Foundation walls and slabs should be designed to inhibit the entry of termites into the building, and to facilitate inspection for shelter tubes. Sheet metal and steel mesh barriers properly designed and installed, are also an effective means of control. Wood products and other building materials should be selected with regard to termite resistance.
Powder post beetle larvae cause millions of dollars worth of damage in the US and Canada annually, and are almost as destructive as termites. Adult beetles lay their eggs in the surface pores of wood. The larvae bore into the wood as soon as they hatch. Living in the wood, they create tunnels called galleries as they eat their way through the timbers. When the larvae are nearly full grown, they bore near to the surface of the wood and pupate. The adults bore out through the surface soon after pupation, pushing a fine powdery wood dust, usually a copper to yellow-gold in color, out of the wood as they emerge.
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.
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 subterranean termite is very closely associated with the soil, which is its main source of life-sustaining moisture. Termite food consists of cellulose obtained from wood and wood products. Decaying damp wood is preferred but termites are also able to feed on sound, dry lumber.
It is difficult to identify termites unless there is a reproductive swarm. Swarming termites do however resemble swarming ants. Some people call termites "white ants" but this is an incorrect term. Termites are often white but some are so clear you can see food in their gut. Their bodies are very soft.
Break the wood-soil contact. To little clearance between the soil and wooden structures often results in all of the physical requirements for a termite infestation being met (moisture, decaying wood, and food readily available). A general rule is that there should be a 45cm (18 inch) clearance between the soil and lowest horizontal members of the structure. If wooden lattice-work is used around verandas, there should be a space of 50 - 75 cm (20-30 inches) between the soil and this lattice-work. Other problem areas include veranda and basement steps, where the wood is in direct contact with soil.
Termites eat away at wood in the home and use their own feces and dirt to patch up the holes they make. If you look carefully, you might find some evidence of this. If you have painted, wooden surfaces you might see what appears to be bubbling under the paint. This can be caused by termites eating the wood. After termites have finished swarming, many shed their wings, which you can find on the floor of your house.
When no further activity is observed in the bait stations, treated bait is removed, and replaced with untreated bait. Monitoring continues on a regular basis, and the procedure is repeated as necessary. Several companies offer products and services that are variations on this method of site treatment, although baiting is still a relatively new approach for termites.
Carpenter ants, found in the Pacific Northwest, the northern Midwest, New England and southern Canada, are distinguishable from termites by their dark colour, narrow waists, elbowed antennae and when present, the large front and small rear wings. Carpenter ants rarely attack sound dry wood, preferring damp wood, foam or cellulose insulation, and do not use wood for food. They are more easily spotted than termites as they expel wood fragments from their excavations, and forage for food in the open. The presence of carpenter ants may indicate moisture problems in the building as they generally prefer already rotting wood.