“Everything You Need to Know About Termites in San Francisco – Get Professional Help Now!”
Knowledge is never enough, and the same goes for termite infestation education. The more facts you know, the higher the chances of early detection and the better you can handle its removal.
We seek to educate readers about termites to prevent and control their spread. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some interesting termite FAQs and facts.
Can you treat furniture affected by termites?
Yes, a professional termite control company in San Francisco can help you repair the furniture exposed to termite attacks. Here are a few treatment methods to breathe life into your termite-laden furniture.
- Heat treatment. This treatment involves heating furniture beyond the point termites can live. A heat treatment perfectly eliminates these notorious pests. However, note that this method doesn’t work for all furniture types.
- Surface treatment. This technique involves applying a specialized product that removes termites from the furniture.
- Fumigation. It involves introducing gas lethal to the termites. Generally, the furniture is placed in a chamber, and an EPA registered gas like sulfuryl fluoride is used to control the termites.
Is there a method to get rid of termites permanently?
Eliminating termites permanently is possible, but only if you hire a professional company for the purpose. Fog City Termite Removal Experts of San Francisco, California tries to spot the source of the problem and eliminates it.
For instance, unwanted leaks in your property might be encouraging termite growth. Professionals know what to treat and how. Besides, they also take steps to control active colonies around your home.
Do ants eat termites?
Termites and ants are the biggest enemies of one another. Ants are famous for raiding termite colonies and consuming them for food. However, termites use defensive techniques to protect themselves from the ant.
But as soon as the ant overcomes the defenses, they eat away the termites. However, this doesn’t involve all termites. For instance, ants do not eat larger termite colonies like subterranean termites.
Also, this shouldn’t be used as a control technique. Otherwise, you would only be inviting more unwanted visitors to your property.
How long can San Francisco termites live without food?
Termites survive on food and water both. They can live without water for only a few days. However, most species can go without food for up to two weeks.
What Is the color of termites?
Termites have no fixed color; it differs per cast. Here’s a quick look into their colors.
- Solider termites. They are usually beige colored with large bodies and dark heads.
- Worker termites. These termites differ in colors. They can be anything from soft caramel to milky white. Worker termites are soft-bodied and wingless.
- Flying termites, also known as swarmers, vary in colors per species. For example, dampwood termites are tan or light yellow, whereas drywood termites have brown and red bodies.
How termites invade San Francisco properties?
Termites have specific needs like most pests. As soon as they find an ideal environment that caters to their unique requirements, they invade it.
- They love cellulose substances, warm climates, and moisture. If your home provides any of these, they’ll enter it.
- Termites can make their way into your property through wood building materials in and around your home.
Termite eating habits
Termites feed on cellulose, including:
- Animal feces
- Clothing/fabric material
- Sheetrock paper
However, note that cellulose is not easily digestible. In fact, bigger animals like goats and buffaloes have difficulty digesting the material. This explains why these animals chew on grass for long periods to digest cellulose.
Quick termite stat sheet
- These pests are pretty small and can eat through your home surfaces without prior signs of activity.
- If you aren’t a keen observer, you’ll likely miss out on identifying the early warning signs.
- Termites destroy approximately 600,000 homes in the US each year.
- A few scientists believe termites eat 2-3% of their body weight every day.
- US citizens spend billions of dollars on repairing termite damage and controlling the pests.
- According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), citizens spend around $1 billion on Formosan termite repair and control. A few experts predict this number to be $2 billion.
Data unfolds that termites invade around 600,000 homes in the US every year and cause billions of dollars of structural damage.
This indicates that a termite infestation isn’t a problem solely per se; instead, the money required to eliminate them heightens the expense. But, the question remains, “How can you identify termites in your home?”
In all honesty, discovering termites in your home is tricky, essentially if it hasn’t been long since they are infested.
Generally, eastern subterranean termites are most common in the US and are harder to detect because they live underground.
However, a few tips can help you sport warning signs. Below, we’ve curated 6 warning signs you need to keep an eye on.
Apart from staying cautious, we suggest annual inspections to detect early termite activity. This would help you take preventive measures on time and protect your property from further damage.
Signs your San Francisco property might have a termite problem
Stuck doors and windows
Windows and doors should be moveable and flexible. If a door in your home is too hard to open or close, it is an early sign of termite infestation.
Termites generally target doorframes and windows because they are easily accessible. When these pets devour the wood frames, your doors and windows become distorted, making it challenging to open and close them.
However, note that not all stuck doors and windows indicate termite infestation; natural wood often becomes harder in the winter season. So, you may experience difficulty opening and closing them in harsh cold weather.
Additionally, termites also sag ceilings and flooring and crumble the baseboards. But again, seasonal changes, moisture, or humidity can also be the culprit of structural problems. Therefore, make sure you observe closely for damaged components to detect termites.
Swarmer and discarded wings
One of the most prominent telltale signs of termite infestation is the swarmer inside your property. This indicates you have recently been exposed to a termite attack and that your home has an active termite infestation.
As stated earlier, termites consist of soldiers, workers, king and queen, and swarmers in their caste system. The swarmers are responsible for reproducing.
You can identify them pretty easily. They have two pairs of translucent wings and are pale or light brown in color. Their length ranges from ¼ to ½ inches.
The swarmer sheds its wings as soon as it finds a mate and leaves the colony.
In the US, you’d observe swarmers flying in the early spring. They appear to find mates and build new colonies.
Because swarmers gravitate towards the light, you’ll find them closer to doors and windows.
They do not exist long indoors – unless a swarmer gets in accidentally. If you spot discarded wings near entryways and windowsills, it signifies their presence.
