Guide to Termites and Termite Control in Memphis

Carpenter pointing out termite damage in wood plank

As a homeowner there are few things as intimidating or as destructive as having termites in your home.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of these insects affecting your property, it’s important to be aware of the signs so you know what to look for before it’s too late.

Read on for some important information about these nasty pests so you’ll know when it’s time to start practicing some serious termite control. 

Signs of Termites

Most people think of rotting wood when termites come to mind. However, there are several other signs that could be an indication these swarming pests have chosen to take up residence in your home.

First, look at your hardwood flooring carefully and be aware of any signs of blistering. Certain species of termites, namely subterranean termites, can cause serious damage to your subfloor. If the subfloor gets chewed up, you’ll start to see small blisters in the hardwood that looks similar to water damage or bubbling.

Another common sign of termites is hollowed or damaged wood behind and below your walls or floors. As termites chew through wood looking for cellulose, they leave long hollow tubes behind.

Eventually, these hollow tubes will cause the wood to weaken and can even become a threat to the home’s structural damage. Knock on wooden doors, floors, and trim and listen for an empty or hollow noise. Visually, the wood will look similar to a honeycomb, which means the termites have already done their damage.

If you think that you have swarms of termites nearby, you’ll notice small piles of discarded wings near doors and windows. When termites swarm out of their nests to start a new colony, they twist their wings off. Some flying ants also do this, so look for wings that are of the same size, which would indicate a termite swarm.

Mud Tubes and Dry Wood Mounds

Some species of termites make mud tubes that are approximately the size of a pencil. If you notice these tubs near a tree, shed, or another food source, it means that subterranean termites are likely underground. These insects like humidity and warm temperatures, so they build small tunnels to block the cool, dry air out.

Some termites nest inside of wood and kick their excrement out of the small holes they create. Since termites eat wood, you may notice small piles of dust around framing and molding. Tiny mounds of sawdust could be an indication that drywood termites are present. 

Types of Termites in Memphis

While termites can be found all over the globe, these pesky, destructive pests tend to thrive in the warm, humid climate of the Southern United States. Everywhere from Virginia to Tennessee can be a breeding and feeding ground for termites.

If you’re concerned about termites in your Memphis home, it’s important to know more about which types choose to make this place their home. Swarming termites tend to be the most common type of termite that you’ll find in the Memphis area.

So, why do these pests want to live in Memphis? It’s mostly because this region experiences high levels of humidity and warm temperatures for longer durations of the year.

If you live in the Memphis area, be aware that these pests tend to emerge in the spring from around March to May, but there have been instances where they’ve been spotted as early as February. Some homeowners have even dealt with termites as late as June.

At the peak of the swarm season, termites will be more visible and will flock together in larger populations. Other types of termites in Memphis include the subterranean kind. These bugs love cool, dark places and will flock to stacks of firewood, mulch, or wooden structures like a deck.

Subterranean termites are the most destructive type of wood-eating insect that you’ll find in Memphis. Without the proper termite control in Memphis TN, you could end up with some serious structural damage. 

Termite Swarms: What You Need to Know

Since swarming termites are one of the most common types found in the Memphis area, it’s crucial to know more about these invasive pests. If you see these insects swarming nearby, it’s a good indication that there’s a colony already living and feeding somewhere in your structure.

Most of the time, termites feed and build their homes out of the view of humans. If you don’t see a swarm near your property, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t lurking underneath the surface. However, visible swarms can be a great way to know for sure.

These insects swarm because they are part of a large colony that works together to feed on large structures. Some termites leave the colony to reproduce in order to keep the species going. The good news is that these insects won’t bite or sting you, however, they will do serious damage to your home.

If you notice the mud tunnels or tubes mentioned above, this is a serious indicator that there’s a swarm ready to launch. The termites will wait inside these tubes for the right conditions, then take off from the tunnels as they swarm into the air.

