With Spring officially underway, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to discuss our not so favorite creepy crawly creatures – TERMITES! This is the perfect time to have your home inspected and make sure that your investment is kept safe from these pests.
A termite is an insect consisting of six legs and a body divided into three main parts: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. Termites have powerful jaws that can chew wood. Each jaw (mandible) of a termite has “teeth” which chew side to side rather than up and down like we do. The termite can rip up a piece of wood from the surface upon which it is standing. When the wood (cellulose) reaches the gut, it is acted upon by secretions from protozoa which inhabit the termite gut and is broken down into sugar.
The leading cause of wood damage is due to termites. Often times, damage may be found in only a relatively small portion of the wood member, but it still may require replacement of the entire length of the piece of wood (up to the natural breaking point, aka mitered splice).
Subterranean termites use their mandibles to carry bits of dirt in the construction of their tubes from the soil to under-parts of the wood. Drywood termites chew into the wood to extend the range of their living space. Termites are hard workers; in fact they never sleep. Termites live in colonies and divide their work among distinct members of the colony. Due to their crypto biotic (the habit of living in darkness) mode of living, the termite is protected from enemies and the extremes of heat and cold. As a rule, termites avoid light and seek narrow cracks and crevices. The winged reproductive, before swarming, may wait (3) months or more for the arrival of correct atmospheric conditions, especially as far as temperature and humidity are concerned.
Treating for termites is re-active, where maintaining a consistent and regular paint maintenance program is pro-active. Professional application of paint to exterior lumber encapsulates the wood and protects from future termite infestation. Exterior lumber should be fully primed on all (6) sides (including cut ends) prior to installation. Additionally, the impregnation of construction timbers with chemical preservatives (pressure treated lumber) is always the best option for protecting wood-to-earth contact conditions.
Remember, the best method of termite control
is always preventative and will also save you money in the long run.