How to Look For Signs of Termites

Mud tubes are a common sign of subterranean termites in Georgia - Active Pest ControlTermites are often only discovered when the damage starts to appear, making them one of the most dangerous pest problems. In order to avoid the destruction associated with termite activity, it’s important to recognize the early signs of termites in your home. With termites at peak activity in the spring and summer, now is the time to ensure you are protected against an infestation! The termite experts at Active Pest Control are here to share their knowledge on the top signs of termites they see in Georgia homes year-round.

How to Tell if You Have Termites

If you notice any of the following signs of termites, it’s time to call a professional who can further investigate and determine the presence or absence of termites in your home. Here’s what to look for:

Swarming Termites

Every year, reproductive termites will leave their colony to mate and form new ones. Swarming happens when a mature termite colony releases a number of swarmers from their existing nest. Reproductive termites, also known as alates or swarmers, can often be mistaken for other flying insects, especially carpenter ants. Seeing winged termites in the spring months is a sign of termites spreading.

Piles of Termite Wings

After reproductive termites have swarmed and found a new location, they will literally twist their wings off to discard them. This is because, after flight, they will no longer need to fly. Termite wings are all the same size and translucent in color. These wings can often be seen in piles, which is indicative of termites forming their new colony nearby.

Mud Tubes

Made from and used by subterranean termites, mud tubes are pencil-sized tunnels through which termites travel. True to their name, subterranean termites nest underground. In order to leave the nest and forage for food, they will build mud tubs out of their feces. This protects the termites from outdoor elements as it blocks out cool, dry air. Seeing mud tubes along the outside of your property is likely the number one sign of termites.

Drywood Termite Frass

Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites nest within wood. As they tunnel through dry wood as well as when they swarm, drywood termites create kick-out holes in the wood. This is when their droppings, also known as frass, can be found. Termite frass most closely resembles sawdust or coffee grounds, and can appear in piles. Seeing this sign of termites makes it important to call a professional for closer inspection.

Tight-Fitting Doors and Windows

Termite activity can result in damage to your property. One of the most common signs of termite infestations is noticing your windows and doors are sticking or appear more tight-fitting than usual. Subterranean termites output a lot of moisture with their eating and tunneling habits. When they target door or window frames, the wood there will warp and make them more difficult to open.

Damaged Wood

Termites are infamous for damaging wood. This can appear in several ways. Typically, termite damage can cause unexplained cracks on walls, beams, and rafters. It can cause sagging wood in your floors, as well as hollow-sounding wood. Sometimes wood damage can lead to weakened baseboards and floorboards. In general, wood damage of any kind can be a major sign of a termite problem.

What to Do When You See Signs of Termites

Termite problems are no joke. They can cause a lot of damage on your home. This is why it is so important to work with a professional termite exterminator. At Active Pest Control, we will provide yearly inspections to catch early signs of termites. To learn more, contact our team today!

Earth Day And Pest Control

At Active Pest Control, we take pride in the dedication our team has shown in the development of green solutions. Through the years, we have gone to great lengths to develop methods that target pests in a way that requires the least amount of chemical product. We don’t think that trading one health or safety issue for another is a good way to do pest control. When safe, eco-friendly methods are employed, everyone wins. In celebration of Earth Day, we would like to share with you a few ways we keep Lawrenceville homes and businesses safe from the harmful and destructive effects of pests, through the use of smarter, safer pest solutions.

While it is perfectly acceptable and understandable to use a chemical barrier to keep destructive termites from damaging man-made structures, we’ve found a better way. With Sentricon® System, our technicians are able to directly target and control termites with zero impact to the environment, and without the need for drilling or trenching. This is a targeted approach that takes into consideration the behavior of subterranean termite workers. Some really smart scientists realized that termite workers never stop searching for new food sources, even when a source is found, and that this would ensure that they would find bait left out for them in bait stations. They also learned from their studies how to develop a bait that is scientifically proven to be more desirable to termites than wood. Beyond this, they learned that the agent inside the bait needed to work slowly to kill termites, so workers would be able to bring it deep into the invading colony, without warning the queen of danger. At every turn, they used education as a tool to defeat those termites.

We use this philosophy with all the pests we treat for. The famous tactician Sun Tzu says that we should know our enemy as well as we know ourselves. This is as true today as it was centuries ago.

We understand that pests are attracted to water sources and that removing areas of standing water can deter them.

We know that spider infestations increase when populations of flying insects are greater. Thus, reducing flying insects has a direct impact in the control of spiders.

We know where pests make their nests, and what measures will deter them.

