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The Importance Of A Quality Termite Control Program For Your Fort Myers Home

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Keeping termites out of your home can feel like a full-time job here in Florida because we have up to 20% of the termite infestations in the entire United States. The good news is there are plenty of termite experts here at Stat Pest Control whose job is actually to keep termites away from your home. Because termites are so sneaky and good at hiding, you need to include professional termite prevention in your Fort Myers pest control efforts. 

About The Termite Caste System

Part of the reason that a termite problem can exist for so long in your home without you noticing is the termite social order and diet. Termites live very similarly to ant colonies. The colony has a queen who does all of the reproductive work for the entire civilization, while the rest of the termite individuals take care of her and her offspring, which will become the next generation of termite workers and reproductives. 

The primary queen is at the top of the termite caste system, and directly underneath her is the primary termite king. There may also be secondary termite queens and kings in the colony as well to replace the main queen and king when they die, along with the rest of the future reproductive juveniles known as alates. Once these reproducing males and females mature, they will take flight in order to pair off and found satellite nests around the originating colony.

However, the reproductive individuals in a termite colony are vastly outnumbered by the sterile individuals. There are two major classes of non-reproductive termites: soldier and worker. Soldiers have overlarge mandibles, and their primary job is to use these strong and dangerous jaws to prevent intruders from gaining entry to the termite nest. Workers vastly outnumber soldiers, and they do pretty much everything else required by the colony, including feeding the termite larvae and the soldiers themselves, because soldier termites' huge mandibles prevent them from eating on their own. 

This close-knit society can go for many years without you ever discovering its presence because termites eat cellulose, which means they can eat the wood they infest. This, in turn, means that termites do not have to send out foraging workers the way that ants do, and you will almost never see termite individuals outside the colony. So a major clue that you have an ant infestation – seeing actual ants wandering around your home – is not present with termite infestations. This makes early termite identification very difficult because it allows termite colonies to remain in your home for much longer than they might otherwise be able to if they frequently exited their nests. And, of course, they'll be doing damage the whole time. 

The Extent Of Damage Termites Can Silently Do To Your Home

Everyone knows that termites can damage your home, but not everyone is aware of just how severe termite damage can be. In fact, termites do so much damage that they even compete with a lot of natural disasters in terms of repair costs. Termites do at least $5 billion dollars per year in damage to homes across the United States, and many times, insurance companies will not cover termite destruction because they consider termite infestations to be a maintenance issue that is the responsibility of the homeowner. This means you could be on the hook for potentially tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage from termite infestations. 

The main problem with termites is that they eat wood. That means they carve straight into whatever wood they infest, digging out tunnels and chambers and consuming the wood the entire time. In the forest, this is actually a good thing. Termites infest decaying logs, eating the cellulose inside and turning it into nutritious fertilizer for the soil as they digest it. Without termites, the process of decay would take much longer, meaning vital nutrients might take many more years before they made it into the soil to feed living trees. Without termites, many of the world's forests might not be able to exist.

On the flip side, as good as termites are for the forest, they're equally bad for your home. The same things they do to trees, they'll do to the support beams, floor joists, and wall studs in your house's frame. If this is allowed to go on long enough, it can actually wind up rendering your home unlivable because its structure is unsound. When you combine the massive damage that termites can do with the fact that they can hide out in your home for many years, you can see just how much of a danger these pests truly are. 

Why Annual Termite Inspections Are So Important

We've already discussed why termite infestations are so dangerous and why it's so easy for them to infest your home for many months and even years without you noticing. This fatal combination of termites' destructiveness and sneakiness means that, unfortunately, many of the signs of termites in your home will come after termites have already done significant damage to it. Signs of active termites include:

  • Buckled floors
  • Sagging ceilings
  • Bulging walls
  • Creaking or loose floorboards
  • Windows and doors that no longer fit in their frames
  • Inexplicable wood damage
  • Visible tunnels in exposed wood
  • Holes in drywall
  • Piles of termite sawdust
  • Mud tubes around your foundation
  • Rustling noises inside walls

Aside from increasingly severe damage around your home, another major sign of termites is alate swarms. When mature colonies send reproductive adults out to create new nests, these winged termites do not fly very far from the nest before performing their mating ritual, shedding their wings, and heading off to start new colonies. This means if you see clusters of flying termites or piles of shed wings on your property, the chances you have an ongoing problem are high. It also means any infestation you do have has likely been around for a while, as only mature colonies send out reproductive adults. 

This is why it's so vital to have an annual termite inspection done on your property. Termite control experts are trained to spot the earliest signs of termites, so that you can nip an infestation in the bud before it does major damage to your home. Termite experts also know how to find vulnerable areas in your home that could be conducive to termite development. Some of the conditions conducive to termite development are obvious, but some conducive conditions can only be spotted by a trained professional. To catch infestations in their earliest stages, as well as deal with conducive conditions before they actually lead to an infestation, you'll need a professional termite inspection every year. 

Here at Stat Pest Control, our termite experts are the best of the best. We know how to deal with both subterranean and drywood termites, and we can help you catch early infestations before they become established, as well as eliminate the conditions that can lead to the development of a termite problem. When our inspectors come to your home, we'll investigate all the nooks and crannies of your house, as well as other wooden structures like sheds, fences, and mulch. This helps ensure that termite nests near your house don't spread into the house itself. If we do find active termites or conducive conditions, we'll develop and execute a treatment and/or prevention plan to keep your home free from termites for good. 

Call The Pros For The Best Termite Control And Protection

While you should always have an annual termite inspection, no matter what, there are many things you can do on your own to ensure that the inspection doesn't turn up an active infestation. If you take measures to reduce moisture buildup and wood-to-ground contact around your home, you can make it much less convenient for termites to infest. Take measures like:

  • Ensure all firewood is stored off the ground and at least 20 feet from your house. 
  • Keep at least six inches of bare ground between your home's foundation and mulch.
  • Make sure all wood components of your home are hard and dry, and get rid of any rotten or water-damaged wood. 
  • Clear wood debris, like rotting logs and dead trees, off your property. 
  • Fix moisture issues like condensation and poor drainage to deter subterranean termites. 
  • Trim bush and tree branches away from your home's exterior, and ensure no plant matter is touching your roof or siding. 

Making sure that no wood is touching the exterior of your home and dealing with moisture buildup can help make your house less attractive to termites, but it is no substitute for an annual termite inspection or professional termite treatments. 

Remember, whether you want to prevent future termite infestations or you're already seeing signs of active termites, you can count on Stat Pest Control to evict these destructive little devils and make sure they never come back. If you want the best termite control in Fort Myers, give us a call or visit our contact page to request your initial termite inspection today!