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Termite Control 101: An Identification And Control Guide For Virginia Beach Properties

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Purchasing a home is the investment of a lifetime for most people. Many work and save for years to have the opportunity to own a piece of the so-called American dream. For that reason, homeowners take pride in maintaining their home, landscaping the yard, and creating a place they can enjoy. Unfortunately, the American dream for many Virginia Beach homeowners turns into a nightmare when termites invade.

If you suspect termites are inside your home or want to be proactive and prevent a termite invasion, partner with Hawk Mosquito & Pest. As a family-owned and operated company, we understand the need for affordable, budget-friendly pest control. We provide termite control in Virginia Beach to homeowners and work with our customers to ensure they never have future termite problems.  

We wrote this article so you know the signs of a termite infestation and what you can do to stop termites before they cause significant damage to your Virginia Beach house. Please keep reading to get your questions answered.

single termite on wood

You're Not Likely To See A Termite: How To Identify Signs Of Activity

Subterranean termites are the type of termite that infest many Virginia Beach homes. As their name suggests, these insects live in the soil and build tunnels to nearby damp wood, which serves as food sources. Unlike carpenter ants, who also invade wood, you will not see subterranean termites in your home searching for food crumbs on the floor in the pantry because they eat timber and not decaying plant or animal matter. 

Although termites do not crawl across surfaces in Virginia Beach homes, they leave evidence of their existence if you know where to look and what to search for. The following are early warning signs of termites in a home

  • Swarmers

  • Discarded wings

  • Mud tubes

  • Droppings

  • Wallpaper blisters

  • Timber discoloration

  • Hollow-sounding wood

  • Crumbling wood

Keep reading as we unpack these indicators.

A subterranean termite infestation does not begin in your home but in the yard. In the spring, usually after a heavy rain, reproductive, flying termites from a nearby colony, known as swarmers, leave the nest to begin new groups. If termites are on your Virginia Beach property, you will see swarmers in the early morning hours or dusk flying around outdoor lights or near windows. These flying termites have a brown to blackish 1/8-inch long, narrow body with two pale, translucent front and hind wings of equal length. 

When they sense odor from rotting wood, usually a tree stump, decaying landscape, or fencing timbers, they land, mate, and discard their wings. The new king and queen begin a new colony near the house. After a couple of years, the queen produces swarmers, and the cycle restarts; this time, however, the swarmers are closer to your home. 

If moist, fungus-ridden wood is in the crawl space or under a wood porch or deck; you will notice abandoned wings from swarmers in window sills and near doors when they are in your home. You may also see mud tubes on the foundation walls. Because the sun's heat can quickly dehydrate subterranean termites, they use these tubes to protect them when they travel from the soil to the food source. 

As subterranean termite workers consume wood, they produce waste resembling small sawdust piles. Small mounds of fras (termite waste) near mud tubes or a suspected nest are another sign of termites on your property. 

When termites invade a home, they eat the studs and wood inside walls. Termites consume drywall paper for the cellulose content, but they will not eat through to the outside. The combination of moisture from the wood and their bodies causes the thin paper veneers, paint, or wallpaper to blister.

Wood that sounds hollow when tapped is a sign of termite damage. Subterranean termites eat along the grain and scoop out the inside of the timber. Another sign of termite damage is crumbling wood. Because they are the innards of the timber and leave an outward veneer, the wood will disintegrate when poked. Discoloration and dark patches due to moisture from the termites and the wood are other signs of a termite problem. 

You need Hawk Mosquito & Pest to rescue your home from termite damage when you notice these signs of termites.

The Silent Threat: Understanding Termite Damage

Subterranean termites create large colonies ranging from 60,000 to two or three million. Furthermore, the longer an infestation persists, the more new groups can form under your home. Subterranean worker termites have razor-sharp teeth and powerful mandibles that enable them to eat wood. A mature but small colony of 60,000 can consume 2.3 feet of a 2x4 board annually. While this may not sound like it requires immediate action, remember that a subterranean termite nest may have a few million members and can have multiple groups under your home. Thus, the longer an infestation exists, the faster the destruction. 

Termites cause over $5 billion dollars in property damage annually. When a homeowner notices evidence of termite damage, repair costs will be in the thousands. The expensive repair costs are because subterranean termites generally attack wood in crawl spaces and wall voids. Warping windows and door frames resulting in sticking or dragging doors and windows are early signs of damage. As the termites weaken support beams, you may have sagging floors, ceilings, and, eventually, collapsing structures. Repairing support beams, joists, headers, and other structural components requires special equipment and licensed contractors and is expensive. 

Although termite damage does not occur overnight, when it does happen, you will pay much more in repair costs than had you taken preventative measures. Hawk Mosquito & Pest provides subterranean termite treatment in Virginia Beach so that members of our community do not have expensive repair costs from termite infestations. Our certified technicians can detect early stages of termite damage and take action to end the problem before the termites cause more deterioration.

Preventing Termite Invasions: Key Strategies

Once Hawk Mosquito & Pest stops the termite infestation at your Virginia Beach home, you don't want to have another in subsequent years. Although no one can eliminate termites in the world, these termite prevention tips will help keep them from invading in the future:

  • Remove dead tree stumps and rotting wood from the property.

  • Seal foundation cracks with caulk.

  • Relocate firewood 20 feet from the house and elevate it. 

  • Provide water drainage to the AC unit and gutters.

  • Repair leaking plumbing fixtures and pipes.

  • Keep mulch away from the foundation.

  • Dehumidify the crawl space or basement.

  • Eliminate wood-to-soil contact. 

Let's briefly examine why each tip is necessary to deter a future termite problem.

As previously stated, subterranean termite queens produce flying reproductive termites. When the swarmers leave the nest, they can detect an odor from rotting tree stumps or timbers in the yard below. We suggest elevating firewood to prevent rot and moisture because this combination appeals to subterranean swarmers. Furthermore, moving wood piles away from the house discourages them from entering the house. 

We know that water causes wood to rot, so ensuring water drains away from the foundation will reduce wood rot due to standing water in the crawl space or basement. Furthermore, keep these areas dry by removing debris from the vents or creating additional openings. If high humidity continues to be an issue, we recommend having a contractor install a dehumidifier under the home. Of course, repairing leaking plumbing and pipes will prevent surrounding subflooring, wood studs, and support beams from decaying. 

When sealing cracks around the foundation, remember that no opening is too small for subterranean termites. These minuscule insects can squeeze through openings less than 1/16-inch wide. To help determine cracks in the foundation, have someone shine a light in the crawl space at night along the walls while another person watches outside to reveal crevices. Seal the cracks with caulk. 

Keeping a clean, dry property with good airflow and a crawl space or basement with good ventilation will discourage termites from settling on your property. When our technicians from Hawk Mosquito & Pest treat your home for termite removal, we can offer additional suggestions for your situation.

Professional Termite Control: Long-Term Termite Control And Protection

Hawk Mosquito & Pest will end a termite infestation in your Virginia Beach home. We will send a certified, trained technician to inspect your home. We will search for mud tubes, droppings, wood damage, and other signs of a termite infestation. If we find termite evidence, we will install the Sentricon® System With Always Active™ on your property. 

This system consists of locked bait stations that attract worker termites as they travel through the soil. They consume the cellulose material in the trap and return to the nest, where they regurgitate it for the other termites to eat. Unbeknownst to the termites, the bait prevents them from progressing through growth stages and kills them. Even if you do not have a current infestation, we recommend installing the bait system to stop a future infestation. 

If you need termite control near you, search no further than Hawk Mosquito & Pest. Contact us today to learn more about our termite control service and request your free, no-obligation quote.

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