The damage to wood is usually not noticeable on the surface, as the termite avoids exposure to air. Therefore the exterior surface of the wood must be stripped away to see the damage.. Termites do not reduce wood to a powdery mass, or push wood particles to the outside as do some wood-boring insects, such as carpenter ants and powder post beetles.
Termite barriers contain a soil and a bait trap mixed with a high concentration of termite poison. When traveling toward your home, termites don`t recognize the difference between the soil in the barriers and the regular ground soil so they enter the poison barriers. Many new homebuilders choose to have a termite services company install termite barriers during the construction process as an additional amenity for the home.
In contrast to termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood and other cellulose-based materials, but instead simply excavate living quarters and hatching chambers that are usually quite limited in extent.
Some people think that termite identification is difficult but if you know what you are doing it is can be done easily. Termites live in large family units with between several hundred and several million family members. They work together in an organized system to find food sources.
A typical termite family will include soldiers. These have long heads and powerful jaws. Soldier termites defend the family unit. If you can find some soldier termites, this makes it easier to know whether you have a termite problem. Solders only make up part of the termite population so you will have to look carefully for them. Most termites are workers. These are about 2/5 inch long and are recognizable by their soft, light-colored bodies. They look a bit like moving grains of rice.
Several species of powder post beetles are to be found in the U.S. and Canada. They vary in length from 1/16" to 3/8", but generally have flattened bodies, a prominent head and segmented antennae. True powder post beetles attack only hardwoods (particularly oak, hickory, ash, walnut and cherry) but other species of wood boring beetles attack both hardwoods and softwoods.
The series of galleries (area hollowed out) created by termites in wood give a honeycomb appearance. These galleries follow the wood grain. Interior galleries contain greyish specks of excrement and earth, called frass.
In the termite colony there are generally several generations present. The colony is made up of several castes (forms) (larvae, nymphs, secondary and primary reproductives, soldiers and workers), who carry out specific duties or functions.
The worker termites are white in colour and approximately 6mm (1/4 inch) in length. Their antennae are straight (not elbowed) and the body is not narrowed at the waist, which distinguish them from ants. They have chewing mouth parts and are responsible for foraging and feeding the dependent members of the colony. The hind gut of the worker contains protozoa (single-celled animals) which assist in breaking down cellulose into its component parts which are digestible by the termite. The worker termite causes the structural damages.
Smaller versions of termite barriers, a termite services company will set bait stations in the ground immediately around your home. These small boxes filled with poison can help rid your home of termites as it attracts and poisons them. You termite services company will replace them with new bait stations when they begin to lose their effectiveness. Bait stations have become an increasingly popular way to control termites. The key is placing the bait stations in the most effective locations, so it`s best to contact an expert for placement and installation.