Every year, termites invade millions of homes, causing billions of
dollars in damage. They primarily feed on wood, but will consume
practically any wood product, from furniture to books, even the
insulation in your walls. The startling fact is, termites do more
damage to homes than fires and storms combined.
While the damage caused by subterranean termites is not as
outwardly dramatic as a fire or storm, it can be significantly more
disastrous from a financial standpoint. That's because the damage
often goes undetected for long periods of time. And, when it is
finally discovered, the damage can be substantial yet is rarely
covered by insurance. The homeowner is confronted with not one, but
two devastating blows.
Although termites pose a more serious problem in the south, they
are present in every state except Alaska. Just one subterranean
colony can contain thousands, sometimes millions of termites. The
workers forage continuously for food, carrying it back to the
colony where it is shared and these ever-expanding colonies don't
stand still. Reproductive termites can be observed in early spring
and summer swarming from an existing colony to establish a new one
in another location.
As we build communities, we increasingly encroach on the termites'
habitat, removing their native food source and leaving them with
little alternative but to search for another - our homes. Because
they work silently behind the scenes, it can be years before
evidence of their destruction becomes visible, long after serious
damage to your home has already been done.
To enter your house, all termites need is the tiniest gap in
concrete, mortar or metal to slip through. Once inside that gap,
their voracious hunger for wood takes over. These cunning little
engineers construct air and moisture tight shelter tubes leading
from the colony in the soil to the wood in your home. Termite tubes
can go up wires, along pipes, around so-called "termite shields"
and even extend free of any support. Busy workers use these tubes
as their "freeways," constantly commuting between the food source
(your house) and their colony in the soil.