termite swarm outside nc home

What termites are active in North Carolina?

Active in North Carolina, the Eastern subterranean termite is a beneficial insect, when it’s in its natural environment.  Tasked with breaking down cellulose-containing materials and converting them to usable nutrients that can be recycled to the soil, termites play an important role in the ecosystem.  Unfortunately, when they move into structures and start attacking the wood elements they become a serious and potentially expensive problem.  Subterranean termites live in large colonies underground. Every member of the colony belongs to a caste and their job or role depends upon which caste they’re part of. 

 

Termite Workers

termite workers on a rotten log

The largest group in a termite colony, termite workers have soft, creamy-white bodies.  They are blind, wingless, and are the ones you’re most likely to see in the soil around your foundation or inside feeding on your structure.  Their main objective is to gather food for themselves and the entire colony.  Outside that means dead or decaying trees, rotting leaves and other living plant material.  Inside, they attack wallboards, structural beams, trim, and other items made from wood.

Termite Soldiers

termite soldier on infested wood

Larger than termite workers, soldiers have elongated yellow heads, large strong jaws, and very short legs.  Their mission, like every good soldier, is to defend.  Because they are constantly safeguarding the colony, termite soldiers do not have time to forage for food; they rely on the termite workers to feed them. 

Reproductive Members AKA Termite Swarmers

termite swarmers on a cement floor

The reproductive members (kings and queens) of the colony are the largest members and are dark-brown to black in color.  Unlike the others, reproductive have wings.  Their wings allow them to swarm from a mature colony in order to find a mate and start a new termite colony.   Shortly after a termite swarm, their wings will break off.  In many cases, witnessing a termite swarm coming from your walls or finding broken wings on the floor are the only indication of a termite problem you visibly see.

How do you tell the difference between swarming termites and flying ants?

Termite swarmers and flying or winged ants are often confused with each other; but there are some differences between the species that allow people to tell the difference between the two.

Winged termites vs. winged ants:

  • Termites have straight antennae, while ants have bent, elbowed antennae.
  • Termites have thicker waists, and have pinched waists.
  • Termites have two pairs of equal-length wings.  Ants have front wings that are longer than their hind wings.

If you’ve discovered winged insects in or around your home, church or business and are not sure what they are, contact A-1 Pest Control.  Our technicians are extremely knowledgeable on the pests in North Carolina, can help you identify the pest, and recommend a treatment plan that gets rid of them!

Are termites dangerous?

Termites do not pose a threat to human health.  They don’t bite and they don’t sting.  They are not known to spread disease.  They are dangerous to structures and can cause unnecessary stress for property owners.  Termite damage is not easily noticeable, until an infestation becomes significant.  These pests feed away on the wood from the inside out- often times, the outer layer will look intact but the inside will be riddled with tunnels.  Unfortunately, termite damage can be quite costly to repair and homeowners’ insurance policies don’t typically cover the expense.  That’s because, termites are considered preventable. 

How do termites damage homes and structures?

Termite enter structures while foraging for food.  When they discover water damaged wood, insulation, wallpaper, and other building materials that are made of cellulose, they’ll start attacking.  Unlike carpenter ants that only nest in wood, termites actually consume the material.   Left un-treated, their feeding activity will weaken the structural integrity of the infested structure as well as cause warping and buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings, and blistering paint, and more.

What are the signs of termites?

Termites do all of the damage to the inside of wood and are rarely seen so detecting an infestation can be difficult. Some common signs of a termite problem include:

  • Mud tubes - Termites travel from their underground colonies to food sources inside mud tubes that are about the width of a pencil.  They’re often found on the foundation and elsewhere around or inside a structure.
  • Termite swarms – if you see a termite infestation outside, there’s a colony on your property or somewhere nearby.  A termite swarm inside your structure means there is an active termite infestation. 
  • Wings – Piles of wings along window sills, porches or outside are an indication of termite activity inside or nearby.
  • Damaged wood- See above for more information about termite damage.

How do you get rid of termites?

For best results, partner with a pest control company that specializes in termite control.  At A-1 Pest Control, we provide comprehensive solutions including termite baiting and liquid termite treatments.  When you contact us for help, we’ll inspect your structure and property thoroughly and recommend a treatment option based on our findings.  Visit our termite control page to learn more about our services or contact us today to schedule your free termite inspection!

How do you prevent a termite infestation?

The best way to help prevent a termite infestation is correct conditions that attract termites to your home or business.  Here are a few ways you can prevent termite activity:

  • Limit soil to wood contact around the exterior of the structure
  • Make sure gutters are working properly to direct water away from the structure
  • Reduce moisture levels inside
  • Fix leaking pipes and fixtures
  • Replace wood that has been damaged by water
  • Clear away leaves, sticks, fallen trees, and other debris.

Helpful Termite Articles

What Termite Damage Looks Like In North Carolina Homes

Why Nothing Beats Sentricon For Termite Defense

Recommended Program For This Pest

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Our most comprehensive plan, the Home Shield Complete affords you the same coverage as our Home Shield Plus with additional benefit of termite control featuring the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System.  As with the other plans, the Home Shield Complete offers year-round protection from pests, includes interior and exterior inspections and treatments, and treatments for outdoor pests like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.  It also stops termites from feeding on and destroying your home!

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Price is an estimate only and may change during inspection and pest pressures.

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Pests Covered: Nuisance ants, Carpenter ants, Centipedes, Cockroaches, Earwigs, Millipedes, Mice, Silverfish, Spiders, Fire Ants, Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, and Stinging Insects PLUS Termites.

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