Termites cause more than $5 billion in damage to U.S. homes each year, more than fire, storms and earthquakes combined.
There are three predominant species of termites in the San Francisco Bay area. Each is capable of destroying wood and causing extensive destruction to a building. And each can be eradicated by planet orange using modern Green methods.
Subterranean Termites are very destructive. They live in the soil, building tunnels to wooden structures where they burrow into the wood seeking food. Food for a termite is any wood or material containing cellulose. Given time, they'll eat until nothing is left but a shell. Subterranean termites are often first detected when they swarm, but a professional inspection can uncover their existence and their shelter tubes.
Drywood Termites live in wood and can be identified by the piles of fecal pellets that are pushed out of infested wood. Drywood termites live in the wood of a building and are often found in attics, door and window frames, and crawl spaces, where unprotected wood can be infested without the homeowner being aware of their presence.
Dampwood Termites are the largest of the area's termites. They infest wet wood—hence their name. A dampwood termite infestation is usually started because of a condition of the house where there is an excesive moisture problem and access for the termites to enter. It's not usually necessary to use chemical treatments or baiting to eradicate dampwood termites. Often, making sure the wood is well sealed and stopping further excessive moisture from entering the infested area will dry-up the wood and kill the termites. However, since dampwood termites only need wood that has a slightly higher moisture content than regular lumber, not necessarily very wet wood, only cutting off the moisture source may not be enough. Infested wood with extremely high moisture content will often not dry out fast enough to eliminate dampwood termites before they do significant damage. In these cases a treatment is recommended as well as eliminating the moisture source. Another solution would be to remove and replace the infested/damaged wood itself, although most of the time this is the most expensive and time consuming solution.
It's easy to confuse termites and ants, especially to the untrained eye, but there are distinctive features that distinguish them from each other. Ants have narrow waists, bent antennae, and two sets of wings, one set being longer than the other. Termites have thick waists, straight beaded antennae and two sets of wings that are the same size.
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