We are aware that bugs and wild animals eat things we do not, and that proper sanitation is key in pest management

Just like those smart people who invented Sentricon®, we continually train and educate ourselves on the habits and habitats of pest creatures, so that we can employ the most effective measures to keep them from causing harm to humans, pets, and property. For us, it is all about safe and effective pest control. Saving the Earth is just a side benefit.

Termite Letters In Knoxville

Imagine. It was a process that took months. You had to get a real estate agent. You had to get pre-approval for how much you could afford. You examined all of the properties your real estate agent emailed. You spend hours examining house options with online tools. And after visiting a dozen houses, you finally found the perfect one. It was right near the perfect school to send your kids. It was close enough to your work so you wouldn’t have to deal with too much traffic. It even had a park nearby. It was absolutely perfect! You got with the owners. You got with the agents. You signed all the paperwork. You took care of all the details of getting your stuff moved into your new home. It was a lot of work, but it was finally done. Then the unimaginable.

While you were in the basement, getting ready to do your first load of laundry in your new house, you noticed something strange in the exposed beams above. It looked like packed mud. You broke a piece off and crumbled it in your hand. Strange. Very strange. But you shrugged it off. A week later, while doing another load of laundry, you noticed that the packed mud was back. What on Earth? So you did a search online for what would cause mud on basement rafters and learned that it could be subterranean termites!

The online resource suggested tapping the rafters with the handle of a screwdriver to see if the wood sounded hollow. You did, and they did! There were several that did. You stabbed at the wood with the tip of the screwdriver and it splintered easily. What had you gotten yourself into? After an inspection from a certified termite control specialist, you learned that your new home was filled with termites. You also learned that there is no legal recourse. The previous owners claim that they didn’t know they had termites. And the house had been checked out by a certified home inspector. Now you’re paying for a home you don’t even live in, and hoping you’ll be able to earn enough money to eventually fix all of the termite damage…

This is not your story. It happened to someone else. But something similar could happen to you if you don’t take measures to protect yourself.

A Termite Letter Protects Everyone

While a termite letter is designed to protect a home seller and is often suggested by a realtor during the selling process, it also protects the buyer. It is a letter of intent, drawn up by a certified termite inspector, that details what was found during the inspection process, and what services the termite company will provide over a set course of time, should any termites be discovered.

Don’t buy a home without this layer of protection. The last thing anyone needs is to buy into a money pit. For assistance with a termite letter, reach out to Active Pest Control for immediate assistance.

The French New Year and Pest Control

In America, there are many traditions that folks participate in to welcome in the new year. Among them are things like doing a countdown at midnight, kissing the person you are with, dressing in weird hats, using noisemakers, and, of course, eating lots of food. This last tradition seems to be a common one around the world. In France, certain types of cakes and tarts are associated with New Year’s Day. Heart-shaped cakes and log-shaped cakes made of ice cream are among the more popular. But the one that is really interesting, in our opinion, is a type of cake that has a paper crown upon its top, called King’s cake. This puff pastry, which contains a type of filling called frangipane, has a small treat hidden inside. If you are the lucky person to find the dried bean, small coin, or ceramic figure in your piece of King’s cake, you get to wear the paper crown and be King for the day!

So, what can we learn about pest control from this French New Year’s tradition? Well, sometimes you might find something inside your food, but you don’t get to be King for the day for finding it. When you have pests in your home they can spread harmful bacteria and illness wherever they go. Rats, mice, cockroaches, and flies are among the worst. If they get into food storage areas or land on food prep surfaces, you could get some unwanted microscopic things inside your food. This can lead to stomach illness, dysentery, fever, or worse.

Pest Prevention Tips

If you want to keep these dirty creatures, as well as other common pests, out of your Georgia home, here are some practical steps you can take:

  • Inspect your home for gaps or cracks and fill in holes using a caulking gun.
  • Trim bushes and tree limbs back away from your house.
  • Remove standing water from your yard.
  • Stack firewood off the ground and far away from your home.
  • Make sure all trash is in tightly sealed containers.
  • Keep your house free of crumbs and food spills.
  • Store all foods, including pet food, in tightly sealed plastic containers.

If you have done all these things, and you are still having trouble with invading pests, or if you simply would rather not take any chances, it may be time to consider a professional pest control company. Here at Active Pest Control we offer year-round pest control options. This plan eliminates common household pests, has rodent monitoring and control, and includes the Sentricon® Termite Colony Elimination System. Plus, we won’t charge extra for additional service between scheduled visits. If you would like to welcome in a pest-free New Year, and not have to worry about finding illness-causing surprises in your cake, drop us a line today.

Happy New Year! From all the staff here at Active Pest Control, we look forward to partnering up with you for a pest-free and stress-free 2016!