Did you know that there are 2,300 species of termites that belong to seven different families? Of these, 44 different termite species occur in the US. Yes, termites play a vital role in the natural life cycle, as they help to decompose dead plant matter. This, in turn, allows the ecosystem to recover nutrients that it has lost. Unfortunately, house termites invade and damage up to 600,000+ homes in the US each year.
Homes that have hardwood in them, such as spruce and pine, appear to be the preferred meal of these insects.
So, as beneficial as they are, termites should stay out in nature and not in your home.
The big question is, why exactly should you drive these six-legged insects out of your home?
We’ve rounded up some of the top reasons why, so be sure to stick around and read on!
1. A Colony Can Consist of Millions of House Termites
Depending on the species, a colony can consist of several million individual termites. This is especially true for the Macrotermes species, which are foraging termites. They are foragers since they go outside of their nest to hunt for food.
So, you can just imagine how much food they need to survive. That food, unfortunately, could be the structural components of your home.
2. Mature Colonies Are Voracious Feeders
In one study, researchers tried to measure how quickly a termite colony could tear through wood. They used a house replica measuring 30cm by 20cm and 2mm thick. They also used 2,000 individual Formosan termites as their subjects.
Within three weeks, the young termites gobbled up the entire structure.
This made the researchers estimate that a mature colony can digest up to 11 pounds of wood every month. Also, remember that millions of individual units can make up a single colony. The more workers and soldiers there are, the more wood they will consume.
3. They Bring Costly Structural Damage
Hollowed-out and even collapsing structures — that’s what happens if you ignore termites. After all, they feast on wood, including timber and furniture. Give them enough time, and they can cause the inner parts of these structures to become porous.
If that happens, the materials can quickly disintegrate.
Termites also consume anything that has cellulose, including fiberboard, cardboard, and even paper. That’s how destructive they are. That’s also why you should never ignore mud tubes or termite holes in walls.
Of the many species of termites, there are two alone that cause $40 billion in worldwide damage. These include the Formosan and Asian subterranean species, both of which are in the US.
On top of that is the “West Indian Drywood Termite”, which you can also find in Utah. Throughout the US, these drywood termites bring $300 million in damages each year.
4. They Can Have Indirect Health and Safety Risks
Granted, termites don’t carry or transmit diseases to humans. However, the structural damage that they cause can pose health and safety risks.
As mentioned above, their diet consists of anything with cellulose, including floorboards. The thing is, it can be difficult to know that they’re there, unless you have your home inspected by a pest expert.
What’s more, termite swarms often only come out in spring. Meaning, you might only notice them after an entire year has passed.
Worse, swarms signal that you’ve already housed termites for at least three to five years. This means that colonies could have already fed on a considerable portion of your home!
In this case, you may find your foot sinking into a termite-hollowed and damaged floor. If this happens, your foot or leg may get injured and wounded. It’s even more dangerous if the damaged floor you’ve stepped on is on an upper level of the house.
5. They Can Cause Electrical Failure (And Dangers)
Just like mice and rats, termites can also put you at risk of electrical dangers. That’s because they can — and they will — penetrate electric cables as they search for food. Their tunneling power can damage the lead or the plastic covering of electrical cords.
Damaged live wires and cables can lead to electrical hazards and fires. At the very least, termite damage can result in malfunctioning wall outlets.
6. They Can Ruin the Beauty of Your Home
Bubbling paint is one of the signs of termites in drywall. If you have wallpaper at home, the insects can feed not only on the paper itself but also on the adhesive. Either way, this can make your home look messy and in a state of severe disrepair.
7. Their Presence Signals Water Damage
Experts estimate that almost half of homes in the US have dampness problems. Excess moisture inside homes, in turn, can attract dampwood termites. Like the drywood and subterranean termites, the dampwood ones are also common in Utah.
If you’ve seen pellets stuck to damp window sills, chances are, you have dampwood termites. This also means that your home itself has a dampness problem. In this case, it’s a must to get both the dampness and the pest infestation addressed ASAP.
8. They Can Kill Your Prized Trees Too
A study found that termites infested almost half of the trees in homes in Fort Lauderdale, FL. These pests were also behind the death of 12% of home trees, as well as 3% of park trees.
That said, you shouldn’t wait for termites to cause severe damage to the trees on your property. If you think that you have a termite infestation, ring up your local pest control experts right away.
Don’t Let Termites Make You Run Away From Home
As you can see, house termites, as small as they are, have the power to destroy your beautiful home. More than that, they can put you and your loved ones in harm’s way. All that should be reason enough to never ignore the signs of termite infestation.
Have you seen discarded wings or pellets in and around your Utah home? If so, then take that as a sign of termite infestation. In this case, please get in touch with us here at Elevate Pest Control so we can help you drive these pests out of your home!