Once termites start to fly, it typically only lasts a few seconds since they’re not particularly known for being strong fliers. Instead, the termites will literally land, twist their wings off of their bodies, and start looking for a mate when they reach their destination. 

Termite swarms are similar to bees in that they have a queen that “leads” their newly developed colony. If you see a termite swarm inside your home, the insects may not survive since they won’t have quick access to soil. Many termites die within a few hours due to dehydration if they can’t get to their colony or access some moist dirt.

More Termite Facts

Here are some more facts about termites that live in the Memphis area:

  • Swarms may consist of just a few insects or they can be as large as thousands, depending on the species.
  • Dense swarms and large colonies can actually consist of millions of termites.
  • If a swarm gets too large, the colony will break up into multiple separate colonies.
  • Subterranean termites swarm during the daytime, and they’re most prevalent in spring.
  • Drywood termites swarm in late summer to early fall and are much less common in Memphis.
  • All termites need very specific conditions in order to thrive. You may see them swarm after a rainstorm or when it’s overcast outside if winds are less than 6 miles per hour.

Termites and Damage

While the termites in Memphis tend to peak during specific times of the year, the damage can be long-lasting and continue throughout the year. Some members of a termite colony may hide and eat wood all year long, even if you can’t see them.

Anything that contains cellulose provides termites with the fuel they need to keep going. This food source is given to the insect’s nestmates to provide nourishment that keeps the colony alive.

Over time, this constant chewing and feeding will create serious damage to the wooden components of a home or business. If the issue isn’t addressed quickly, it can cost thousands of dollars to mitigate and repair.

If you have termites in your business, the costs can be even higher. Your entire business operation may be interrupted while you wait for treatment to take effect. The presence of termites can also affect your reputation as a business, even though it’s not your fault they’ve chosen to invade your building.

It’s important to know the difference between water damage and termite damage. Swollen floors and ceilings and buckling wood are indicators that termites have already wreaked havoc on your home. Another common form of damage is when wood floors and baseboards start to crumble under the slightest bit of pressure.

Doors and windows may seem difficult to close or they could feel drafty. This can indicate that the termites have chewed up the wood framing around these openings which causes them to become compromised. 

Termites will even eat through material like wallpaper and drywall. Look for tiny holes, bubbling or peeling paint, and signs of faint lines on your drywall. These signs could indicate the presence of termites lurking inside your home. 

Mild damage to walls or trim is fairly easy to repair. However, if the colony has thrived so long that there is structural damage present, the costs can skyrocket. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you know that the average termite control cost is much less than the cost to fix the problem after it’s too late. 

Termite Control Tips

If you know that there are termites in or around your home, it’s crucial to find reliable termite control companies near me as soon as possible. However, there are some things you can do to prevent or at least mitigate the issue of having a termite infestation in your home.

First, move any stacks of firewood as far away from your home as possible. Firewood should be stored at least 20 feet or more away from your home, shed, or garage. Get rid of dead limbs and trimmed tree branches, since termites love to feast on dead wood.

Any spare cardboard boxes or small woodpiles should be removed from around the perimeter of your home. Since termites love moisture and humidity, you should also remove standing water from your porch, deck, or roof. A dry, wood-free exterior is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep termites at bay.

While termites love wood, they’ve also been known to chew on swimming pool liners, foam insulation, and even your pool’s filtration system. That’s why it’s crucial to enlist the help of a professional termite control company to ensure that you’re protecting your investment. 

Keep Moisture to a Minimum

Seal gaps around your gas line and water pipes to block termites from getting inside your home. You should also seal the small holes around water lines under sinks and behind toilets to cut off the insects’ point of entry.

If your home has wooden siding, make sure it’s six inches above the ground or higher if possible. Seek out cellulose-free mulch alternatives for gardens and landscaping. Divert water away from your home using your gutters and downspouts.

Check your basement for any signs of standing water and fix leaky plumbing and gutters. The drier you keep your home, the less appealing it will be to these pesky, invasive pests. 