Note that homeowners often confuse swarmers with flying ants. Yes, they appear pretty similar, but flying ants have pinched waists and uneven wings, unlike swarmers with straight bodies and even wings.
Paint, panel, and wallpaper damage
When termites eat through wood and cardboard paneling, they create tunnels underneath. While you might assume it would be easy to spot this warning sign, termites often do this without destroying wallpaper and paint coats.
As such, you won’t be able to recognize their infestation. Perhaps this explains why people often discover termite damage during renovations and repairs.
Nonetheless, if you encounter a peculiar appearance on wallpaper and painted walls, you can rip or scratch them slightly to detect termite damage. The common unusual signs include:
- Wallpaper discoloration and peeling
- Paint bubbling
- Tiny pinholes
- Wood buckling
- Narrow winding lines
Mud tubes are one of the most common indicators of termite infestation in San Francisco homes and commercial properties. They are narrow vein-like termite colonies that form on your home surfaces.
They typically start from the base and run upward. Termites use this pattern to keep themselves from dryness. Subterranean termites have incredibly thin exoskeletons that dry pretty quickly.
As such, they need moisture and humidity to thrive. Forming mud tubes enables them to move from their colonies to the food source.
If you come across a mud tube in your home, you can scrape off a side gently and check for live termites. Later, come back and see if the scratched area was repaired.
If it does, it signifies live termites. Nonetheless, if you do not spot live termites and the mud tube doesn’t repair, it doesn’t indicate you aren’t exposed to the damage. It simply means that the termites have moved to another area in your home to feed on.
Termite droppings, also known as frass, are another termite infestation sign. When these pests feed on the wood, they digest it and leave it to avoid forming piles.
However, note that only drywood termite frass is visible to humans. They are pellet-shaped and brown in color and often appear like dust.
Wood structure damage
Termites eat through your wood, damaging it beyond repair. If you spot holes in your wooden surfaces, it indicates termite activity.
Aside from that, you can tap the wooden doors, windows, and furniture to check for infestation. A hollow sound is a warning sign that your San Francisco home is exposed to termites and you need treatment as soon as possible.
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The different types of termites you might find on your San Francisco property
There are over 2,000 termite species. However, only a few of these types exist in US homes. If you haven’t read about termites, different types would appear all the same to you.
Nonetheless, a closer look at their shapes, sizes and behavioral patterns will give you an insight into how they vary.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at different termite types.
Drywood termites can be found anywhere around your home but not underground. Soldier termites are generally ⅜ inches long, whereas alates are around ½ inches.
They become more active during hotter climates. Therefore, the southern border of the US is their favorite place to exist and thrive.
Drywood termites have quite distinctive color variations. For instance, they can be anything between yellow, tan, dark brown, and pale brown in color. In fact, the winged alates can be grey or transparent.
Another characteristic that makes them unique among other termite species is what they feed on.
While they eat wood like other termites, they prefer harder wood layers than other species that love softer layers.
These termites eat any cellulose material in your home. However, they also devour trees and fences outdoors.
As the name implies, these termites originate from the deserts. However, that does not indicate they cannot exist in your home. Basically, they prefer dry and sandy areas, and if you’re located in one, they can creep into your home, too.
They build their colonies and thrive in favorable environmental conditions. If your property offers them one, they won’t hesitate to spread.
Because sunny areas are not naturally moist, these insects make saliva and soil granules to keep themselves damp.
One of the most effective ways to prevent infestation of these termites is to remain cautious when moving wood inside your home. Make sure you inspect it thoroughly as it may contain termites.
Also, if your garden has big trees, consider trimming their branches and tossing them away from your home.
These termites exist throughout the US – except Alaska – and southeastern Canada. Eastern subterranean termite is the most popular category among subterranean termites.
The worker termites are white, whereas the swarming termites are black or dark brown.
They are pretty small in length ranging somewhere between ⅜ to ½ inch. As such, they are not easily identifiable. In fact, an untrained eye would easily look past them without recognizing them as termites.
Subterranean termites leave visible mud tubes in your home walls, wallpapers, and wooden structures. Other telltale signs of its presence include blistered flooring and hollow-sounding wood.
The Formosan termite resides underground. They are also known as Formosan subterranean termites because they fall in the category of that particular species.
Although they originate from China, today, they are found in the US and different countries around the globe.
They are typically yellow brown in color and exist in darker places to avoid predatory attacks. When they infest your home, they can be pretty destructive. They’ll eat any cellulose material from cardboard to paper and trees to wooden structures.
The Formosan termite colonies grow faster and are infamous for being destructive to properties.
As the name suggests, these termites love moisture and are found in damp wooden places. If your home is prone to leaks that keep the wood wet, you’ll likely get this type of termite.
What makes these termites different from other species is their size. They are larger than other termites. For instance, they range between ½ to ⅝ inches.
Further, they are brownish in color and have a longer, narrower body type. Dampwood termite colonies do not have workers. Instead, their younger termites are referred to as “false workers” who handle all the work for the colony.
If you want to keep your home from dampwood termite infestation, make sure you treat all the leaks and ensure water drains away from your property.
These termites are infamous for their aggressive soldiers. They are conical on the top of their head, making them creepier than other species. As with other termites, coneheads love cellulose structures.
They are quick to eat away trees and timber. Perhaps this explains why some natives call them “tree termites.”
Also, they are not specific about dry, wet, soft, or hard wood. Instead, they devour anything as long as it contains cellulose. Consequently, this puts your home, tool shed, garden, and fences at risk.
A professional termite exterminator in San Francisco, California can spot these terrifying termites and apply solutions to target them right away.