The possibility of termite invasions fill homeowners with dread. Each year, termites cause more than a billion dollars of estimated damage in the United States, which is greater than fire, flood, and other natural disasters combined. However, many homeowners believe misconceptions about what termites are, how they work and how best to treat them. Read below to learn about a few common termite myths, as well as the facts that debunk them.

Myth: Termites are part of the ant family.

Fact: While termites and ants are sometimes mistaken for each other, they belong to entirely different insect groups. Ants belong to the Order Hymenoptera, and the Family Formicidae, while termites belong to several families within the Order Isoptera. The two have very different lifestyles as well.

Myth: Deforestation destroys termite colonies.

Fact: When termites are displaced from their home, they move on to other food sources. They will seek out healthier areas, which may mean nearby homes. For those moving into a new house where land was recently cleared, professionals recommend a termite inspection because the probability of termites. Once the initial inspection has been conducted, yearly follow-up inspections are advised.

Myth: Termite infestations are easy to detect.

Fact: Termites are silent pests, invading homes with very few warning signs. Often, by the time a termite is spotted, they have caused some damage to a home. They hide in small cracks and crevices, making them hard to detect to the average homeowner. It takes a licensed, trained professional to spot termite damage. Termites seldom break through the surface of wood but instead hollow it out from the inside, leaving most of the damage undetected. Because there are few visible warning signs, termite activity and the resulting damage can go undetected for years.

Myth: Termites serve no purpose, they simply exist to destroy.

Fact: While termites are known to destroy homes, they serve a great purpose in nature. Termites serve as a natural recycling system, helping to break down fallen trees and dead wood into nutrient-rich soil that helps other plants to grow. They only cause trouble when invading a residential area. Otherwise, they are an important part of our ecosystem.

Myth: Termites can eat through concrete.

Fact: Termites are strong creatures, but not strong enough to eat through concrete. However, concrete often is not a sufficient barrier to prevent termites from reaching the wooden parts of a house. All poured concrete foundations contain small cracks, which termites squeeze themselves through. Once they discover a food source, termites will build mud tunnels to protect worker termites as they travel back and forth from the food source to the colony. So, even if you have a concrete foundation, it’s important to get regular termite inspections to make sure no termites have made their way through.

Myth: If a house has been treated for termites once, you don’t have to worry about them ever again.

Fact: Termite inspections play a crucial role in keeping your house maintained. Once an initial inspection has been done, make sure to schedule regular inspections to catch any termite activity early to be able to provide treatment early. It is recommended that a termite inspection be performed once a year to be most effective.

Myth: My neighbor had a termite treatment, so their termites got pushed to my house.

Fact: Termite colonies are large. In fact, several houses in an area can share one termite colony. Treating one house for termites can make them more active in another, already infested home, but it will not drive them to another house. If a house has a chemical barrier in place, the termites will not cross it.

Myth: DIY termite treatments replace professional extermination

Fact: Simply put, do-it-yourself termite treatments will not produce the results you desire. While DIY methods seem like the most affordable and simple way to eradicate termites, it will ultimately lead to the problem growing. The chemicals that homeowners have access to aren’t strong enough to take out a termite colony. Even if a homeowner accesses the right chemicals, only a professional possesses the knowledge and expertise to effectively target infested areas. Attempting to treat termites yourself may put yourself and your family in danger.

You should protect your largest investment. If you suspect you have termites, feel free to contact us for a free inspection. Our trained technicians will evaluate your home for signs of termites and provide a treatment plan if necessary.