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"I am afraid it will mean
destroying their natural habitat"

Termites

What do you do to check a termite invasion in your house?

 

There are more than 1,800 different species of termites or "white ants" that belong to the insect family, "Isoptera." Thought to have evolved from the common cockroach, termites are one of the oldest living insects still in existence today.

Termites live in colonies, where they work and operate in a well-defined system of order. The reproductive termites (known as the "king" and "queen") maintain the termite population, the workers are those termites which eat wood, and the soldiers keep the colony in order and protect each nest. Both soldiers and workers are blind and sterile and live 2-5 years. The reproductive termites, can survive for as long as 70-years.

Termite colonies are formed in nests within wood or soil. Each nest is airtight and has a seal so strong, it is able to maintain an extremely high humidity level. Despite their reputation, less than 10-percent of the termite population is known to be destructive.

APPEARANCE

The majority of all common termite species are white to clear in color, have six short legs, a soft body, and white, beady-looking antennae. "Swarmer" termites have long wings, straight antennae, and are dark brown to black in color.

IDENTIFYING THE TERMITE

DRY-WOOD TERMITES are the most destructive of all the species, often nesting with wood. An infestation of dry-wood termites will show itself in small piles of dirt located on or around wooden structures and in small tunnel-looking paths on long boards, doors, footboards, or walls.

SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES enter wood from under the ground, as they dig through the soil. Though harder to identify, subterranean termites can be spotted. Checking soil near entry ways around foundations will usually turn up this type of termite. Often, many subterranean termites will be seen at one time, burrowing into contaminated soil or clinging to moldy wood.

GETTING RID OF TERMITES

Because termite infestations are usually immense by the time they're discovered, a professional is often needed. Equipment, chemicals, and specialized tools often make treatment difficult. Small infestations or those homeowners with knowledge of how termites move about can successfully rid their living environment of pesky termites. Still, the best and most cost effective means of termite control is prevention.

FUMIGATION is used most successfully on dry-wood termites. Fumigation is a somewhat expensive, lengthy procedure which involves tenting the diseased structure, evacuating residents, and pumping a fumigant into the spoiled wood. Fumigation is best done by a professional as a last resort effort.

INSECTICIDES can be shot directly into diseased wood. By drilling small holes in infested wood and pumping chemicals through the holes, termites whither and die within 1-6 months. Each hole must be sealed with caulk after the insecticide has been used to prevent termites from moving to another area of the structure.

ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES

While insecticides will destroy termite trouble, they are extremely poisonous, often leaving trace toxic residue on carpeting, furniture, flooring, and walls for many years. Fortunately, there are many non-toxic termite treatments available today.

BORIC ACID dissolved in water and painted on affected area will keep termites at bay for years. This is a wood treatment, often used in the preventative stages, but many believe it also helps curb current population growth.

HEAT TREATMENT is a good alternative to chemical fumigation, and very effective at ridding dry-wood termites from your home. During heat treatments, nylon tarps are used to tent the infested wood and their pests. Propane heat is then connected to the tent and blown into the structure, heating the exterior and interior walls to 120-degrees F for up to one hour. This treatment works well for large infestations.

FREEZING. When only small areas have been infested by termites, a freezing process is used. Liquid nitrogen is pushed into afflicted structures, freezing walls and termites in their tracks. This process is used on very selective areas and is most effective at the beginning stages of growth.

ELECTRICITY. By means of high voltage electrical shocks, termites can be destroyed instantly, wherever their location. Electro-guns must be used in the direct vicinity of termite colonies, but are effective in treating large populations of termites which are confined to a relatively small area.

MICROWAVES. Small areas, such as windows, doors, and short walls can be treated with microwave rays. Small microwave looking devices shoot rays through walls and kill termites within 2-3 days.

TERMITE PREVENTION

OBSERVE. Keeping an eye on things is your best defense against serious termite infestations. Most termites are discovered between March and May, when soil is moist. Check the foundation area around your home for spoiled soil and moldy or rotten wood.

PREPARE. Subterranean termites, which cause damage by reaching wood underground, can be kept away from wooden structures by using pressure-treated woods and concrete which has been chemically treated with dieldrin. Reinforcing concrete foundations is another way to prevent infestation. By extending concrete foundations at least 5-inches above the ground, subterranean termites will be unable to reach the wood or the interior of your home.

BUILD SMART. When building, use termite-resistant woods like cedar, juniper, and redwood.

ELIMINATE MOISTURE. Termites must live in a high humidity environment. By eliminating moisture, you'll prevent future problems. Remove moist soil near the foundation of your home, clean up standing water, fix plumbing leaks, and place polyethylene in crawl spaces and cracks to add a moisture barrier between the soil and your home's foundation.

GET RID OF THE MOLD. Termites thrive on moldy wood. You can prevent wood from molding by pruning back plants, bushes, and shrubbery close to your home's foundation.

SEAL IT. Seal woods which will be exposed to moisture. Using an all-weather wood sealer on patios, window frames, door frames, and at wall edges will deter termites.

REPAIR. Cracks, crevices, broken seals, split wood and similar items should be repaired immediately.

TERMITE ALARMS are fairly new to the market, but have shown promise in detecting termites who are moving into your home area. By placing a series of alarm systems around the perimeter of your property, alarms are able to monitor activity, and report any termite colonies.

HOME TREATMENT. You can treat your own by adding 1-ounce of citrus oil to a gallon of warm water and spraying or painting it directly on to wood surfaces.

KEEP THE ANTS? Ants and termites are natural enemies. By not completely eliminating local ant colonies, you'll keep termites at arm's distance from your home.

Posted by Martin

Talk with them in a friendly way and tell them that this is your home and they should look for another one.

You could build them also one: they like newspaper and wood.

Posted by Hans

Global emissions of termites are estimated to be about 11% of the global methane emissions from natural sources. Methane is produced in termites as part of their normal digestive process, and the amount generated varies among different species. Ultimately, emissions from termites depend largely on the population of these insects, which can also vary significantly among different regions of the world.

itech.dickinson.edu/ chemistry/?cat=67

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