-to-date technology and products to battle pests, and we will use natural products and baits whenever possible. We also offer professional initial inspections before the service, as well as termite damage repair options after the service has been completed. Don’t let termites get the upper hand and destroy the structural integrity of your home. Call Mitchell Pest today for help. Read about The Mouse Invasion.