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Termites are vicious. It’s the pest that silently invades your home and eats off its wooden foundation. It can cause additional expenses like reconstructing damaged kitchen cabinets or reconnecting beams, or even rebuilding wardrobes.
Preventing termites is no easy work. But knowing where they come from and what type of environment do they live in will make it easier for you to think of ways to protect your home. There are two major factors that increases the possibility of having in-house termites: high levels of moisture and the availability of wood. You can examine some parts of your home like the cabinets, bathroom doors, and bedroom dressers for early signs of infestations.
There are three major groups of termites. But, generally, they are classified as subterranean (ground) or drywood. Let’s take a closer look at each termite classification and how they invade your home.
Subterranean termites are the most common type of termite species in Singapore. These are known to damage a lot of buildings and houses in the country. These species live underground where it is very moist and damp.
They require a lot of moisture to live, that’s why they create their colony underground. It is also essential that they keep their king and queen’s chamber moist and at a suitable temperature so she can lay more eggs to grow the colony. The preferred temperature of the colony ranges from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius.
As the colony grows in number, worker termites begin to expand their underground colony, often setting up separate nesting sites as their foraging area expands to gather more food for their growing colony. This is when termites start spreading above ground and into the households. (Pssst! Termites move horizontally as well, which means spreading to the home next door!)
These termites don’t forage in the open as they travel above ground. Instead, they build mud tunnels using dirt, saliva, and sometimes their feces – to lock the moisture in the tunnel so they can survive.
They are, most of the time, attracted to the high moisture in the basement area or the damp foundation of your home to search for new foraging areas. Reducing moisture in your home can repel exploring termites. To control the moisture in your own home, you have to make sure that there are no water leaks in any of the pipes, you have proper ventilation on humid areas at home such as the bathroom or kitchen, you avoid leaving wet areas to dry on its own, and you clean and dry the carpet right away in case you happen to spill a liquid onto it. But to lessen the challenge of protecting your home, you can consider building a proper protective barrier such as Rentokil’s 7 Years Termite Warranty Solution. That’s step one on how to avoid uninvited pests from coming into your home.
Drywood termites don’t require as much moisture as subterranean termites. They can live perfectly fine in hollow wood or structural timber like the ones used for home construction. These types of pests live and grow their colony inside wooden structures and rarely move out in search of food. The wooden structure they live in serves as their shelter and source of food. The growth and population of the colony depends on the size of the wooden structure they live in.
The difference between drywood and subterranean is that drywood termites are capable of producing the amount of moisture they need by metabolizing the wood they eat. They also enjoy damp wood caused by a leaking pipe or rainfall and gravitate towards these areas. High levels of humidity and moisture can grow a drywood termite colony extremely fast, causing the colony to mature much faster and do a large amount of damage to your home. Once a colony has reached its maturity, winged swarmer termites will begin to look for new places to grow their own termite colony. They pair up and look for wood with high amounts of moisture such as untreated or engineered wood with imperfections that could be used as a breeding space.
One way to detect drywood termites in your home is by looking for termite droppings, or frass, on the floor. They make small holes where they can kick out their droppings to keep the tunnels clean and accessible. These droppings are like small pellets and would often have different colors depending on the type of wood the termites eat. These large mounds of frass are clear signs of drywood termites that can be found on most visible places at your house such as your door frames, kitchen cabinets, vanity sets, washroom cabinets, and even your wardrobe.
In early stages, though, termite infestation is hard to detect. It may still not be visible to the eye. It’s better to get your house checked before it spreads widely. Termatrac/ Thermal Imaging can help you accurately detect termite activities even at the early stages.
Early detection of these silent destroyers will save your home from major repairs of loose bathroom tiles, discolored or sagging ceiling, damaged or hollow-sounding baseboards or wall, drywall or wallpaper holes, and jammed doors or windows. But even if you know how to detect and find termites, calling a pest control specialist to help eradicate the infestation is still the best option.