Avoid overwatering your plants and lawn, and keep mulch to a minimum, especially when it’s close to your home. A good termite control strategy combined with our professional service can help to keep your home safe and termite-free.

Keep checking the perimeter, walls, floors, and windows of your home and monitor them for signs of damage. The sooner you recognize that termites are present, the easier it will be to get rid of them.

Enjoy a Pest-Free Home

Although termites pose a serious threat to homes and property, you can keep them at bay with the right termite control methods. Start by protecting your home from moisture, and keep all wood or cellulose-containing items far away from your house.

Learn about the common species of termites that live in Memphis, TN, so you know what type of behavior to look for. Once you understand how termites thrive, it will be easier to stay proactive so you have peace of mind.

If you need termite control in Memphis TN or the surrounding areas, be sure to contact us today for more information and to find out how we can help.

Termite Damage: This Is What They Can Do to a House

Termites in the walls of a Memphis Tennessee home

Americans spend more than $2 billion each year fighting termite infestations. They spend billions more repairing the damage termites have done to their homes and properties. 

But just how much damage can termites do? Do all termites cause the same types and degrees of damage? What can you do if you suspect you may have a termite problem?

Keep reading now to learn what termite damage looks like, how dangerous it is, and what you can do to protect your home today. 

Types of Termites

The first important thing to know about termites is that there is more than one kind. The three primary types of termites are:

  • Drywood
  • Dampwood
  • Subterranean 

Drywood termites are small and appear primarily in coastal regions. They like dry, intact wood like that found in house walls or furniture. Colonies tend to be small and they eat through wood slowly. 

Dampwood termites prefer damp, outdoor wood. They may infest sickly trees or wood piles rather than homes. They also tend to eat through wood slowly. 

Subterranean termites are the most damaging to homes. They are larger in size than the other types of termites and live in bigger colonies. They can enter homes through subterranean nests and tunnels and eat through wood very fast. 

Subterranean termites can be less noticeable than their counterparts, as well, meaning that they often have more time to do damage before homeowners notice that there is a problem. It is not uncommon for multiple colonies to feed on one house at the same time. Unfortunately, subterranean termites are the most common in Tenessee in general and the Memphis area in particular. 

What Does Termite Damage Look Like?

Visible evidence of a termite infestation is most apparent between March and June and then again in September and October. The CDC recommends that homeowners look for the following signs:

  • Swarms of termites on or around windowsills or doors
  • Mud tubes (about pencil-sized) burrowed into walls, posts, joists, sills, and other wooden portions of their homes’ structures 
  • Wood that is damaged or hollow
  • Termite feces on windowsills
  • Discoloration on or bad odors coming from walls

Authorities suggest that homeowners in the Southeast inspect their homes for possible termite house damage at least twice per year. If any potentials signs of an infestation are present, it is essential to take action right away. Additionally, when trying to buy a home you may need to get a real estate WDI inspection.

Can Termites Destroy a House?

Having any kind of pest in your home is obviously unwelcome. But what can termites do, exactly? Can they really destroy a house?

Termite infestations will not immediately make a home unsafe. However, termite destruction can cause serious structural damage to a home in as little as three years, making it unsafe to inhabit.

This happens because house termites eat away at critical wood supports within the home. That, in turn, creates an unsafe strain on the whole structure. Repairing that damage can be an enormous undertaking. 

It is not uncommon for homes to need to be gutted down to the studs to reveal and repair that type of damage. This can be true even for homes made of brick and other materials, as most homes have some form of wooden supports in them. 

Termite feces can also imbue homes with a bad smell. They may cause walls to warp or discolor, as well. Again, this can lead to stripping a house or a portion of a house down to its studs to effect repairs. 

Other types of common termite destruction include:

  • Damage to a home’s foundation 
  • Damage to windows and doors
  • Creation of openings for other pests or moisture to infiltrate the home
  • Damage to the furniture within a home, requiring its repair or replacement
  • The ruination of books, boxes, photos, documents, and other paper-based materials within the home

While it may take termites a few years to make your home structurally unsafe, the range of damage they can do means that even a short-lived infestation can be costly and time-consuming to recover from.

