Have questions about termites? Our pest control heroes took the time to answer common questions we get from our customers about termites, signs of termite damage, and how to prevent a termite infestation. View the table of contents below to learn more about termites or find the answer to your specific question!
The following content was provided by Greg Rogers, one of our pest control heroes and termite experts here at Clegg’s Pest Control. Greg has extensive experience dealing with termites across North Carolina, especially in the area of residential and commercial fumigation for termite infestations. Some relevant links have been added to audio transcripts to provide resources or additional information.
Table of Contents: Termites
Click on a question below to be taken directly to that answer and content.
- What do termites look like?
- What does termite damage look like?
- What happens during a termite inspection?
- How do you treat for drywood termites vs. subterranean termites?
- Why do I need fumigation for drywood termites?
- How long does termite fumigation last? How long is the tent up?
- Can termites come back after treatment?
- What can I do to prevent termites?
- What is the most common type of termite in North Carolina?
- What is the difference between a drywood and subterranean termite?
- What is a Formosan termite?
- How do I know if I have termites or carpenter ants?
- If I buy a home, how do I know if it has been treated for termites?
- If I’m buying a home that has termites, can I force the current owner to deal with them before I buy it?
- Can you get rid of termites in a boat?
- How do I know if antique furniture or used furniture has termites?
- Do termites bite?
- Are there any good DIY treatments for termites?
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What do termites look like?
Well, there’s two types of termites that you would look at. Being the same termite, the termites that are actually in the wood that are feeding are more of a creamy translucent color. This termite’s about an eighth of an inch long, they’re blind, they’re soft bodied, and there always are in a forging looking emotion. The other insect that’s in that cast of insect is what they call the swarming termites. That’s what most homeowners find that alarms them that they got termites because they see these flying insects, which are what are called formers. That’s usually what is found mainly.
What does termite damage look like?
Well, usually if you see something that has mud tubes coming up your wall, that looks erratic, just a small tube maybe about a quarter inch wide. If you find around windows and you see that the paint is cracking and peeling could be a sign. If you find in the windows, you just find wings. If you tap on areas and you hear that it’s hollow. Sometimes it could be sagging floors. If you do find actual some mud and you see some damage and it looks like a maze-like, that signs of termite.
What happens during a termite inspection?
During a termite inspection, the inspectors go out and they look for the points of entry for termites. Our inspectors are trained to look for the visible signs of termites, which can be one of many different things, such as droppings, wings, mud tubes and signs of damage to the wood. Also, we look for conducive conditions, such as wood debris and moisture. One of the big things we usually find with termites is under porches, garages and windows seems to be the big thing that we find when we’re looking for these signs. Another insect that helps us find stuff is spiderwebs because they catch a lot of things and it helps us to identify what’s caught in webs at some point. A spider will help you diagnose a lot of stuff.
How do you treat for drywood termites vs. subterranean termites?
Drywood termites normally would require a fumigation. That is the process of tenting the house, adding that gas to the home, holding it for 24 hours and then aerating of the gas. That will generally take care of a drywood termite. Also drywood termites come in furniture, so the same thing. We would do the same thing as far as fumigation for termites. Subterranean Termites would require either the traditional basic liquid treatment around the home and-or the a bait system.
Why do I need fumigation for drywood termites?
Well, because they’re normally contained in the walls or in type of furniture and the gas is able to get itself into everything inside a home, every crack, every crevice. That’s how that kills the drywood termite.
How long does termite fumigation last? How long is the tent up?
If you’re dealing with a termite, a drywood termite, the label for drywood termite is a 1X concentration at 24 hours. The homeowner in the state of North Carolina would have to leave the home. It’s about a three day process. It takes a half a day to get the house tented and wrapped and secured. Then once everything is locked and done, the gas is applied to the home and the house is guarded also. The whole time that the chemical process is going on, we have an employee at that property.
Can termites come back after treatment?
That’s interesting because we actually have a statement on that, on our Clegg’s website, but yeah, they actually can come back. Normally what happens, people that have a termite contract, if termites come back as part of your contract, we come back out and retreat at no cost. People always ask me, “You treated my house. Why do termites come back?” Well, the theory of doing a termite treatment is going around the house and putting a chemical barrier around the home. Doing this chemical barrier you’re digging a trench around the house and you’re putting four gallons for every ten linear foot. Also you’re drilling any slab areas. When you’re doing stuff like that where you actually cannot see where it’s actually going, there could be something that could block that chemical from getting in that area or something that would block where the termites were coming up. That’s why, even though you do a really good termite treatment with full grilling, everything, there could be some gaps left, but that’s the purpose of doing the termite treatment with the way the state requires you to do it.
