How To Get Rid Of Termites: A Comprehensive Guide For Honolulu Homeowners

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We go to the doctor when we are ill because we believe they know how to get us well. We trust medical professionals because we think they have high IQs and are highly-trained individuals. The same thinking is true for other professions. If our cars start malfunctioning, we take them to the mechanic. We trust auto repair people because they are mechanically minded, experienced, and have specialized training. 

When you suspect termites in your Honolulu house, who do you turn to for help? As is the case in other situations, we turn to professionals who have extensive training in termite control. If you want to remove termites from your home, Pest Tech Hawaii is the company you need because we offer termite control in Honolulu. Unlike pest control chains headquartered on the mainland, we are a locally owned business founded by nine Hawiians with over 130 years of combined experience in the pest control industry. 

We know the pests that invade our island paradise. Termites are one of the most destructive and costly pests to infest our homes. In this article, we teach you the signs of an infestation, the damage termites can cause, and what you can do to prevent future termite problems. So, please keep reading.

Termite Activity: How To Identify The Signs

Termites are insects that consume wood for the carbohydrates found in cellulose. Some termite species have a caste system. In those scenarios, sterile worker termites (the largest segment in the nest) leave the nest to consume nearby damp timber. Later, they return to the nest and regurgitate the materials to feed the queen, king, alates, and offspring. In termite species without a caste system, immature termites feed the queen, king, and offspring. We have both types of termites in Honolulu

The two termite species that cause problems for Honolulu homes are subterranean and drywood termites. In many cases, the indicators of a termite infestation are the same between the two groups, but there are a few unique signs. In the following list are manifestations that reveal termites are in your Honolulu home:

  • Mud tubes 

  • Discolored, crumbling, or hollow-sounding wood 

  • Blistering wallpaper or drywall

  • Pinholes in wood and drywall 

  • Sawdust-like material outside pinholes

  • Swarmers 

  • Discarded wings

  • Live termites

Some signs are unique to each species, while others are common between both, so let's examine each one. 

Subterranean termites live in the soil, hence their name. These termites create nests in the dirt near damp wood. Inside the ground, they construct tunnels and chambers where the king and queen, offspring, soldiers, and flying reproductive termites reside. Sterile worker termites travel from the nest to the nearby wood to forage and bring nutrients back to the nest. 

Because subterranean termites are easily dehydrated by heat and sunlight, they construct mud tubes between the nest and their food sources. These hollow passageways are often found on basement and crawl space walls when a subterranean termite infestation is inside a home.

Subterranean termites eat parallel to the wood grain, which causes the wood to sound hollow when tapped. Since these are high-moisture termites and feed on damp wood, they create discoloration in the timber where they eat. Excessive moisture combined with the feeding habits of subterranean termites results in wood that crumbles when prodded. 

When subterranean termites invade walls, they do not chew through to the exterior but leave a thin layer of drywall paper. As a result, the moisture from the termites and the wood causes drywall paper and wallpaper to blister. 

Drywood termites do not live in the soil but reside inside the wood. As their name suggests, they do not require additional moisture beyond what they find in the wood and the air. Tiny pinholes in wood are signs of drywood termites. When these termites tunnel through timber, they push their excrement outside the opening, leaving piles resembling sawdust. 

When a drywood or subterranean termite nest matures, the queen produces swarmers. These winged, reproductive termites leave the nest in the spring or early fall to begin satellite nests nearby. A swarm of flying ant-like insects around outdoor lights or windows at dawn or dusk is another sign of termites on your property. 

Once swarmers detect fungus-ridden wood or an area with high humidity on the property, they land, discard their wings, mate, and burrow into the soil (subterranean termites) or the wood (drywood termites). Discarded wings on window sills or near doors indicate termites are inside your Honolulu home.

