In a strange way, termites are like cows, horses and goats in that their stomachs have an enzyme that allows them to digest the cellulose in wood and organic matter. While other insects can be mistaken for termites, there’s no mistaking the damage they are capable of.
If you find signs of termites in your home or yard, chances are there is a whole colony underfoot. They are subterranean eusocial insects that thrive in large groups where each caste member performs a specific role. Griffin’s pest control program effectively eliminates termites by exploiting this intricate social system and destroying it from within.
What Do Termites Look Like?
Termites are small (between 0.1 and 0.5 inches depending on caste) white or tan-colored insects with bulbous heads and prominent, ten-segment abdomens. They look similar enough to ants that they’re often incorrectly called “white ants.” Adult termites develop several distinguishing physical characteristics based on caste.
- Workers are around 0.11 inches and creamy white in color. Workers are tasked with feeding the colony by chewing up wood and regurgitating the cellulose for nymphs and other termites to eat. All termites begin as workers and evolve as the queen dictates.
- Soldiers have pronounced rectangular heads that are dark amber or orange in color with large black mandibles (those pinchers near their mouth). As their name suggests, soldiers protect the colony.
- Reproductive alates have usable wings and are the only caste members with eyes. They travel to expand the colony and start new ones. They’re sometimes confused with flying ants.
- Queens are larger than other caste members with elongated and enlarged thoraxes. They can lay millions of eggs in their long lifetimes.
The most common type of termite in Michigan is the Eastern Subterranean. They thrive on the many hardwoods we have as well as the summer humidity.
Signs of Termites in Your Home
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen signs that raise concerns over termites in your home. The evidence can sometimes be subtle. Here are a few signs to look for:
- Damaged wood. It’s easy to confuse water damage and blistered wood with the work of termites. Look for chewed out channels and a hollow sound when you knock on it. Learn more in our ‘What Does Termite Damage Look Like’ blog.
- Frass. These are the sawdust or pepper-like droppings that termites leave behind.
- Mud tubes. An engineering wonder of the termite is the mud tube. As its name suggests, this is a tube, made of mud, that termites travel through that allows them to extract the much-needed moisture they use for digestion. You may see these along your foundation or near cracks in areas like your basement.
- Eggs. It is rare to see termite eggs because they are usually deep within the nest. They are white or brownish, oval-shaped and translucent. Though tiny, eggs will usually be in large caviar-like clusters guarded by the queen who can lay up to 2,000 per day.
If you’re uncertain about any of these signs, one of our pest control professionals can help identify whether you have termites in your Michigan home.
How To Get Rid of Termites in Your Home
Griffin Pest Solutions proudly uses Sentricon® baiting technology for our termite treatment. It’s proven reliable for wiping out termite infestations and for making sure they don’t come back.
Our team uses a three-step approach to identify and eliminate termites around your home. We customize each plan to your environment and your needs to ensure that your termite problem is effectively dealt with.
Inspection. First, our experts conduct a thorough inspection of your property. We identify where your termites are and create the customized plan for removal and prevention.
Baiting. We place the Sentricon® system with always-active Recruit HD termite bait in strategic above and below-ground locations around your property. Once ingested, the bait prevents worker termites from growing. The workers are the lynch pin, without them, the colony will collapse.
This video further explains how the system works to eliminate termites from your life.
Monitoring. As long as it’s placed correctly, the Sentricon® system will continuously draw in and wipe out any termites that come near your property. Griffin experts will continue to monitor the system and replace the bait as needed. We’ll also make sure the placement continues to have maximum effectiveness and will tweak it as necessary.
Can You Treat Your House for Termites Yourself?
While it’s hard to eliminate a whole colony on your own, there are a few steps you can take to discourage termites from entering and damaging your home. The main three are:
- Dehumidifier. Termites need moisture to chew, digest and regurgitate the wood cellulose that feeds the colony. In fact, they prefer wood that is already moist. Besides making sure drips and plumbing leaks are repaired, a dehumidifier will help keep areas like basements dry and discourage termites from entering.
- Orange oil. Termites hate the zesty smell of orange oil. By spraying it in and around areas where you’ve seen termites or termite damage, you can deter them from coming back.
- Over the counter sprays/baits. In addition to the two deterrents above, there are many commercial products designed to combat termites. These may work but a pest control professional will be more effective in identifying the location of your termite colony and making sure it is wiped out.
Fixing Termite Damage to Your Home
Take signs of termites in your home seriously. A colony of termites can damage the wood and sheetrock that comprises your walls and ceilings. Because they operate beneath the surface, you may not realize the damage they are causing to important beams and supports in your home until it’s too late.
Left unchecked, termites can cause buckling in walls and ceilings. The damaged wood and sheetrock will need to either be replaced or reinforced with supports. Termite damage repair costs can become expensive.
Before you address the repairs, you’ll want to address the termite problem. Make sure you have a plan in place to properly eliminate all the termites in your home, otherwise you’re just giving them more to feast upon.
We Eliminate Termites in Michigan
Call or contact Griffin Pest Solutions today to get your termite problem fully under control. We offer a proven system of eliminating termites that we customize to your home. Our team is ready to help you be termite free for good – no ifs, ants or bugs!
Michigan’s flying termites are usually the reproductive caste (“alates”) of Eastern Subterranean termite colonies. Alates swarm during their mating season, between February and April. During swarms, flying termites seek mates, lay eggs, and establish new colonies. Alates themselves can’t hurt you, but you don’t want them starting new colonies nearby!
Subterranean termite damage starts around particularly vulnerable wood and spreads as the infestation grows. Termites may bore small holes into sections of this wood. As the infestation progresses, wood flooring or paneling may begin to look blistered, warped, or water damaged. Eventually, wooden supports may begin sagging, cracking, or breaking.
Michigan’s eastern subterranean termites have been endemic since they migrated north around the 1960s. Termites spread quickly in Michigan for two main reasons: 1. our state features a natural abundance of their favored hardwood food sources and 2. our naturally humid climate provides the moisture colonies need to spread continuously.
UPDATE: Termite Treatment During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Griffin has temporarily changed how we conduct our termite treatment programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Until further notice, we will administer all Sentricon® baiting applications and perimeter treatments from outside ONLY. We will only enter the home if asked. These changes do NOT impact the efficacy of our termite treatments.
For more information about how Griffin is responding to COVID-19, see our full COVID-19 update. For more exterior-only treatments and specials you can share with anyone else who needs them, check out our Stay Safe Special.