In case, you were wondering… Yes, we do have termites here in the Okanagan. TONS of them! And, unfortunately, right after ‘tis the season to be jolly, ‘tis now the termite season. So, be on the lookout for these sneaky and ravenous pests. Termite colonies range from hundreds of thousands to millions of members, with each colony capable of consuming half a kilogram of wood each day. Every year termites cause billions of dollars worth of property damage worldwide. Even our picturesque Okanagan isn’t safe, with our dry climate one of the favourite destinations in Canada for sun-loving termites. Here’s a quick guide on how to identify, track, and eradicate termites.
A termite colony contains hundreds, thousands, or even millions of termites. The worker caste is the largest group, who, as their name suggests, provide all the hard labour in the colony. Members of the soldier caste are more significant in size, but fewer in number than the workers. They have large heads with powerful jaws and the Queen is the founder and ruler of the colony. The most common species of termites in Canada include the eastern subterranean termite, the western subterranean termite (both a HUGE problem in the Okanagan!), and the Pacific dampwood termite. Subterranean species are responsible for the bulk of damage inflicted on homes, as the dampwood species target moist and rotting wood. Subterranean termites feed on wood, and homeowners usually encounter two types: the worker and the ‘swarmer’ (also known as alates). Worker termites are cream-coloured and about 3-4mm long. Usually, you only notice these pests when the wood you break open is infested with them. Swarmers are the winged ‘scouts’, sent out to form new colonies; they are about 4 mm in length and brown or black in colour. Subterranean termite workers can be found year-round, though swarmers, encouraged by rainfall and warmer temperatures, are often encountered in the spring.
The location of your property, as well as its structure, will both have an impact on the risk of a termite infestation. Subterranean termites eat from the ground up and usually enter through tiny cracks in the foundation or basement in and around your home. All structures are at risk including brick, steel and timber construction. Homes with crawl spaces are at significant risk of infestation. Termites can be hard to detect, and you’re far more likely to spot the signs of termite damage before you spot the culprits themselves. As termite activity primarily takes place below the surface of the wood, the pests are capable of eating through wooden floors, window frames, doors, panelling, even furniture; basically, your entire house is food for these insatiable pests! Termite infestation weakens the very foundation of your home, leading to deterioration and, unless cured, eventual collapse. Termites are of particular importance when buying or selling a home since a termite inspection/infestation could very well be a necessary condition of sale.
There are various ways to detect termites, whether by sight or sound. You may notice mud tunnels on basement walls (the evidence of our own subterranean termite here in the valley), or sawdust-like powder near doors and windows. You may see flying ‘swarmer’ termites around your home, or leftover wings near closed windows and doors. Tiny holes on any wood surfaces in or outside of your home are indications of a termite infestation. Also, you can literally ‘knock on wood’, and if the wood sounds hollow, it may mean termites have taken up residence inside it. Fun fact: when heavy infestations are concerned, knocking on termite-infested wood will cause workers to clack their mandibles together as a warning to “stay away” – this sound is audible to you and me!
Ok, first the bad news: Termites can be highly destructive, and having an infestation is a major pain the ‘a’ and two ‘s’s’. But the good news is that your friendly neighbour pest control company has all the expertise and equipment available to eradicate your termite infestation once and for all. Don’t try it yourself; get the experts in. Remember, many of the potential entry points for termites into the home are hidden and difficult to access, and an extensive knowledge of building construction is needed to identify weak spots.
So don’t let termites munch away on your valuables (your house, that is). Call BugMaster instead. We have many treatment choices to protect your home from termites. First, one of our qualified licensed technicians will assess your home, inside and out, to identify the right method of remediation. We consider factors such as the degree of infestation, construction materials, environmental concerns, cosmetic considerations, and of course – your budget. Our aptly-named Termite Termination Plan utilizes only the best and safest products.
Essentially, we blast those termites into the past so that, unlike Arnold, they won’t be saying ‘I’ll be back’. Contact us today to learn more about staying bug-free.
Source: Termite Basics: Colonies | Termites 101