Repairing Termite Damage and Preventing Infestations

EPA guidelines offer homeowners a variety of ways to reduce the likelihood of a pest infestation in their homes. Among the most important steps are:

  • Following construction guidelines appropriate to your climate
  • Not using wood products in ground fill during construction
  • Maintaining your property to minimize conditions that attract pests 

In climates like Tenessee’s, however, additional pest prevention is necessary. Most homeowners will need to adopt an integrated pest management system or strategy to protect their homes from termites and other damaging pests. 

In theory, this is something that homeowners might be able to develop and implement themselves. In practice, the DIY approach has many drawbacks.

  • Researching the best pesticides and applications can be time-consuming 
  • Making mistakes when applying pesticides can render them useless 
  • Using the wrong pesticides can be dangerous to residents of the home and their pets 
  • Many homeowners are uncomfortable storing pest control products in their homes, particularly with children or pets around
  • Homeowners are often busy and may forget or simply not have time to treat their homes when needed
  • Homeowners without experience in pest control may miss important signs of infestation or damage

As a result, Memphis homeowners tend to find that they achieve better results by hiring a professional pest management service to protect their homes. Professional termite control services:

  • Have the experience and expertise to identify infestations early, preventing damage
  • Can treat homes to prevent termite invasion in the first place
  • Use safe, EPA-approved pesticides at regular intervals
  • Can eradicate termite colonies if they appear
  • Remove the burden of pest-control maintenance from busy homeowners
  • Can treat properties before a new structure is erected for proactive protection

Professional treatments and maintenance can provide peace of mind and offer the best protection against costly termite damage.

Learn More

Don’t let termite damage cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. Schedule an appointment now and have a professional assess your home. Learn what kind of protection you need and get a free estimate on an integrated pest management plan tailored to your home and its needs.

What’s Eating My House? 7 Signs of Termites All Homeowners Should Know

termite removal in memphis

Every year, termites cause more than $5 billion worth of property damage to homes all across the country. And unfortunately, the cost of completing termite-related repairs is almost never covered by homeowner insurance.

With these things in mind, it’s very important for homeowners to be on the lookout at all times for signs of termites. If you even suspect that you might have a termite infestation on your hands, you should contact a termite control company right away and have them come out to your home to inspect it.

Termite infestations are a big problem for many people living in Memphis and other parts of Tennessee. You can prevent them from becoming an issue for you by monitoring your home for signs of them and seeking professional help if you spot any of them.

Here are seven signs of termites that all homeowners should know.

1. Tunnels

There are two types of termites that are typically found in and around homes in the Memphis area. One type is called drywood termites, and the other is called subterranean termites.

Subterranean termites tend to live underground, and they can be difficult to detect until you have a full-blown infestation in your home. But there is one simple way that you can spot them without laying eyes on the termites themselves.

Subterranean termites are known to build large colonies underground with tunnels connected to them that lead above ground to food sources. These tunnels are made using some combination of mud, feces, and saliva and are often dry and brown.

Look for these tunnels around the foundation of your home. If you see even just a few of them near your foundation, it could very well mean you have termites living within the vicinity of your property.

2. Hollow Wood

Most homes have wooden beams running throughout them that provide support for flooring and ceilings. These wooden beams make the perfect home for the aforementioned drywood termites.

Drywood termites will burrow deep down into these wooden beams and hollow them out. This can make the beams and whatever is resting on top of them weaker than they should be.

The problem is that, more often than not, homeowners don’t see any damage done to the wooden beams in their houses. So they don’t think any damage exists. But you can hear when wood has been hollowed out by drywood termites.

Get into the habit of tapping on any wooden beams that you can access in basements, crawlspaces, attics, and more. If you tap on them and they sound like they’re hollow, it could be one of the signs of termites. You’ll want to bring in a pest control company to do a more thorough inspection of your property.

