In Tulsa, the termites we battle are categorized as subterranean termites, which are the most destructive termites in the United States. While Tulsa is far from the eastern part of the country, the distribution of eastern subterranean termites extends from the East Coast to as far as Utah. So, as we talk about termites today, be aware that we are referring to subterranean termites and, in particular, eastern subterranean termites. Here are some factors that can put your Tulsa home at risk for an infestation of these wood-destroying insects.
Subterranean termite workers require a lot of moisture to survive. This is because they have thin skins. When a potential queen termite searches for a location to establish a colony, she is going to have a preference for areas that are moist. It is also likely that she is aware that damp environments tend to have an appropriate food source for the thousands of young she intends to produce. Dampness promotes wood rot. Whatever her reasoning, it is important for you to address conditions of wetness in your yard. If you do, you will make your yard less inviting to termites and a wide range of other pests.
- Inspect your gutters and make sure they are working properly. Your gutter system is vital for channeling rainwater down and away from the wood of your home. If it is clogged or broken, your foundation perimeter can become the ideal environment for pest activity.
- Inspect your exterior spigots and any hoses you have. Leaky pipes, spigots, and hoses can allow tap water to make your foundation perimeter damp.
- Do you have lots of plants? If you do, those plants will need to be watered. This can be attractive to termites. There are two ways to combat this. Make sure you have space between your plants so airflow can quickly dry the topsoil, and trim trees, bushes, and shrubs to allow the sunlight to assist with keeping things dry on top.
- Do you have any low spots around your home where rainwater gets captured? Consider filling these in or creating a gradient to channel the water away from your perimeter.
Termites don't just damage wood; they eat it. If you have wood on your property that is appealing to termites, it is like laying food out for them to eat. Fortunately, subterranean termites don't prefer all types of wood. They have a preference. Here are some wood sources they are most drawn to:
- Rotting wood. If you have a log, stump, stacks of firewood, or some other wood source in your yard that is starting to rot, it will be like ringing the dinner bell for termites. "Come and get it!"
- Old wood. The older the wood is the more appetizing it is. Do you have an old fence, a rickety shed, or a wood border around a garden? If you do, your yard will be interesting to termites.
- Unpainted wood. Termites don't like to eat paint. Researchers that study termites have observed that workers will feed right up to a coating of paint and come to a stop.
- Wood that is not pressure-treated. If you have pressure-treated wood on your home—and you probably do—that wood is going to be resistant to termite damage, as long as it is not touching the soil. This is because pressure-treated wood has a chemical preservative in its pores that resists decay and wood-destroying insects. Wood that is not pressure treated has no such protection and is highly attractive to termites.
- Softwood. Termites love soft wood. They love it so much they are often found feeding along the grain of wood beams rather than feeding across the grain.
Do you have a crawl space under your home or a porch, patio, or deck that has a dark void beneath? Subterranean termites commonly attack wood from dark locations. Termite workers can actually sense areas of the ground that are shaded. This is one of the ways they find food sources above the ground. Dark places are also ideal for worker termite which have an aversion to light.
Some homes and some Tulsa yards are more attractive to termites than others but all homes in Tulsa can become victims of subterranean termite damage. The best way to prevent this damage is with proactive termite protection. If you want to guard your equity, the certified termite control professionals at Montgomery are standing by to assist you