How To Identify And Get Rid Of Termites On Your Yakima County Property

Many people consider termites to be one of the most destructive of all the pests that could invade your Yakima County property. But how much destruction can they do, and how do you know if you have termites at all?

Here's what Yakima County homeowners should know about identifying the signs of termites, how they can destroy your property, what attracts termites, and how pest control in Yakima County can make all the difference.

How To Identify Signs Of Termites

One of the main reasons termites cause so much damage is that infestations can go unnoticed for months or years. Unlike many pests, termites create damage out-of-sight within the wall and foundations of your home, allowing them to stay hidden.

However, while you won't likely see termites or their damage directly, there are other signs of a termite infestation that you should be on the lookout for:

  • Sticking doors and windows: Termites introduce extra moisture into your walls and flooring, which can warp your door and window frames. As a result, windows and doors may suddenly get stuck or feel as if they no longer fit on their frames as well as they should. 
  • Frass: Termite droppings are called frass. Frass is found in small piles and usually resembles sawdust or coffee grounds. When termites dig into wood, they kick out their frass in the process, which can end up piled near baseboards or the floor. 
  • Swarms: In the springtime, male and female reproductive termites sprout wings and leave the colony in swarms. If you see the actual swarms flying around your property, it's almost certain that they've made their way to your home. 
  • Discarded wings: Along with seeing an active swarm, you may also find the shed and discarded wings that termites have left behind. Their wings resemble fish scales and are often found piled around doors and windows.
  • Water-damaged wood: As termites tunnel into your walls, the resulting damage can allow in moisture that causes paint to peel, dywall to droop, and walls to become discolored.
  • Hollow wood: Tap lightly on wooden walls and doors in your home. Wood that sounds hollow when you tap it may be due to termite tunneling.

It's unlikely that you'll see any of these signs immediately. Most termite colonies start small, and it can take a few years before they do noticeable damage to your home. 

Naturally, you're most likely to find drywood termites in dry wood; namely, the walls and floors of your home. Since these pests don't require as much moisture to survive as other termites, they make their colonies where they have easy access to their food source.

Subterranean termites are the most common type of termite in Yakima County homes. These termites live in a caste system, and termites with different roles have different appearances and behaviors. Soldiers defend their colonies, and you can recognize them by their large mandibles, creamy-white coloring, and brown heads. Alates, or reproductive swarmers, are usually black or dark brown in color and have two pairs of wings. These termites are the only type that has wings. Workers are the most common type of termite. Growing to only a quarter inch in length, these termites are cream-colored and resemble white ants.

Subterranean termites get their name from where they build their nests. Rather than hide in your walls like drywood termites do, subterranean termites like to build their nests underground where there's more moisture. They use mud tubes to move from underground areas to their nearest food source.

Given Yakima County's wet and overcast climate, you're also likely to see dampwood termites from time to time. Dampwood termites don't mind living underground, but since they have a more significant need for moisture, it's not uncommon to find them in decaying or rotting wood. Dying trees or damaged sheds and barns are especially popular for dampwood termites to live inside.

How Termites Can Slowly And Silently Destroy Your Property

Around homes, termites are notorious for eating through your wood, and even small infestations can cause severe structural damage. The size of the average termite colony can range from around 60,000 to 250,000 termites, but even just a small colony with only 60,000 individuals is capable of eating through five grams of wood per day.

Is there a way to get rid of termites yourself? It's not a good idea to get rid of termites on your own, and here's why.

As soon as you realize you've got a termite problem on your hands, it's important to get rid of them quickly – but many homeowners go about this the wrong way. Too many homeowners assume that they can handle termites on their own, but most DIY methods are ineffective at getting rid of termites in the long term.

For instance, insecticides and bait monitoring stations are popular DIY methods that promise to get rid of the entire termite colony. The bait monitoring stations draw termites in, but they're full of a poisonous toxin that should infect the termites in the trap and then spread to the rest of the colony.

Bait monitoring stations may be able to take out a portion of your termite infestation, but they rarely get rid of all the larvae and eggs that are left in the colony.

Cardboard traps are another DIY treatment. You use moist cardboard to draw the termites in, and then burn the cardboard once they've started to feed off it. Much like bait monitoring stations, cardboard traps might take care of part of the colony, but the larvae and eggs will still survive, allowing the termites to continue reproducing.

Are termites dangerous, and do they spread disease? The good news is that termites aren't known to transmit diseases like some pests are, but that doesn't mean they are harmless. Even if they aren't linked to disease, termites can trigger allergic reactions in many people.

Common Factors That Attract Termites To Your Property

What do termites eat? Termites aren't picky eaters, but they've got a major hankering for cellulose materials, including:

  • Wood 
  • Carpet
  • Insulation
  • Cardboard
  • Paper 
  • Fabric 
  • Plants 
  • Animal droppings

So if you're wondering, do termites eat cedar? The answer is yes. Anything containing cellulose is a termite's dream.

A termite problem can be difficult to prevent, but here are some natural ways to make your Yakima County home less attractive to these pests:

  • Eliminate any contact between soil and wood: Subterranean termites are drawn to homes that allow easy access between wood and soil, so you'll want to create distance between wooden siding and the ground around your home. 
  • Fix any leaks: If you've got leaking roofs, pipes, or other moisture issues, it may only be a matter of time before you end up with termites. Most termites, especially dampwood termites, are drawn to water-damaged or rotting wood. 
  • Get rid of clutter: Cellulose materials, like paper, cardboard boxes, newspapers, and other excess clutter, can attract termites. Try to regularly de-clutter your home of any items with cellulose. 
  • Regularly check for termites: Checking for the signs of termites listed above can help you catch infestations early. You may not always notice them unless you're specifically looking for them. 
  • Check for white ants: If the infestation is bad enough, you may see what loos like "white ants," which are actually termites. If you're seeing white ants around your property, there will likely be other signs of termites too.

And, as mentioned above, the best way to catch termite infestations – or find ways that you may be attracting them – is by working with a pest control company.

Although you can limit the factors that attract termites, these pests can still sometimes wander onto your property. For this reason, it's essential to make sure you do not forget about annual inspections from a pest control management professional.

In addition to checking for signs on your own, a pest management professional performing annual inspections can find termites before they've dug too deeply into your home. Even if you do not see any signs, having a professional perform regular inspections is still a good idea.

And, if you're moving into a new home, it's never a bad idea to get an inspection for termites before you make any costly decisions.

Call The Professionals At The First Sign Of Termites On Your Property

DIY termite solutions, like OTC insecticides and baits, may eliminate some of the problems, but they're usually ineffective at completely getting rid of termites. In fact, the only foolproof way to eliminate termites from your home is with professional help from Prosite in Yakima County. 

Our experienced professionals have dealt with both big and small termite infestations, and we've got the right treatments to make your Yakima County home termite-free. If you're noticing some of the signs that we've highlighted above or just think it may be time to schedule that annual inspection, there's only one thing to do – call us at Prosite to learn more about how our termite control services work or to set up an appointment.

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