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A Useful Guide To Effective Termite Control For San Mateo Homeowners

Have you heard that termites are destructive insects? Are you curious why they're destructive or why they may decide to damage your property? If you've been considering termite pest control in San Mateo, you'll find some great tips and information here. Join us as we look at how to detect termites, how to remove termite attractants, and how to prevent termites from damaging property in San Mateo.

Identifying Termites In San Mateo

termites infesting a home

There are two types of termites in the San Mateo area: subterranean termites and drywood termites. These species have different characteristics and behaviors, but they can both cause serious damage to your home.

Subterranean termites range in size from ? to ½ inch long, depending on the caste. They are creamy-white to dark brown or black in color. Subterranean termites live in massive underground colonies; a mature colony can have anywhere from around 60,000 to two million workers. However, it typically takes between five and ten years before a colony reaches its mature stage. Since subterranean termites live underground, it is rare to see the insects themselves. You are more likely to see other signs of their presence, such as the presence of mud tubes that they use to travel through to infest wooden structures.

Drywood termites are creamy-white to light brown and measure between ¼ inch and one inch in length. Compared to subterranean termites, drywood termite colonies are fairly small – only around 2,500 members. Drywood termites have much lower moisture requirements than subterranean termites and prefer to consume dry, hard wood. Signs of a drywood termite infestation include seeing termite swarmers or discarded wings, as well as the presence of termite frass, or droppings.

Both of these two types of termites are bad news for San Mateo homeowners. If you notice signs of termites, be sure to contact your San Mateo termite control expert.

About The Termite Caste System

A subterranean termite colony is organized into three distinct castes. While all termites begin in the worker class, some rise above their station. If you understand how the caste system of a termite colony works, you'll have essential information that will help you find signs of termites in your San Mateo home and on your property. Here are the three termite castes:

  1. Workers: These are the only termites that damage your home. All other termites get their sustenance from worker termites by way of trophallaxis. Workers are the most numerous termites in a colony. You may see workers in your yard if you pick up dead branches or move stacked wood or other wood sources. You may also see the mud tubes they create on surfaces. 
  2. Soldiers: Some worker termites grow into soldiers. These are larger termites with black pincers on their heads. If you uncover termites, soldiers will be found with workers and can help you to easily identify these insects as termites.
  3. Reproductives: Some workers develop into reproductives and grow wings. The winged reproductives are often called swarmers because they swarm together. If you see termite swarmers in your yard, it is a warning sign of a possible termite infestation. If you see a termite swarm in your house, it is a sign of a severe infestation.

If you find signs of active termites on your property, what is the next step? As you consider termite control, you need to consider how termites damage man-made structures.

Why Termites Infest And Destroy Wooden Structures

Termites eat wood. Some have a preference for hardwood, while others have a preference for rotting wood. The termites that eat hardwood are drywood termites. The termites that prefer rotting wood are subterranean termites.

When subterranean termites attack your home, they will do so near the ground. You can deter them from doing this if you address wood-to-soil contact on structures, remove wood sources in your yard, and by addressing moisture problems. When drywood termites attack your home, they can get in through gaps and cracks in your exterior. Sealing these openings can help to keep them out.

It is possible to prevent termite damage by diligently looking for termite activity and removing factors that attract termites. We touched on both of these, but the latter requires more explanation.

What Does Termite Damage Look Like?

Termite damage can be easily missed at first, as it usually starts small. However, this minor damage adds up and can worsen the longer termites are allowed to chew and tunnel their way through the internal wooden structures of your property.

Examples of termite damage, from the least to most severe, includes:

  • Pinpoint holes in drywall or baseboards
  • Termite frass around baseboards, windowsills, or doorjambs
  • Wooden areas that start to appear like they have water damage
  • Doors and windows that become tight-fitting or stuck
  • Bubbling or peeling paint on walls
  • Sinking floors and ceilings
  • Bulging walls
  • Wood that breaks away easily
  • Structural collapse or total breakage of walls

Seeing any of these examples of termite damage around your property means that you should contact Pacific Pest Management right away for termite protection in San Mateo.

Most Common Areas To Find Termite Damage

Moist or humid areas draw termites in San Mateo, and anywhere wood already has moisture damage is a perfect area for them to invade and start setting up their colonies. Around your property, you are most likely to find termite damages hidden around kitchen and bathroom areas, near basements and garages, at the foundation of your property, and anywhere that excess water is soaking into the wood.

If you aren't sure where termites are coming from or where the termite damage in your property starts, you should contact our expert team at Pacific Pest Management for an inspection.

What To Do If You Find Termite Damage

If you find termite damage, the first thing you should do isn't complete a repair or bring out the DIY treatment methods. Instead, you should contact us at Pacific Pest Management. Only professional pest control in San Mateo can help you narrow down your major termite activity areas and complete expert termite removal of any infestation on your property. With our help, you can avoid further termite damage and get to work safely repairing existing damage in no time.

How To Remove Factors That Attract Termites To Your Home

When you're going about your everyday life, there are many ways you may unknowingly increase your chances of a termite infestation.

Here are a few things to consider.

  • Dead branches are a desirable food source for termites. It is good to pick them up from your yard, but you're not solving your problem if you stack them in a pile. In fact, you're creating a much larger attractant in more ways than one. We recommend getting a plastic bin. Put your branches in the bin to prevent termites from easily accessing the decaying wood.
  • When you do some construction, you might have stacked wood in your yard before and after your construction project. In both cases, wood that rests on the ground can attract termites. If wood is left on the ground for a long time after a construction project, it is going to grow tastier to termites as the months pass.
  • If you install a wooden deck onto your home and you put wood posts into the ground, termites are going to be able to go right up into that structure from the ground. It is much better to put concrete piers in the ground and rest the wooden posts on top. This will allow you to see shelter tubes created by worker termites if they attempt to access the wood.
  • If your gutters get clogged, you might not immediately address the issue. This can allow rainwater to spill over and saturate the ground next to your home, which isn't good. Worker termites look for moist soil because moisture and wood rot go together.  

Be aware that termites are looking for food sources and moisture. Your goal should always be to remove these from your yard. Unfortunately, a termite infestation may occur despite your best efforts. In that case, professional termite control will provide the most effective results.

The Most Effective Termite Control For San Mateo Homes

It is best to contact a certified termite control professional for termite treatment or to install active termite protection around your home. If you're in San Mateo, reach out to us here at Pacific Pest Management. We use industry-leading solutions for termites. If drywood termites present a problem, we may apply a heat treatment, Termidor® Foam treatment, Orange Oil whole-house treatment, or we may recommend fumigation services. If subterranean termites are your concern, we use Termidor® in-ground injection or the Sentricon® System with Always Active™. You'll always be given the most effective options available and you'll be guided toward the right option for your specific needs and budget. There is no better termite control in San Mateo – contact Pacific Pest Management today to get started and to learn more about our residential and commercial pest control services in San Mateo.

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