Subterranean Termites are the most common termites found in North America and the only termites we have here on Cape Cod. They date back more than 120 million years to the time of the dinosaurs. They are known as "silent destroyers" because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. Each year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage - costs that aren't covered by homeowners' insurance policies.
Termite presence in human made structures often goes unnoticed for lengthy periods of time. A termite infested timber will appear structurally sound from the outside, while inside it will have a honeycombed appearance. Usually termites are found at, near, or below ground level. They love a moist dark damp environment - it is essential for their survival. Trim work, sub flooring, flooring, and the structural timbers are the areas of a building most susceptible to termite damage. The Subterranean Termite is considered a serious economic timber pest and it is estimated that in high activity areas, such as here on Cape Cod, more than 1 in 5 homes have been or will be attacked.
How We Service
Subterranean termite treatment has changed dramatically over the last two decades. The number of systems, application techniques and products available for termite control has tripled in the last 10 years. Today, if you experience a subterranean termite swarm, you may call four different pest management companies and receive four completely different treatment recommendations.
Due to years of experience and ongoing training, Fowler and Sons relies on two different treatment methods of Subterranean termites here on Cape Cod. After performing a thorough inspection on your home, our inspector will recommend which treatment is best for your home and particular infestation.
Liquid Termiticide Treatment
Liquid termiticides are usually applied completely around and underneath a structure covering all areas where termites might gain access. For new construction, this is accomplished by treating the graded soil and foundation walls before the slab is poured. For an existing building, the perimeter of the foundation is trenched and drilled, then treated with termiticide. The goal of the treatment is to put a chemical blanket between the termites in the soil and the structure above. If there are termites in the building, at the time of chemical soil treatment, they cannot safely return to their central colony nest through the chemically treated soil. Termites are compelled to return every few days to their central colony nest in the ground to obtain moisture essential for their survival and to feed and groom the nymphs (young termites), the king, queen and other termites. If there are termites in the building, at the time of chemical soil treatment, they cannot safely return to their central colony nest through the chemically treated soil. Termites are compelled to return every few days to their central colony nest in the ground to obtain moisture essential for their survival and to feed and groom the nymphs (young termites), the king, queen and other termites.In many cases, these termites will die of dehydration. The installation of a chemical soil barrier requires expert knowledge and specialized equipment to form a complete and continuous barrier to protect the building from a termite entry and infestation.
Subterranean Termite Baiting System
Termite baiting takes a very different approach to subterranean termite control than liquid termiticide application. Instead of attempting to protect a structure by creating a chemical blanket between the building and the termites, baiting targets the termites themselves. Termite baits are designed to suppress or eliminate the termite colony living in the soil. The first commercial termite baiting system became available in 1995. Since that time, several termite bating systems have been developed. The most widely used bait products are applied very similarly. The initial installation of any baiting system involves plastic stations being inserted into the ground around the periphery of the structure approximately every 10 feet. Inside these stations are untreated wood monitors. The stations are usually inspected at regular intervals for termite activity. If live termites are found in the station, a bait will be placed inside and the infested monitor may or may not be removed. The idea is to get the termites that have been recruited to the wood monitor to now pick up the bait instead. Certain bait products are intended to be used by themselves, while others can be used in combination with a spot applications of liquid termiticide (applied only to areas where termites are active) or a complete liquid treatment. Because the in-ground bait stations are placed outside the structure, they do not directly affect termites that are already foraging inside. To address these inside infestations, certain manufacturers provide above-ground stations. Above-ground stations are basically plastic boxes that contain a paper matrix (bait) laced with the active ingredient (toxicant). The boxes can be attached over a termite mud tube or directly onto infested wood. The termites forage inside the box and consume the paper bait.
Signs of a Subterranean Termite Infestation
It's recommended that you have your house thoroughly inspected by a pest control professional trained to detect the sometimes subtle signs of termites. Finding termites in a structure does not mean you have an immediate emergency because the rate at which damage occurs is relatively slow. Here are the common signs of a termite infestation:
The presence of mud-like material that lines the galleries in an irregular pattern.
Termites may excavate the wood so that only a very thin layer of wood is left on the surface of the cavity and the outside. Then this layer is broken; they will cover the holes with mud like material, used to make the tubes. This is a mixture of soil, feces, and saliva.
Swarmers: The appearance of a swarm of what you would call "flying ants", especially near light sources This indicates a nest may be near. A "swarm" is a group of adult male and female reproductives that leave their nest to establish a new colony. Swarming occurs when a colony reaches a certain size. Swarming is most common in the spring (March, April, May, and June) and occasionally autumn (September and October).
Most swarmers emerge during the day, most frequently on warm days after rain. Swarmers found outdoors near tree stumps, railroad ties, etc., are not an indication that your house is infested but are present on the outside only. On the other hand, finding swarmers indoors often means that you have a termite infestation within your house. At first glance, swarmers and ants look similar, but can be distinguished by certain physical features.
Mud Tunnels: Subterranean termites maintain their headquarters in the ground and build "mud tubes", pencil-size, that connect the nest to the food source (wood).The tunnels may contain broken mud particles with fecal materials. Mud tubes or shelter tubes are proof of termite infestation, but their absence does not necessarily mean that a structure is free of termites. The insects may reach sills and other wood members through cracks or voids in the foundation wall, under the outside stucco, or from earth-filled porches, steps, terraces, or patios. You can break open tubes to determine if termites are still active inside. Termites often rebuild damaged tubes, another indication of continued activity. Old tubes are dry and will crumble easily. However, the absence of finding live termites does not mean that they are not present in the structure.
Buckling paint or tiny holes on the wood.
Damaged wood: Wood may appear crushed at structural bearing points. Termite damaged wood resonates with a dull thud (hollow sound) when tapped with a hammer. Pick and probe the surface of an infested piece of wood with a pen knife and you will find tunnels running parallel to the wood's grain.
Differences between Ants and Termites
Ants differ from termites by having a narrow, constricted waist, elbowed (bent) antennae, and hind wings shorter than front wings. They are commonly seen in the open, as are winged termites when they swarm. But termite workers, which are creamy white and wingless, avoid light and are rarely seen unless disturbed.
Termites have a more rectangular shaped body with no constrictions, straight, beaded antennae and four wings of equal size and shape that are much longer than the body. Termite wings fall off very easily and are usually found on the surface from which the termites have emerged.
What We See
Termite Shelter Tubes Underneath the Deck
Termite Drill Marks
Termite Shelter Tubes Hanging from the Floor Joist