Serving Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area

What do you think of when you hear the word termites? You may think of a blue and yellow tent that covers a house to resolve the house’s termite issues. You may think of the scary thought of termites eating your foundation! Regardless of your thoughts, termites are an issue in California. However, there is no need to fear, there are ways that homeowners can prevent termites!
First of all, let’s identify the signs of termite damage. Termites use mud tubes on the exterior of the home to reach a food source. You may notice soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped, darkening or blistering of wood structures, uneven or bubbling paint, small piles of feces that resembles sawdust near a termite nest, or discarded wings near doors or on windowsills which indicates that swarmers have entered the home. If you notice any of the six signs, we recommend contacting a pest professional. It is important to note that termites that have already infested a home may still do damage at any time even without the presence of these types of warning signs.
Here is a brief overview of the these two common types of termites:
Subterranean Termites:

As their name suggests, subterranean termite colonies exist underground. They make their way up to their food source by building small tunnels known as shelter tubes, and are also often identified by piles of shed wings. Tips for preventing a subterranean termite infestation include keeping crawl spaces and attics ventilated and avoiding water accumulation in the sub structure since excess moisture can contribute to nesting sites.

Drywood Termites:

This type of termite infests drywood, and is often identifiable by the presence of their fecal matter, which looks like small pellets, often found adjacent to small kick-out holes in the wood. Like subterranean termites, they may also produce piles of shed wings. It is a good idea to keep the landscape and home perimeter free of wood debris such as fallen leaves,  tree limbs, or scrap wood. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the home. Additionally, keep exterior wood painted and/or sealed. This should involve caulking all cracks and crevices to deny entry points for drywood termites.

Did you know that carpenter ants are frequently confused with termites? Here are some tips to tell the difference:

Appearance  – Carpenter ants have a well-defined narrow waist, bent antennae, and have four wings of uneven length. Termites have no waist, straight antennae, and its four wings are of equal size – much longer than its body.

Behavior – Termites eat wood, and the galleries they create may have mud or soil inside. Carpenter ant galleries however, are clean and can almost appear as if the wood has been sanded. Carpenter ants do not actually eat the wood, but rather chew on it in order to create nesting areas.

Evidence – Drywood termite frass (their fecal pellets) resemble course sand, while Carpenter ant debris looks similar to pencil shavings.

If you think you may have an issue with termites please call to receive professional help. ATCO is always available to assist you with any services you may need.