Subterranean Termites In San Angelo, Texas, and the Surrounding Communities
Termites have been found in San Angelo to be of three types: soil termites, soil termites nesting in the soil, and emerald ash borer termites. Also, wood that is moist is prone to attracting damp wood termites.
As far as destructive termites go, underground termites, which eat wood from below the surface, are the most harmful. Thus, homeowners in this day and age are faced with the problem of dealing with these species of termites since they are invisible in most cases, except when there is a serious infestation.
Subterranean termites are characterized by the fact that they live in cooperative communities. These colonies can house millions of individuals, who share resources like food and shelter and take care of each other’s younger members in the same way. Most of these colonies are composed of workers, but there are also soldiers and reproductions in these colonies.
For moisture, subterranean termites build their nests in soil; however, they also build their nests in wet wood. The cuticle of these plants is thin, so in dry environments, they easily desiccate due to their thin cuticle. Almost any wood in contact with the ground will be attacked by them. They can build mud tunnels or tubes hundreds of feet above the ground to reach wood that is not in contact with the ground. An expansion joint in a concrete slab or where utilities enter a house is often the entry point for these tunnels. They can extend for 50 to 60 feet before reaching the wood.
Detection of Termites
Because termites rarely appear on the surface of wooden structures or in the ground, it is often challenging for homeowners to detect those pests. The appearance of shed wings, mud tubes, as well as winged reproductives (called swarmers) will help you to determine whether there is a subterranean termite infestation.
There is no guarantee that an environment outdoors near a house is infested by termites, but it is a good reason to check further. The termites that attack wood in houses and other buildings often come from naturally occurring colonies in the soil. From January through May, subterranean termites in San Angelo reach their peak swarming period. Swarms may also occur in lesser numbers during the other months of the year.
Since different species of pests require different control methods, it is important to identify the pest correctly. UF/IFAS Extension offices can help determine if a wing belongs to an alate or a soldier. Individuals from different termite species are very similar, so it’s nearly impossible to determine the species from worker samples or immature samples. A reputable pest control service will inspect your property and provide treatment estimates based on at least two or three local inspections.
Subterranean Termite Prevention and Control
Termites are best controlled if they are prevented from infesting in the first place. Buildings and the surrounding area should be treated before construction to provide the best protection against termites. Prevention should include the following measures:
- Stump, roots, and woody materials should be removed from the building site before construction begins, as well as any foamboards and grade stakes used in construction. The purpose of this is to eliminate the possibility of termite infestation due to preexisting colonies.
- There should be no contact between woodwork making up a building and soil or fill to prevent termites from finding food sources. A minimum of 6 inches of height should be provided for exterior woodwork, and 18 inches of height should be provided for beams in crawl spaces, allowing for future inspections.
- Considering the importance of preventing dead air pockets in foundations, ventilation openings should have redundant baffles. For the ground to remain dry and unfavorable for termites, these openings should be large enough so that air can change frequently. There should be at least 2 square feet per 25 linear feet of the outside foundation wall.
- In addition to checking for mud tubes and winged adults, wood damage, or shed wings, annual inspections should also look for mud tubes and winged adults.
- Fencing posts, poles, and other foundation structures that come into contact with the soil should be commercially pressure treated, and should not be nailed to the house.
Preconstruction Soil Treatment of Structures
To control subterranean termites, keep the termite colony from entering the structure from the soil. The construction of structures that can withstand termite attacks is practically impossible. In order to protect the structure for at least five years, a thorough preconstruction treatment should be applied.
A key component of providing protection to a structure is the integrity of the soil treatment. As long as the barrier between the soil and the structure isn’t disturbed, the repellent termiticide will provide protection. Non-repellent termiticides enable a more flexible barrier that will provide protection even if the integrity of the barrier is compromised.
Preconstruction Treatment of Concrete Slabs
In most cases, Texas construction involves the use of slabs of concrete resting on the ground and surrounded by a brick or block fence. A common site of termite infestation in wood is the area above a cracked or shrinking slab since slabs often crack and shrink as they age.
Preparation of the area underneath and around a concrete slab must be done with insecticides prior to using the concrete slab as a building material. It can only be applied to the sub-slab after all reinforcement rods have been installed and the sub-slab fill has been pumped.
By destroying or diverting the foraging activity of the termites using termite baits, structures can be less vulnerable to subterranean termites. These toxic termite baits eliminate the population in and around the structure with a small dose of insecticide. Termite baits are constructed of paper, cardboard, or other termite food sources, along with slow-acting insecticides. Homeowners who choose to use this method of baiting should be warned it is a long-term but effective process. This method of control relies on the termites’ foraging activity to locate the bait. The termites then distribute the poison to the rest of their nest.