IN GEORGIA IT’S NOT IF YOU GET TERMITES, IT’S WHEN. These nasty little pests abound in the area; in fact, Georgia is known by entomologists as part of the “termite belt.” Most yards in the area will contain at least one subterranean colony, and these incredibly persistent bugs will roam up to 400 yards away from their colony looking for food. Termites eat wood, and since our homes are built with a considerable amount of soft wood, it’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet. I’m including a few tips below on the identification and control of infestation.
- Know what a termite swarmer looks like. Swarmers are male and female termites who set out to set up a new colony. They have wings at first, but lose them after mating and begin a new colony. They can look similar to flying ants, but remember that termites have thick bodies, straight antennas, and same-size wings.
- Recognize their travel tunnels. Subterranean termites build mud tubes out of dirt and their saliva, which they use to travel through in order to both avoid predators and drying out (they need a great deal of moisture, which is why they live underground). If you see any mud or soil tubing places where it ought not to be, chances are you’ve got a termite infestation. If you notice sagging floors or ceilings, crumbling wood, or hollow-sounding wood, you need to inspect closer. Be careful not to rip into or damage the colony; the termites will move to an undamaged part of the structure and continue their relentless destruction.
- How long do termites live? Longer than your mortgage. Seriously. The queen can live up to 25 years, laying over 2,000 eggs a day. The colony includes workers (who actively chew your house structure), soldier termites (to protect from ants), kings to mate with the queens, and swarmers to expand the empire. Believe me, you do not want to try and outwait a termite problem. The second you think you have them, you need to take action.
I think I have a termite infestation, what now?
You absolutely need to contact a professional to have them do an inspection and, if necessary, eradicate the colony.
Some local resources for residents:
Yates ASTRO Rincon and Savannah
Low Country Extermination Pembroke
Termites are a regrettably inevitable part of living in the beautiful state of Georgia. Prevention and regular inspection is infinitely cheaper than trying to repair damages, though, so I encourage hyper-vigilance, especially in February-April, when the swarmers are prevalent.
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