Subterranean termites are some of the most destructive insects in the world. The pests can hide for years around, below, and inside buildings without a trace. But sometimes, subterranean termites make their presence known to homeowners by leaving behind piles of fecal matter that look similar to coffee grounds. If you find piles of coffee grounds in your home, pay close attention. Here's how subterranean termites invade your home, why they leave behind piles of feces, and the steps you need to take to stop them.
What Are Subterranean Termites?
Many different types of subterranean termites live in the world, including the Formosan termite. Like other types of subterranean termites, the Formosan species typically lives below ground, or the soil, but can inhabit human structures at any given time. The pests build large underground caverns or tunnels that resemble human highways or streets. Once the pests find a structure to invade, they silently take over.
Formosan termites can ingest all types of wood, including dead or decaying wood. The pests use the wood to feed their young as well as nourish their queens. Worker termites construct brown, tan, or gray structures called mud tubes, or "shelter tubes."
Shelter tubes consists of feces, mud, and other types of organic matter. Termites can build shelter tubes almost anywhere around your home, including in the barks of your trees, inside the concrete flooring of your basement, and around the wooden frames of your windows.
One of the best ways to detect hidden termites is to look for piles of feces and termite wings. When subterranean termites invade a home, they consume the wood. Once the wood passes through the pests' digestive system, they release it in the form of pellets or coffee grounds. You might see piles of waste accompanied by discarded termite wings on the surfaces of your window sills, near your baseboards, and below your carpets and other flooring.
If you find multiple piles of feces in your home, contact a pest control service like Gainesville Pest Control LLC for immediate help.
How Do You Fight Subterranean Termites?
Subterranean termites like the Formosan species can destroy a structure from the inside out. The wood supporting the home can gradually become dry, weak, and unsound. Over time, your home can become unsafe to live in.
A pest control contractor will inspect every area of your home for signs of termites, including the areas with piles of feces. A contractor may also check around your basement or crawl space for outdoor shelter tubes. Subterranean termites usually construct their tubes along the soil or ground surrounding a structure.
Pest control will use different methods to destroy the termites in and around your home, including placing baits around the perimeter of your house. Baits contain chemicals (termiticides) that destroy the pests inside and outside your home. A contractor may inject a liquid termiticide inside the wood and cavities of your house as well.
After a contractor applies the treatments, they may place a chemical barrier in the soil on your property. The barrier keeps new termites from entering the structure in the future. Pest control may need to reapply the barrier throughout the year to ensure that it works efficiently.
Once a contractor completes the inspection and treatment, they may request that you have your home inspected for plumbing leaks and other signs of moisture. Termites need water to hydrate their young and queen. Termites also use water to create additional shelter tubes You should remedy any problems you find immediately to prevent issues later on.
If you're ready to fight the termites in your home and on your property, contact a pest control company for an inspection and treatment.