Termite FAQ – Common questions our customers ask us about termites, termite inspections and termite treatment.
If you suspect a termite infestation in your home please call us at 416-840-4040 or at 1-877-504-BUGS
1. What is the difference between carpenter ants and termites?
This is one of our most common questions about termites! There are several differences between termites and carpenter ants. Firstly the shape of the body: a carpenter ant is shaped like an hourglass with the thorax in front and a narrowing between the abdomen in the rear. A termite, in comparison, lacks the narrow points between the front and back, it is more shaped like a tube. The second difference is in the wing size. Both of these insects have “swarming” forms, these are actually the reproductive males and females of the species. In termites the wings are about the same size back and front while in carpenter ants the front wings are larger. Carpenter ant wings also have a dark spot on the top edge of the front wings that is missing in termites. Thirdly, the antennae on a termite are straight while carpenter ants have bent or curved antennae. Finally, termites actually consume the wood while ants “borough” in it. That means that carpenter ants and other wood boring pests often leave behind saw dust as they dig through the wood. Termites do not as they are eating it as they go!
2. What do termites look like?
In Toronto, the type of termites that infest homes are subterranean termites. This type of termite are all a creamy white colour and slightly translucent. They are about size, shape and colour of a grain of rice. Reproductive termites, sometimes called “swarmers” have wings and are sometimes called “flying termites” or “flying ants”.
3. How long does an inspection take?
It depends on the location, conditions of the location and areas to be inspected but on average an inspection can take anywhere between 20 and 45 minutes.
4. Could there be hidden termite damage?
Yes! A common characteristic of termites and their colony is to avoid bright lights and open air. This means they will stay underground or within wooden products. An inspector will be looking for active signs of termites such as mud tunnels, the damage is not always visually visible.
5. What can I do to prevent termite infestation?
Prevention of termite infestations is easiest during new constructions. A professional pest control technician will spray a liquid termiticide over the foundation prior to the concrete being poured. Other methods of termite prevention available to homeowners is to make the home less habitable by termites. This means removing debris from areas such as the crawl space (they love foam boards and Styrofoam), minimizing wood to earth contact and maximizing ventilation in areas such as basements and crawlspaces.
6.Can termites live in colder climates?
Yes! Termites are found across North America even in Alaska and the North West Territories. Sometimes cold weather can slow down their cycles or cause them to go into hibernation but it does not kill them off. More than 1 in 15 houses in Toronto may have an active termite infestation at any give time. The only important thing to remember is that termite treatment in Toronto must be done in the warmer weather. This is because it requires treating the ground around the home.
Getting rid of termites requires a specific treatment method from a pest control professional. An important first step if you suspect a termite infestation is to have a termite inspection carried out by a professional pest control company. They know the signs of infestations and common locations of termites. If termites are found to be active in your home then treatment will be recommended.
In Toronto, the termites that infest our homes are a species called subterranean termites. As the name suggests they like to live underground. This means that we must treat the ground that they have infested and provide an insecticidal barrier between your home and the termites. By placing termiticide in the soil on both sides of the foundational elements of a home it prevents termites from entering and destroying the structure. Usually this is achieved by trenching the soil and injecting termiticide at certain intervals. This also usually involves treating the foundational walls of the home, injecting termiticide a certain intervals.
A termite treatment is a complicated job that must be done by a professional. Please call one of our specialists today for more information on termite treatments available or to schedule a termite inspection at 416-840-4040 or 1-877-504-BUGS.
Termites are detrivores, which means they feed on dead trees and plants, as well as the dead parts on a living tree or plants like wood. Since a human home in constructed with a considerable amount of wood and contain a lot more wood based products they can be a huge problem for people. Furniture, shelving, cupboards, books and house foundations are all possible foods for termites. Subterranean termites have homes which are usually formed in the soil. Within their homes they build elaborate tunnel systems building themselves easy access to their above ground food sources. Dry wood termites instead of living in mounds live within wood itself. They commonly infest walls and furniture within people’s homes.
The beginning of a termite’s life begins with the egg. They are small ovoid shapes that are translucent in colour and cluster together. Since termites hide their eggs from predators deeps within their tunnels and homes this stage is rarely seen by homeowners. After a few weeks when the termite eggs hatch they become larvae. While they are still the same size of the eggs they hatched from they are now a pale white colour. They are immediately tended to by worker termites, which feed them as they cannot yet go and collect from food sources themselves yet. At this stage the larvae are not directly causing the damage seen in homes, but they are the motivation for it as they need to be fed. To become and adult termite the larvae needs to typically molt at least 5 times. After they mature the termites are delegated into their caste classes and are off to perform their duty to the colony. The different colony castes are the workers, the soldiers, and the reproductive termite. Worker and soldier termites can live approximately 2 years while the queen under optimal circumstance can survive up to 50 years while being able to reproduce and lay eggs the whole time.
So how did termites get into your home? Well they could have gotten there many ways; an infested piece of furniture or wood, or even an infested piece of lumber during the homes construction or renovations. Another and the most common way is during mating season reproductive termites swarm and migrate (fly) to copulate. During such migration they could have just happen upon your home and decided to settle and build their colony. As soon as you suspect termites it is best to act as termites if left unattended can cause considerable damage to your home.
Termites have been very prominent in Toronto specifically in the East York area. We have treated many streets (and many houses on those streets) in the East York region for termites. Termites have also spiked in other areas such as Mississauga, Markham and Scarborough. East York and Scarborough are two of our densest areas for termites in Toronto. More then 70 % of our termite calls come in from these areas. We have a dedicated termite specialist for these cases.
The new development of Mississauga and its continued growth has caused the termites of the area to disperse and relocate in nearby establish residential areas. We have inspectors and technicians available to service you.
We offer suspected termite infestation inspections and real estate termite inspections. We also offer complete termite services for termite infestations, preventative treatments and termite pretreatment services.
Keep your home and property termite free.
- Have a professional inspection done every year
- Keep termite habitats away from the immediate area around the building
- Clear or relocate buried wood such as tree stumps, firewood, scrap wood, cardboard boxes and plants
- Be vigilant for foundation settling or shifting that could open new paths for termite access
- Quickly fix any roof or plumbing leaks so that moisture does not enter the building envelope
- Keep roof gutters in good repair and ensure they direct water away from the building
- Maintain the integrity of physical barriers such as sand or mesh – do not lay soil or mulch over the barrier, or let roots grow through it.
- Repair poorly ventilated bathrooms, leaking pipes, clothes dryers and air-conditioner condensation leaks that result in termite-attracting moisture accumulation
- Do not store wood, cardboard boxes or other cellulose-based material in crawl spaces
Termites can be one of the toughest insects to control and they can also be one of the most serious pests because they cause damage to the wood structure of your home. The most conventional treatment of subterranean termites is placing a chemical barrier between the ground (where termites live), and your home (where termites eat). Since termites can enter a structure in a space that is roughly the thickness of a piece of paper, it is critical that a complete barrier is achieved. This treatment is much more specialized than pest control treatment for other common insects. We are termite specialists with 35 years experience treating the GTA and surrounding regions. Termite treatment requires the expertise of a professional knowledgeable about termite biology and habits and the latest in termite treatment methods. Termites Toronto is Ontario’s leading Termite-control company, and a leader in the development of fast, effective and environmentally responsible pest control products and application techniques. We offer guaranteed, and prompt service. Call us today for a free inspection and quote –416-840-4040 or 1-877-504-BUGS