3. Strange Sounds

Drywood and subterranean termites are both on the smaller side. They’re so small, in fact, that you might not think they’re capable of making any noise that humans can hear.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth! If you listen hard enough, you can hear termites making sounds at almost all times of the day and night. So-called “soldier” termites will tap their heads against wood as a way of sending out signals to their fellow termites.

You might not be able to hear termites making sounds if your home only has a small infestation. But as an infestation grows over time, it’s not out of the ordinary for termites to make so much noise that it’s impossible to ignore it.

4. Wings

Did you just come across a pile of discarded wings in your basement, your crawlspace, or another area of your home? This is one of the most obvious signs of termites.

When termites are in the process of reproducing, they’ll discard their wings and leave them behind in your home. This does not mean that the termites have moved on to greener pastures, though. It just means that they’re getting ready to add even more termites to the mix in the near future.

Here are just a few of the places where you might find wings from termites in your home:

  • Stuck in spider webs in your basement and in corners of your home
  • Sitting on windowsills in different parts of your home
  • Piled up around the foundation on both the interior and exterior of your home

You might be tempted to try and clean up the wings as you find them. But consider leaving them right where they are so that a termite control specialist can see what you found. They’ll be able to positively identify termite wings and use the wings to track down the source of your problem.

5. Droppings

As we mentioned earlier, there are some termites that will use their own feces while building tunnels to transport food. But they only need so much of it to put their tunnels together.

Any droppings that termites don’t use to create tunnel systems will end up sitting outside of their colony for the foreseeable future. Termites can make a mess and force you to clean it up. The droppings will look like chewed up wood and will be piled in corners and along the edges of rooms.

The good news is that, if you find termite droppings, you’ve likely found the entry to a termite colony. But you’ll need to spring into action and call on a pest control company to prevent that colony from getting any bigger than it already has.

6. Peeling or Bubbling Paint

Have you noticed that the paint that sits on top of a wooden surface in your home appears to be peeling or bubbling?

In some cases, this could mean that you have water damage just underneath the surface of the paint. You’ll need to get in touch with a plumber as soon as you can to address that issue.

But in other instances, peeling or bubbling paint can mean that termites have chewed through the wood just underneath the paint. And that will be a job for a pest control specialist.

7. Swarms

About once or twice every year, most of the mature termites located within a colony will leave the nest inside of a home and form swarms. These swarms tend to take place sometime in the spring or fall, depending on what type of termite is involved.

Swarms happen very quickly, which makes it easy for homeowners to miss them. But if you ever see one just outside your home, there’s a good chance the termites in the swarm were living somewhere in your house.

You’ll want to make a mental note of when and where the swarm took place and pass that information along to your pest control company.

Are These the Only Signs of Termites?

As you can see, there are so many different signs of termites for homeowners to look out for. But believe it or not, the seven signs listed here are only the tip of the iceberg as far as termites are concerned.

There are many other signs that’ll also let you know you could be dealing with a major termite infestation. Check out several more signs that you should be aware of within your home:

  • Discolored drywall that appears to be drooping down
  • Tiny holes located in the drywall
  • Floorboards made out of either wood or laminate that are buckling
  • Floorboards that make a lot of unexplained noise when you walk on them
  • Loose tiles in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Windows and doors in your home that are stuck in the closed position
  • Odd patterns forming in wooden furniture as well as on flooring and walls

Bottom line — if you see something in your home that seems like it could be a sign of a termite infestation, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The last thing you want to do is put off calling on a pest control company until it’s too late.

How to Avoid Termites in the First Place

One of the reasons why termites have turned into such a big problem for so many people in Tennessee and other parts of the country is because people aren’t proactive enough about keeping them out of their homes.

Americans make so many mistakes as far as termite control goes. They leave wooden building materials sitting right outside of their homes. They ignore blatant cracks that open up in their foundation. And maybe worst of all, they fail to recognize the signs of termites that we’ve mentioned here.

