How Long Can Termites Go Undetected?

Subterranean termites are known as silent destroyers because they can remain hidden in homes and other structures for long periods of time. This makes it difficult for property owners to detect their presence and prevent termite damage. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind their elusive nature and provide steps that can be taken to prevent termite damage to your Arizona property.

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How do termites avoid detection

How termites avoid detection really depends on what caste they belong to. You see, there are three kinds of termites in every termite colony: workers, soldiers, or swarmers. Below is a summary of each and how they can avoid detection.

Worker Termites
Worker termites predominantly operate underground where the conditions are moist and ideal or within the wooden structures they infest. When they leave their underground colonies to find a food source, they travel through mud tubes. This allows them to avoid detection and prevents them from being exposed to air that could dry them out. It’s not likely that you will see worker termites crawling around in your home or on your property, but that does not mean they aren’t present. Moreover, termites eat wood from the inside out, so what could look like a sound wall or a solid piece of timber, could in fact be carved out by these wood-destroying insects.

Soldier Termites
Soldier termites are the defenders of termite colonies. It is their job to protect members of the colony against potential threats. Although they are blind, soldier termites can be quite aggressive, using their large, powerful jaws to fight off predators. Although a small number of soldiers may accompany worker termites while they forage, the majority never leave the nest, meaning you probably won’t observe them inside.

The reproductive members of a termite colony, swarmers aren’t nearly as sneaky as workers. In fact, property owners may observe them outdoors flying around or even exiting cracks and crevices in walls and foundations to reach open air. That’s because it is their job to find mates and establish new termite colonies. What can make them tricky to detect is that they don’t swarm all the time or even for very long.  

How long does it take to notice termite damage?

It can be quite challenging for property owners in Arizona to detect subterranean termite damage, as it may take several months or even years. These destructive pests tend to feed on wood and other materials made from cellulose in a certain way that damage isn't immediately visible.

How to spot evidence of termite activity

Since termite infestations and termite damage aren’t readily apparent, it’s important to check your property for signs of these pests each spring and keep watch throughout the year. When it comes to termite activity, you’ll want to look for:

  • Termite mud tubes (inside and out)
  • Reproductives swarming
  • Discarded termite wings by doors and windowsills
  • Buckling wood
  • Swollen floors & ceilings
  • Damage that looks like it was caused by water
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped
  • Visible mazes in wood

If you notice signs of termites or uncover termite damage in your structure, contact a pest control company that specializes in termite control. It is important to stop these insects before they gain ground.

It's Termite Awareness Week

Professionals all over the country are aware of the damage that termites can cause to properties without revealing themselves. That's why the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) established Termite Awareness Week, which takes place annually and is happening this week. Since Northwest Exterminating receives more calls about termites than any other insect, we understand the importance of property owners understanding the risks associated with termites. To learn more about termites and how you can protect your Arizona home from them, please check out our blog.

Why ongoing termite control is the best solution

Since termites in Phoenix, Tucson, and throughout Southern Arizona work 24/7/365, it is important for property owners to have a termite control plan in place. Here at Northwest Exterminating, we specialize in termite baiting and liquid termite treatments and take pride in using the best termite control products available.

When you contact us for help protecting your home or business from termites, we’ll start by performing a thorough termite inspection. Our state certified termite inspectors will look for termites, damaged wood, mud tubes, and other signs of termites as well as identify conducive conditions. Based on our findings, we’ll recommend a termite treatment plan that will meet your existing needs AND prevent termites from establishing on your property down the road.

To get started, simply give us a call or fill out the form below!

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