Of course, the ultimate sign of termites is finding live termites. Drywood termites are 3/8 to 1-inch long and have creamy-white to light brown long, narrow bodies. Subterranean termites have 1/8-inch creamy-white to dark brown or black bodies of the same shape. Formosan termites are a subterranean termite subspecies in Hawaii. These termites have 1/2-inch creamy-white to brown bodies. 

The way to distinguish between flying termites and flying ants (carpenter ants) is by body shape and wings. Ants have a pinched waist, but termites have a long, narrow body. Although both insects have antennae, ants have clubbed or bent antennae, but the antennae of termites are straight. Termite and ant swarmers have wings, but the four wings on termites are of equal length, and the two hind wings on ants are shorter than their front wings. 

When you witness these early warning signs of termites, you need Pest Tech Hawaii before they cause significant damage to your home.

From Bad To Worse: How Termite Damage Can Escalate Quickly

Termites constantly chew through wood. A mature subterranean termite nest can have 60,000 to two million worker termites eating the wood in your home. In Hawaii, we have a subspecies of subterranean termites, Formosan termites. These "super termites" create massive colonies with 350,000 to millions of aggressive workers that use their razor-sharp mandibles to tunnel through the timber in your home. A mature colony of Formosan termites can consume one ounce of wood daily or one foot of a 2x4 every 25 days. Non-Formosan subterranean termites can also wreak havoc as they chew through about 2 1/3 feet of a 2x4 annually. 

These species send out swarmers in the spring to create satellite nests. Thus, what began with one nest inside your house will eventually result in multiple nests with thousands of workers eating timber throughout your Honolulu home. Because subterranean termites avoid sunlight and live in high-moisture areas, they reside primarily in crawl spaces and basements, where they feed on wood in support beams, floor joists, and subflooring. After a few years of subterranean termite infestation, many people experience sagging floor corners, warping window and door frames, and collapsing structures. Formosan termites are also known to chew through electrical wiring and cause power outages. 

Drywood termites do not have massive colonies but can still cause significant damage over time. Since these termites tend to infest attics, they weaken trusses, ceiling joists, and rafters, resulting in drooping ceilings. They also destroy wood furniture, picture frames, and interior stairway railings. 

The best termite company near you to protect your home against termite damage is Pest Tech Hawaii.

Professional Termite Extermination: Know When To Call In The Experts

Don't wait until you have a termite problem! Be proactive and have Pest Tech Hawaii inspect your home. Our trained technicians know the signs of each termite species; we can determine attractants, entry points, hot spots, and the termite species invading your home. 

Each termite species requires different eradication methods. To eliminate ground termites (subterranean and Formosan termites), we use an orange-based product to saturate infested wood inside the home. This non-toxic treatment sticks to the worker termites, who take it back to the nest, where it spreads among the members and destroys the colony. 

Drywood termite treatments involve spot treatment and situations where we tent the home and fill it with gas. When we inspect your home, we will determine the severity of the infestation and discuss your options. 

Whatever termite species infests your home, Pest Tech Hawaii is the termite specialist near you that can solve your problem.

Protecting Your Property: Effective Termite Prevention Methods

Unfortunately, termites are a part of life in Honolulu. Once we eliminate the termite infestation, you must guard against a future invasion. We recommend the following termite prevention tips: 

  • Remove dead trees, stumps, and scrap wood from the property

  • Seal foundation and roofline cracks

  • Repair leaking plumbing fixtures and pipes

  • Dehumidify the crawl space, attic, and basement

  • Repair holes in window and door screens

  • Relocate wood piles 20 feet from the house and elevate

  • Provide drainage away from the home 

  • Prune shrubs and tree branches away from the structure 

In summary, the best way to prevent future termite infestations is to keep the interior dry and humidity levels low and to eliminate any moisture-trapping items in the yard. 

Pest Tech Hawaii is the best Honolulu termite exterminator near you. 

Whether you have subterranean, Formosan, or drywood termites, we have the tools and experience to stop the infestation. Contact us today to learn more about our pest control treatment plans and request your free estimate.