Termite Basics

 About the thickness of a charging cord, a mud tube is a definitive sign of termite activity.

About the thickness of a charging cord, a mud tube is a definitive sign of termite activity.

Any kind of infestation of bugs in a person’s home can be upsetting, but there are few which are more unnerving than termites. 

The biggest challenge of termite damage is that, by the time a homeowner notices they’re in the home, they’ve already been there for a while. Termites are also like a lot of other kinds of insects in that, for every one you see, there are probably a lot more.

In the case of termites, they live in colonies. So, once a homeowner sees evidence of termites, he knows he is dealing with a colony, and every member of that colony has got to eat. But, don’t panic! Termites are very treatable. In fact, we are having a special this month because monsoon season is a busy time for termites. 

 Deep drilling through the slab

Deep drilling through the slab

Signs of termites

Mud tubes--mud tubes is the most iconic sign of a termite. They are usually light tan and about the size of an iPhone charger cable. When you break one open, you may see something that looks like albino ants. Those are termite nymphs.

Swarms/wings--if you see a see a swarm of termites, you might think it’s a swarm of flying ants. Later, you may find wings. Those are termites and termite wings.

Paint damage, frass--if you see tiny holes in the paint, odd bubbling of paint, or something that looks like a small pile of sawdust, those are signs of termites. Frass looks like little piles or trails of sawdust or sawdust pellets. It is six-sided, about one mm, and can be light brown, tan, dark brown, and everything in between. 

 Bait in the hole.

Bait in the hole.

What they eat

Termites eat wood, of course, but not just wood, per se. What they eat is cellulose, and they’re lucky because most homes have some form of cellulose as part of their construction. For a homeowner, it means keeping an eye out for signs of an infestation and actively looking for them a couple of times per year. We will talk more about this in a future blog.


What we do

Depending on the type of situation, there are several things we can do. There are generally two types of chemicals. One is a barrier, which is designed to keep termites away. The second type is a bait. They termite will take the bait back to the colony, and it will poison the whole colony.  Each situation is different and how we treat it is based on what we find. The important thing is to see them and take care of them before they can do a lot of damage. 

 Regrouting the hole. Done!

Regrouting the hole. Done!

What you can do

In many cases, keeping a sharp eye out and calling a pro when you find evidence of termites is a proactive way of not only treating the termites but also calming the dread that a homeowner feels when he sees them. Find out more about this in our next blog.

In the meantime, if you’re concerned that you may already have termites, give us a call. You don’t have to be like this guy who posted this picture on Reddit with the tag whatisthisthing and discovered he had termites. Just call us.

If you want organic-based and are pet and kid friendly pest control, call Iron Mantis at 480-779-8696.