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Tip: Termite Control

Q: How do you tell the difference between a termite and an ant?

A: Winged termites are usually, but not always, smaller than ants. About 1/4″ in length, termites appear to have two body segments, straight antennae and two pairs of equally long wings. Ants have three body segments with a narrow waist, elbowed antennae and the front pair of wings is longer than the back pair.

Q: Aren’t new homes and houses with concrete slabs virtually termite-proof?

A: The experience of homeowners nationwide shows that no home, new or old, is safe from termites. By building mud tubes, termites can cross concrete, brick, cinder block, metal termite shields, pre-treated wood or any barrier other than a professionally applied termite treatment. Because termites need moisture and have a low tolerance to air and light, they live underground, attacking a home from below. A loose mortar joint, a minute space around a drain pipe or a settlement crack in the slab is all they need to gain entry.

Q: I haven’t seen swarming termites or traces of damage, can my home still be in danger?

A: Unfortunately, yes. When a colony swarms, the winged termites may be in the air for

just a few minutes and you may not see them. Termites also eat wood from the inside out, making their activity detectable only by professional termite inspection.

Q: How does a professional termite inspection uncover termite activity that’s invisible to me?

A: While much termite damage is hidden, termites have few secrets they can hide from the trained eyes of a professional. We know the conditions termites favor, and how to uncover termite activity that the untrained eye might pass over – with damaging results.

Q: When is the right time to call in a termite professional?

A: As soon as you suspect trouble because there is no advantage to waiting. Termite treatment is a fixed cost, but the longer you delay treatment, the more damage termites will do. Repairs will become more extensive and usually more expensive. The sooner you correct a termite problem, the better.

Kathy Maynard has been Assistant Director of the Sacramento Trades Guild since 1990. In addition to screening contractors and referring

them to consumers, she has worked with contractors to write public-service articles informing consumers about hiring and working with reputable

home-improvement contractors.

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