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Termite Identification & Prevention

What are termites?

The termite is a species of wood-destroying insect that lives throughout the United States, including Hawaii. Termites are social, living and working together in large colonies divided into different groups, or castes. The soft-bodied workers make up most of the colony and are responsible for gathering food by invading wood and wooden structures. Soldiers protect the colony from danger with their strong jaws. The reproductive members (males and fertile females) are the only members with wings; large, black reproductive termites are often seen by people, emerging or swarming from mature colonies to find mates and create new colonies.

a group of termites inside a piece of structural wood

Termites feed on the cellulose found in wood and other plant matter. They are one of the few organisms able to feed on cellulose. Protozoa living in their stomachs convert the cellulose into usable sugar. The most common species of termites living in Honolulu are subterranean termites, Formosan termites, and West Indian drywood termites.

Are termites dangerous?

Termites are not directly dangerous to people; in fact, we rarely come into contact with them. However, termites are very dangerous to our properties. A single termite is not dangerous, but these insects live together in large groups, and when acting together as a whole, they cause extensive and costly damage. Across the country each year, termites cause billions of dollars in damage. Termite damage is not something that most homeowners insurance will cover, leaving the cost of repairs up to you. 

Why do I have a termite problem?

Termites thrive in Hawaii’s year-round tropical climate. Termites nesting on or near a property often become a problem for property owners once they find their way inside a home or other building while foraging for food.

  • They enter your home in many different ways, including:

  • Through cracks and crevices in the foundation.

  • Through wooden structures that are making direct contact with the soil.

  • Through the roof (Formosan termites).

  • Through pieces of wood or wood furniture already infested with termites (drywood termites).

Where will I find termites?

Where termites prefer to live depends on their species. Subterranean termites and Formosan termites do not nest inside the wood they are feeding on. They travel back and forth from their nest to their food source each day. Drywood termites, on the other hand, do live within the wood they are feeding on.

  • Subterranean termites create nests under the ground. Inside homes, these termites feed on the interior of structural wood located behind walls and below floors, usually near pipes and sinks. They prefer wood damaged by water. If necessary, subterranean termites create mud tubes that they use to travel through at ground level or to move across walls or floors. Mud tubes help them maintain moisture and stay hidden from predators.

  • Formosan termites will nest below or above the ground. Formosan termites create carton nests which allow them to nest aerially and still maintain their moisture needs. These termites often place their carton nests inside of walls voids or on top of flat rooftops. Formosan termites also prefer to feed on structural wood that has been damaged by water.

  • West Indian drywood termites feed on sound wood not damaged by water. They live inside of things like building timbers, structural wood, antique wooden furniture, banisters, and wood trim.

How do I get rid of termites?

If you have discovered termites in your yard or home, the best way to get rid of them and prevent them from returning, is to reach out to Able Pest Management, LLC. Our team will come to your aid and develop a pest control program that is customized to meet the unique needs of your home and family.

Our highly trained and experienced professionals are passionate about eliminating pests through our proven treatment methods. If you are looking for exceptional pest control for your Honolulu home or business, reach out to Able Pest Management today!

How can I prevent termites in the future?

Keep termites out of your Honolulu home and away from your family with the help of Able Pest Management and the following termite prevention tips:

  • Use dehumidifiers and ventilate crawlspaces to reduce moisture levels in your home.

  • Seal up cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation.

  • Repair any loose or missing roof shingles or other roof damage.

  • Inspect antique furniture, barn wood, and other wooden items for signs of termites before bringing them into your home.

  • Maintain a barrier between any soil or mulch and your home’s foundation.

  • Replace mulch with a non-organic gardening material.

  • Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, and other excess debris from your yard.

  • Prevent structural wood in your home from becoming water damaged by keeping gutters clear so water will drain from them, placing weatherstripping around windows and doors, and fixing leaky pipes and fixtures.

 

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