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How To Get Rid Of Termites A Comprehensive Guide For Westchester County Homeowners
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How To Get Rid Of Termites: A Comprehensive Guide For Westchester County Homeowners

When termites enter your yard, they have one goal, and that goal is to find food. If you want to get rid of the termites in your yard, you need to understand this relationship with food. You need to know how they feed, where they feed, and how to alter conditions that inspire them to feed. Understanding their relationship to food can also help you detect active termites and find signs of them on your property.

As always, keep Parkway Pest Services in mind if you're looking to get a residential pest control plan that includes termite termite control. Check out our Pest Guard+ program on our residential pest control page for details. Pest Guard+ is perfect for addressing over 30 common pests in Westchester County, including termites. Or, just call us when you need professional termite control services. We're here to help you find industry-leading pest control solutions for all your pest issues.

A swarm of termites in the ground

You're Not Likely To See A Termite: How To Identify Signs Of Activity

When you go looking for termites, you're going to have a hard time finding them. You won't find them crawling on the trees in your yard because they eat dead wood, not live trees. You also won't easily see them crawling on dead branches, campfire wood, and other preferred food sources. The termites that eat food do not like the light.

Hold on a second. Don't all termites eat wood? Actually, only worker termites eat wood. All of the other termites get their food from the workers through a process called trophallaxis. So, if you want to find the termites that eat your home, you need to understand how worker termites behave. 

Here are three facts you should know:

  1. Studies reveal that termite workers hide from all light, even reflected light from the moon. That means, even at night, you're not likely to see termites crawling on the wood in your home.
  2. A termite worker has a thin skin. No, we're not saying that they can't take a joke. A worker termite literally has thin skin, and its skin can dehydrate easily. For this reason, it doesn't come out of hiding for long, even in the pitch dark.
  3. Termite workers do not make detectable sounds as they eat wood. Does that mean you can't hear them? No. Termites make some noise you can detect, depending on the size and location of your infestation. But a large number of termites can eat the wood in your home without creating noise that you're able to detect.

Since termite workers are so secretive, how do you detect signs of activity in your yard? Zero in on the food. Since termite workers love dead branches, pick sticks up and check underneath. You may find termite workers on the wood or crawling on the soil. Workers are about 1/8 of an inch and are a yellowish-pale color. Some Westchester County residents describe them as fat ants. Inspect all forms of decaying wood in your yard and use this simple termite identification to locate termite activity.

Having dead branches in your yard is helpful if you're hoping to detect termites. But we don't recommend keeping them in your yard. The last thing you want to do is provide food for termites. If you do, it will encourage them to explore your property.

Understanding The Termite Threat: Why Termites Infest Homes

If you find termites in your yard, should you worry? Is it possible that the termites will go away if you get rid of dead branches and other wood sources? It depends. If the termites have already found their way into your house, they may not need wood sources in your yard. They'll find all of the food they need indoors. If they haven't gotten in yet and you want termites to disappear, you must consider two important factors.

How do termites get into your home?

The termites in our area are the subterranean variety. They live underground and will access your home from the ground. If you have a wood post that goes into the soil, a skirt that touches the earth, or some other wood-to-ground contact, termites can enter your home directly through these vulnerable spots. If termites don't have a direct access point, they may create shelter tubes to get to the wood. A shelter tube is a mud structure typically the width of a pencil. Workers build them in sheltered locations, hidden from the sun and the moon.

What attracts termites to feed on your home?

Termites are looking for decaying wood because it is soft and easy to consume. Any spot on your house softened by moisture can create a delicious meal for termite workers. If you want to make termites go away, step one is to address moisture problems and wood rot.

We've covered a lot of ground. Now, it is time to start putting the puzzle pieces together. Let's look at some specific steps you can take to prevent termite damage and give termites a reason to go away.

Prevention Is Key: How To Remove Factors That Attract Termites

We talked a lot about termites eating wood, but it is important to note that they eat other things besides wood. What termites are specifically eating is cellulose, which is the main component of plant cell walls and fibrous vegetation. They can find cellulose in stumps, logs, lumber, cardboard boxes, books, shirts, rugs, and more. If you have a junk pile in your backyard, it is likely as much of an attractant for termites as a pile of dead branches. But most homes don't have a junk pile. The primary concern is wood, but we'll start with the junk pile.

  • If you have junk on the ground in a pile, all you need to do is get the pile up off the ground.
  • If you have dead branches, prevent wood-to-ground contact to remove those branches as a meal for termites.
  • If you have a dying tree, consider hiring a tree doctor to take a look.
  • If you cut down a dying tree and have logs in your yard, you should remove those logs as soon as possible.
  • If you have a backyard fire pit with a pile of wood next to it, consider putting the wood in a rubber bin.
  • If you have a clogged gutter, clean out any obstructions so the water doesn't soak your exterior and lead to wood rot.
  • If you have any wooden structure that touches the ground, replace the materials with something termites don't eat, like vinyl.
  • If you have wood flower pots or flower beds, consider replacing them with ceramic versions.
  • If you have stumps in your yard, consider addressing the root systems.
  • If you heat your home with firewood, consider building a structure to elevate your woodpiles and keep the wood off the soil. Doing this will force termite workers to create mud tubes to get to the wood.
  • If you have any decaying wood on the exterior of your home, consider replacing the rotten materials.

Simple choices can make your yard less interesting to termite workers. Consider all the food that might attract termites to your property, and check your property routinely for evidence of termite activity. Taking these two steps can significantly increase your odds of avoiding termite damage. Will these provide you with the best protection? No. But they are worth doing if you don't have professional termite control products.

Can you install your own termite control product? Yes. But keep in mind that a certified termite professional will use professional-grade products, install the products according to all manufacturer guidelines, and perform inspections to ensure success. Let's take a look at how this works.

Calling in the Experts: Professional Termite Control

The worst outcome of DIY termite control is that termites avoid the products, and you discover the damage years later. While this is a common story for property owners, it doesn't have to be yours. Termite damage is 100 percent preventable when properly installed and monitored.

When you contact Parkway Pest Services, here are a few ways we can help you prevent a termite problem:

  • We can provide an annual inspection performed by a certified professional.
  • We can address a current infestation in your home or provide termite prevention by applying a liquid product that has a transfer effect, which will ensure colony elimination.
  • We can install The Sentricon® Termite Colony Elimination System. Sentricon® is a bait solution that provides colony elimination and foolproof termite monitoring. There is no better way to guard your property and prevent termite damage.

Are you in Westchester County? Do you need professional termite control near you? Contact Parkway Pest Services for the exact control solution you want for your property. We have the experience to provide you with the highest level of service. Connect with us today to learn more about our residential and commercial pest control services in Westchester County. We're here to help.

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