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Termite and Pest Control: ‘Tis the Season

termite illistration 195x209Ahhhh, spring, lovely spring, it’s always my favorite time of year for a number of reasons. We get beautiful fields of bluebonnets, warm weather, Barton Springs, and bugs. Yep bugs, for termite and pest control companies like me, we think bugs because this is the beginning of peak season. Right now most insects and creepy crawlers are peeking out of their winter hiding places and could be trying their best to make their way inside your humble cozy abode. This takes us to the baddest bug of them all, the termite.

Like all bugs, he’s just doing his thing, looking for some good food and damp shelter. No biggie, like and let live, right? Wrong. Wrong. Dead wrong. He eats houses, all damn day! This beautiful spring time weather is Mr. Termite’s time to stretch his little bug legs and shine.

I’m sure you already know, but termites have been around for 120 million years. These little guys are social butterflies, and live in large organized colonies (organized but dirty) that are usually located underground. Termites need food water and shelter, just like you. They must stay in high humidity, so the ground makes sense. Termites feed on the cellulose in wood and wood products like paper etc. They wreak havoc on the world and cause an estimated $5 billion in property termite damage every year. This type of damage caused by termites is not typically covered by homeowner’s insurance, and can go unnoticed for years because the majority of damage occurs inside the structure out of sight. Only once the little bugs pop their head out of your wall do you notice that “wow I need termite control ASAP”. Only then will you scratch you head and say “maybe I should look into how to get rid of termites”. Then you will call out a termite and pest control company who will tell you how much it will cost to get a termite treatment. Then you will faint because it is expensive.

There are more than 2,000 species of known termites in the world. By my estimation that is a lot of termites, and remember termites eat houses so termite and pest control companies are your favorite strait shooters around! All these species are broken down into 3 separate categories – subterranean, drywood and dampwood. We generally deal with subterranean termites here in Central Texas. A colony is made up of workers, soldiers and swarmers. Workers maintain the colony, construct or repair the nest, and forage for food for the colony. Soldiers are sterile, and their main role is to protect the colony. Neither workers nor soldiers have the pleasure of enjoying wings.

Now swarmers, also called reproductives by people I never meet, see or talk to, have two pairs of wings. Two pairs of wings. Two pairs of wings. I just made you read that three time and it is now committed to memory, your welcome. In the springtime, after the last freeze, usually when temperatures are around 70 degrees the young adult male and female swarmers emerge from their nests in large groups. The females release ‘mating pheromones,’ much like perfume, that will shall we say we the appetite of the male swarmers. Once the males are lured in the two pair up and bread off their wings, ahhhh young love. The new couple then select a nest location, mate and become king and queen of a new colony. The queen has been known to live for 30 years or even more. And they eat houses.

Hakuna Matata. Just a little lesson on how young termites fall in love. If you or anyone you know has seen either of these termites fugitives they should consider them to be armed and dangerous and approach with caution. They eat houses. You should stop and ask yourself “what do I know about how to get rid of termite”. The answer: probably nothing. Then admit to yourself that you need termite control. Only after you surrender yourself and admit you need termite control will you call your local termite and pest control company. They will provide you with a free written inspection and bid for a termite treatment. Only then can you truly achieve termite control. Amen.