Termites: The Dread of Every Homeowner
Although termites are beneficial to the environment because they recycle rotten wood, they are certainly not beneficial when they take refuge in your home. Termites are often noticed by homeowners when they swarm into the air during their mating season. Even after the mating season when you can’t see the termites anymore, they may still be present, eating the wood inside your home.
Flying termites are often confused with flying ants, but there are a few differences that help distinguish the two:
Ants’ bodies are generally harder and darker than termites
Ants have bent antennae, while termites’ antennae are straight
Termites’ front and hind wings are about the same size, but flying ants have longer front wings than hind wings
Because termites feed on wood, they can cause significant damage to the structure of your home. Termite infestations are often not identified until they have already caused damage because they are hidden inside the walls of your home. Termite damage sometimes looks like water damage and can include buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings, a mildew smell or visible, mazelike tunnels. Termites will usually access aboveground wood in buildings through protected cracks and cavities, like those in concrete slabs and foundations. Termites digest cellulose in wood (or material made from wood such as pressed wood or drywall) with the aid of special organisms within their digestive system. The termite then uses its excretions to create galleries, which are like shelter tubes that help to conserve moisture and protect termites from predators.