How to Identify a Termite
The first step to identifying a termite infestation is to understand whether you actually have termites. Due to their physical similarities to ants, this is not a simple matter of spotting a termite and then setting a few traps. The process is much more involved, and you must not only confirm the existence of colonies, but that you are dealing with termites and not ants.
Furthermore, it is important to identify the species of termite in order to properly treat an infestation. Finally, looking for structural signs will determine whether there are active colonies in your home.
Where do You Find Termites
Contrary to popular belief, most termites do not nest in wood. Termites eat cellulose, which means any plant-based object is a potential food source. Subterranean termites live underground, and you may find infestations in your garden, wood piles, or even compost heaps. There are approximately 50 species in the United States, 20 of which are considered structural pests. Most termite species are located in the southern states and along the Pacific rim, although they can be found in every state except Alaska.
How do You Get Termites?
Termite infestations may happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes a swarm of alates (winged reproductive termites) will land on your home during their mating flight. Drywood termite colonies may have existed in furniture or picture frames before you purchased them. Subterranean termites may have discovered wood in the exterior of your home or have wandered in through cracks as small as one thirty-second of an inch (the width of a business card) in your foundation. Any foliage within 28 inches of your home may be potential sources if they themselves are infested. Termites are also attracted to moisture and sources of cellulose, such as wood or other plant matter.