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Big Blue Bug Solutions has been protecting homes from termites for over 80 years. We are so committed to learning about termite control that we've made termites part of our identity. Perhaps you've seen our 58-foot termite mascot perched atop our Providence headquarters. If you want to know how to protect your home from termites, you've come to the right place! Along with providing the highest level of termite pest control in Rhode Island, we share tips and advice through radio, television, and the internet. Today, we'll look at how termites elude detection, why DIY termite control falls short, simple steps to avoid termite damage, and how termite prevention in Rhode Island works. If you'd rather talk directly with a certified termite control professional, navigate to our contact page and reach out to us. Our friendly and knowledgeable technicians are happy to help.     

You're Likely To Never See A Termite

The termites in Rhode Island are subterranean. They have to be to survive the cold winters. It isn't easy to catch a glimpse of these pests, and when you do happen to see them, you may not realize it. Termite identification isn't as easy as you might think. Here are a few facts to consider as you work to deal with a termite problem, or to prevent one.

  • A termite worker is about ⅛ of an inch long. Take a moment to consider how small that is. While you've likely seen pictures of termites, you may not recognize one in real life because they're just specks. Often, people mistake termite workers for white ants or maggots.
  • Termite workers live their entire lives in utter darkness. They don't like light. They don't even come out of hiding when there is moonlight. Not only does this make it difficult to ever see a termite worker, but the damage they cause is difficult to see.
  • In studies, termite workers have demonstrated an incredible talent for staying hidden as they fully and completely destroy structures. If you're curious, we highly recommend checking out Tiny Termite House at the Termite Resource Portal.
  • Termite swarmers are far easier to see than workers. They are attracted to light, don't mind being out in the light, and have a strong black and white coloration. Unfortunately, they're only ⅜ of an inch long. If you see one by itself on your walkway, you may think it is one of the thousands of other flying insects in Rhode Island. And while a group of swarmers together is easy to see, swarmers don't swarm for long. They mate in under an hour and disappear into the ground to create nests.

The first step in termite damage prevention is situational awareness. When a tiny insect lands on your arm, check to see if it is a termite swarmer. When you pick dead branches up in your yard and find tiny bugs that look like maggots or white ants, check closely to see if they're worker termites. You may catch a termite randomly at any time.         

Why You Can't Get Rid Of Termites On Your Own

When you discover active termites in your yard, you will want to eliminate those destructive insects. Before you take this step, you should know that termite control isn't easy. It is also not easy to tell when termite control fails because termites are so sneaky. While it is possible to see a termite swarm in your house, (which is certainly hard to miss), termites rarely appear inside. It is also bad news if you see swarmers inside. It means you've had a severe infestation for years. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding whether or not to do your own termite control.

  • There are many home remedies that promise to guard homes against termite damage. We're not going to get into them. We'll just quickly say that these are not backed by science and can not only fail but may also worsen your problem.
  • Modern, professional termite control products promise a transfer effect. As termites groom each other, the product transfers. You may think that putting a liquid termiticide in the ground is all you need to do. You may think the worker termites will pass through the product and share it with the others and you'll have no more termite problems. We wish it were that simple. Unfortunately, there are many factors that can prevent your termite product from having success, such as weather conditions, not applying it deep enough, not applying enough, applying too much, etc.
  • There is a new trend in termite control. It is the application of termite bait stations. While bait can successfully protect properties from termites, not all bait is created equal. The best bait solutions are only available to licensed pest management professionals.

If you attempt to protect your property with termite control products, stay vigilant to check for termite activity. Subterranean termites are incredibly adept at avoiding elimination.       

Simple Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Home From Termites

The first layer of protection you can apply is to alter conditions in your yard that may lead you to have a termite infestation. Termite prevention is all about making your yard unappealing to termites. Don't worry, it will still be appealing to you. You're not going to have to ruin your curb appeal. The magic happens near and under the ground.

  • Do you have a wooden fence? The older your fence gets, the more appetizing it becomes to termites. Consider replacing your fence with fencing that is resistant to termites, such as vinyl. It might sound strange, but modern vinyl fencing can look just like an old wood fence. You don't have to compromise the natural beauty of your property. 
  • Do you have a back deck with wood posts that go into the ground? Those posts can provide a meal for termites and also allow worker termites to directly access the wood inside your home. We recommend putting deck posts on concrete supports.
  • Do you have a wood skirt around your home and a crawlspace underneath? Wood-to-soil contact and a protected space, where light can't get in, are both strong attractants for termites and will inspire termite activity. Consider replacing your skirting with vinyl and getting your crawlspace encapsulated.
  • Do you have firewood, scrap wood, or a brush pile? Store wood on a rubber mat so you're more able to see termite workers as they attempt to access the wood. When you pick up dead branches in your yard, put them in a container. These simple steps can make a big difference.
  • Do you have a dying tree, stump, or log? It is a good idea to remove stumps and nurse unhealthy trees back to life.
  • Do you have a clogged gutter or damp landscape vegetation? Damp conditions attract worker termites to your yard. Properly managed landscaping and a clear gutter system are essential.

It is hard work to prevent termites, but it is well worth your effort. Few things are as disheartening as finding termite damage when you're looking to retire and enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

Simple Tips To Prevent Future Termite Infestations In Your Home

Once you've done what you can to deter termites from coming into your yard, there is one more thing you can do to protect your home from termite damage. Routine inspections help you catch termite activity early. Since termites don't damage a home in weeks or months, early detection can prevent extensive damage. It isn't easy to detect subterranean termites, as we pointed out above, but there are a few signs they may provide for you to see.

Look For Shelter Tubes: Subterranean termites create mud structures on foundations and walls. These structures look like thin wiggly mud lines. In areas with several tubes stacked on top of each other, they may look like a column. Technicians have found columns as much as four feet wide. Most of the time, shelter tubes are a thin wiggly line that climbs up an exterior surface and splits as it goes.

Watch For Swarmers: Black insects with white wings are easy to detect. All you need to do is know what they look like and stay vigilant.

Check For Wings: When termite swarmers shed their wings, you may find the wings on your walkway, back deck, or in spider webs. Termite swarmers have white wings that look like a stretched out teardrop shape.

Watch For Workers: We pointed it out already, but it bears mentioning again. Check dead branches as you pick them up. You may notice termite workers crawling around on the bottom of those branches. 

When you see termites, contact Big Blue Bug Solutions for a termite inspection and professional treatment. We can make sure those pests don't make a snack of your equity. We also provide proactive termite control so you don't have to think about termites. Connect with us and find out how it works. Life has enough surprises, you don't have to let termite damage be one of them.  

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At Big Blue Bug Solutions, we can't promise you Shakespeare, but we can solve your pest problems.

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