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Everything You Need To Know About Our Worst Enemy: Termites


Everyone knows what the horrific combination of termites and wood floors can bring. They devour their way through wood from the inside, leaving you totally clueless until its too late –damaged property. If you're reading this article with a little of nerves because your whole house is covered with wood, don't be. Let the experts of wood tell you how you can deal with these little pests.


1. Types of termites

2. Learn how to identify them

3. What to do once identified

4. Prevention


1. Types of termites


There are over 2000 species of termites in the world. However, only a handful does damage to properties. Termites in Singapore are categorised into 3 groups. They are drywood termites, subterranean termites and dampwood termites. The most common type that does damage to properties is a species of the subterranean group – Coptotermes sp.


Drywood Termites



The drywood termite colony is normally found in drywood, often in the structural timber of buildings. Drywood termites are also less dependent on need for moisture and need no access to the soil.


Subterranean Termites


Subterranean termites build their nest in the soil and are very dependent on soil for moisture. They construct mud tubes to avoid getting dried up (desiccation) when looking for food in open air. The Coptotermes sp. subterranean termite species is considered to be very destructive and the most common cause of damages in houses.


Dampwood Termites


The dampwood termites are very dependent on moisture and feed on decayed wood such as old tree stumps, rotting logs and pieces of buried timbers. They rarely end up inside a property but they may well be eating the utility pole right next to your home.


2. Learn how to identify them

Termites live in very secluded environment while thriving in the darkness and humidity. This makes it difficult for us to detect the infestation – until it's too late. However, here are some signs to look out for that indicate their presence.


1. Mud tubes on wall

Source: masseyservices.com


Subterranean termites build mud tubes (sometimes known as shelter or foraging tubes) to travel to and fro their food source and colony. These tubes that are made of soil, debris and dirt help to protect the colony against predators and conserve moisture. You will find them at the foundations of your home or in its substructure.


2. Discarded termites' wings

Source: exterminator.co


Termite swarmers don’t keep their wings for long. Once they shed their wings, they are in search of places to build new nests. If you notice small piles of discarded swarmers’ wings on places like window sills, or caught in spider webs, there may be a termite colony nearby; or one about to begin.


3. Termite galleries in wood

Source: uky.edu


As subterranean termites eat through the wood of your house, they create ‘termite galleries’. These are the empty spaces left in the wood as they burrow through it. Typically, termite galleries run parallel to the grain of the wood.


4. Termite droppings

Source: wikimedia.org


Drywood termites leave behind their fecal droppings as they munch through the wood. Their droppings, known as frass, are pellet-shaped, and look like heavy grains of sand or sawdust. If you find mounds of termite droppings in and around your home, you likely have a drywood termite infestation.


5. Swollen floors


Termites like dark and moist areas. They live just below the surface of the wood and bring in moisture into their termite galleries. This moisture can often cause the wood to swell. If you have termites in your wooden floors, the floors will likely start to swell. As these signs are similar to the signs of general water leaks (since they’re both caused by moisture), make sure to rule out any water leaks first. If you’ve determined that water leaks are not the cause, you can inspect further by seeing if the wood has become hollow by knocking on it.


3. What to do once identified


Once you have confirmed that there is a termite infestation in your wood floors, the first thing you have to do is call the pest control. They will effectively remove all the termites. Next comes the repairing the damage done. In some rare cases, when the damage is not severe, home owners tend to leave it as it is.


However, having to replace damaged wood will most likely be the situation. When it comes to restoring termite-damaged wood, we have to first identify the hollow area. Then we will remove the affected wooden planks and fill the base with plywood. After which, we install the new timber hardwood planks on top.


4. Prevention


Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of getting a termite infestation in the first place, or a termite re-infestation.


1. Professional Prevention Plan

Most professional pest control companies will provide some sort of prevention plan, either as a post-treatment option or as a standalone preventive.


2. Reduce Moisture Levels

Termites need water to survive too. Leaky faucets, roofs, gutters etc. should all be repaired. Better home ventilation also means lower moisture levels; you can also install dehumidifiers. Prevent water seepage by making sure there is proper drainage around your home and that rainwater is being properly diverted away from your house.


3. Seal off Access Points

Seal all cracks and holes in your home’s foundation.


Termites can be a real headache but with proper care, it is definitely preventable. Do not let termites be the deciding factor when it comes to wood flooring. Click here to find out why wood is the most ideal flooring to go with.

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