What can I do to prevent termites?
The best thing to do is if you find termites is to go ahead and get a treatment done. I’ll break down treatments for you. In the state of North Carolina, if you’re building a home, that’s considered a pre-construction. During a pre-construction, we treat a home with chemical. When the foundations are put into the ground, we put the chemical down. Before they pour the slabs, we treat under the slabs. And then when the house is finished built and they do the final grade, we come out and trench a tree around the home. That’s considered a pretreat, which is a very low cost method of having a house done. Now, if you’re a homeowner and you’re living in a home, that’s what they call post treat, that’s when you have to have a liquid treatment done and-or a bait system in order to eradicate the termites that are in your home.
What is the most common type of termite in North Carolina?
In North Carolina in my dealings, Subterranean is the most, the East subterranean, is the most prevalent that we have in this area. However, me being a fumigator I get a lot of calls for drywood termites and I have had calls for Formosan termites, and mainly those are on the coast.
What is the difference between a drywood and subterranean termite?
A drywood termite, the biggest difference in a drywood termite and a subterranean is subterraneans have to go back into the ground because they rely on moisture. They can fit through the ground. A drywood termite is something that you could get in a piece of furniture and they actually can live off the moisture that’s inside the wood that they’re feeding on. Usually they’re very small colonies. The way you find out that you have a drywood termite is, A, you would have swarmers or B, they produce a pellet. When people find these pellets, they feel like little small granules of salt, that’s when you know that you usually have drywood termites.
What is a Formosan termite?
Formosan termite is the most aggressive termite that we deal with. They’re kind of like a drywood Termite, but they build a carton nest inside and they’re 10 times more aggressive than the subterranean termite and the drywood. Florida, South Carolina, Georgia is some of the areas that have a really, and New Orleans, have a really bad problem with that particular termite. As far as North Carolina, they hadn’t really showed themselves a couple of times. The only reason we’ve got hold of this one was the boat came from Georgia.
How do I know if I have termites or carpenter ants?
Usually with carpenter ants, you’re going to see the ant walking around. That’s the first sign. Second sign, if you see damage, most time with carpenter ants, their tunnels and galleries are really smooth and clear and they clean them out so a lot of the debris would be falling out, plus insect parts from the other insects that are in the colony. With termites, they’re much more of a rough looking damage. Usually you’ll see mud with that, which is indication for termites.
If I buy a home, how do I know if it has been treated for termites?
Most lenders now require a termite inspection, which is called a wood destroying insect report. In that report it will tell if you have anything that has to do with wood destroying, whether it be termite, wood boring beetles, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, all that’s listed on the report. Therefore you would know any of those insects that attack of the home that belong to the wood destroying would be on that report.
If I’m buying a home that has termites, can I force the current owner to deal with them before I buy it?
Yes, you can.
Can you get rid of termites in a boat?
That is correct. Most of those are usually drywood termites. I actually did one this year that was a Formosan termite that came from Georgia.
How do I know if antique furniture or used furniture has termites?
The biggest thing is to look for the saw dust. That’s how you know if it’s got what they call the Powderpost beetle. It gets its name because it’s like a baby powder type feel to it. We have a lot of that in antique furniture. When I get a lot of calls for fumigation, nine times out of 10, that’s what’s going on is Powderpost beetles that we fumigate furniture for.
Do termites bite?
Do termites bite? Well, my answer would be no to that. However, the termite soldier that protects the colony has mandibles, but they’re mainly used to defend the colony against their predators such as ants and things. They could probably grab a hold of a human skin, but it wouldn’t be strong enough to do anything that would hurt a person.
Are there any good DIY treatments for termites?
Well, in order to treat a home properly, you have to have the proper equipment. If you’re trying to do something without the proper equipment, it’s just like a mechanic trying to fix the car without the proper tools. It just doesn’t work as easily as it should or correctly. By being trained professional, we know where to apply, when to apply the product by the label, and that’s what you want to follow.