Termites

Most homeowners in Canada will never need to worry about termites.  Carpenter ants are more likely to be a problem other than in a very few Canadian locations.  Termites are Drawing to help identify termites.not usually a problem in the Greater Victoria region.   However, these wood destroying insects can cause serious damage to the structural components of a home, so it is important to be aware of measures to prevent infestation, recognize the signs of termite infestation, and know how to deal with the problem if it arises.

HOW CAN I PREVENT INFESTATION?
Some things that can be done during the construction phase to reduce the likelihood of termite infestation:

  • Remove any existing colonies from the property;
  • Remove any stumps, buried wood and construction waste from the
    building site;
  • Use termite resistant or pressure-treated wood where possible;
  • Do not store cardboard or scrap wood in crawl spaces.

In existing buildings, preventing termite damage involves denying their access to wood, moisture and shelter:

  • Do not pile wood near the home, but some distance away. This includes not only scrap wood but firewood as well;
  • Plant shrubs so they do not come in contact with the home;
  • Repair any cracks, holes or openings that could allow access to the house – termites can enter through an opening of only a little over 1 mm;
  • Repair any water leaks, remove stagnant water on the property and keep crawl spaces dry;
  • Remove tree branches that overhang the home, and remove shrubs that are closer than half a meter to the structure.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY HOME HAS TERMITES?
If you see an insect that you think might be a termite, take a close look at the body shape, the legs, the wings and the antennae.  There are distinctive characteristics which make it simple to distinguish between termites and carpenter ants:

  • Body Shape – broad waist and soft body (ants have a narrow waist);
  • Color – winged termites are black or dark brown.  Worker termites are usually white without wings;
  • Size – winged termites are up to 1 cm from head to tip of wing;
  • Legs – six short and stubby legs;
  • Wings – 4 wings all the same length;
  • Antennae – straight (ants have an elbow antenna).

Even if you are unable to examine the insect closely, you may be able to find evidence of termite infestation.  Look for:

  • a temporary swarm of winged insects on the property;
  • mud tubes about the diameter of a pencil on exterior walls or beams;
  • discarded wings;
  • termite droppings, which often look like sawdust
  • a hollow sound when wood is tapped

WHAT DO I DO IF I FIND TERMITES IN MY HOME?
Dealing with a termite infestation is not a do-it-yourself project for a homeowner.  A colony may contain over a million termites, and they can be very difficult to completely eradicate.  Contact a Pest Control firm to confirm and solve the problem.  Find a reputable firm using the Better Business Bureau or some similar organization, ask about experience and request references.

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The following sites provide useful information if you have a termite infestation:
US Environmental Protection Agency
BC Ministry of Agriculture

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