If you own a home, recognize that termites could be out to get you. All it takes is a few of them to create a termite colony and plague your home with problems.

Rather than letting a small termite infestation turn into a big one over time, inspect your home on your own every now and then to see if you notice any signs of a termite infestation. It’ll make your home safer and help you avoid sustaining damage to it.

Give us a call today to obtain a free estimate on our termite control services.

Real Estate WDI Inspections Could Save You Thousands

real estate closing wdo wdi inspection

Buying a new home is an exciting time. The only thing that could turn your excitement into an instant regret is when unexpected issues become big problems. Having the proper home inspections completed before you sign on the dotted line, including WDI inspections, can help make sure you’re making a good purchase with your money.

Learn more about WDI inspections for real estate and why this is an inspection that could save you thousands.

What does WDI stand for?

WDI stands for wood destroying insect which includes termites, carpenter ants, and any other insects that destroy wood.

What is a WDI inspection?

WDI inspections are more important and valuable than some buyers may realize. This is especially true in Tennessee where termites can be prevalent in untreated, older homes. WDI inspections give buyers peace of mind when making a big purchase.

Because buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make, it’s even more important to make sure you’re aware of any dangers hidden underneath. Unfortunately for us, termites and other wood destroying colonies are great at hiding. These colonies can be hard at work devouring internal wood structures for years before issues are discovered resulting in thousands of dollars of structural damage.

When you have a WDI inspection on a home during closing, the inspector will visually evaluate the entire property, including any outbuildings, looking for signs of wood destroying insects. If structural damage is suspected, the buyer should contact a qualified contractor to determine the extent of the damage.

Do lenders require a WDI inspection?

It’s only required if a termite report requirement is listed in the contract. If so, the lender will ask to see the termite reports for closing inspections.

While WDI inspections may not be required in all situations, it’s absolutely recommended to know you’re making a good investment. And, to avoid an expensive surprise later in the form of structural damage.

What does a WDI or termite inspection report consist of?

A WDI report will tell you where on the property there may be a wood destroying pest issue, what kind of wood destroying pest is present, and if there may be structural damage. It also includes a section which addresses any areas that were obstructed or inaccessible, therefore limiting the inspection. The termite reports for closing inspections are sent to the appropriate parties involved and including in closing document information.

Who is normally expected to pay for the WDI inspection?

It depends. In some cases, sellers will pay for the inspection and provide the WDI report. In other cases, the buyer may need to request and pay for the inspection themselves.

Inspections and closing costs are all negotiable. These are best negotiated and decided upon by you and a professional real estate agent who can advise you on what’s best for your situation.

Looking for termite reports for closing inspections? At Inman-Murphy Termite & Pest Control, we offer professional WDI inspections throughout Memphis, Tennessee and surrounding areas. Contact us today to learn more and to schedule a WDI inspection.

Know the Signs of a Termite Infestation

Understand the Signs of Termite Infestation Memphis TN

By the time many homeowners discover termites on their property, they’ve probably been there for a while. The sooner you can spot a termite issue, the better chance you have of avoiding expensive structural damage and repairs. It’s estimated that Americans spend nearly five billion dollars on termite damages each year.

Termites are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on wood. The two main types of termites include:

  1. Subterranean Termites: Generally found underground and can be difficult to discover until significant damage has been done.
  2. Drywood Termites: Typically burrow deep into wooden structures.

Termites live in groups or colonies. As the baby termites grow, they form a swarm and increase the colony size. Winged termites are reproductive termites that fly in search of potential mates.

If signs of termites aren’t noticed early enough, damage can escalate and lead to increased structural damage. Property owners need to be aware of the dangers of termites and their signs to avoid an infestation. Preventive measures and pest control can make sure termites don’t become an issue in your home or commercial building.

Common Signs of a Termite Infestation

Subterranean Termite Tunnels

Subterranean termites build their colonies and tunnels underground but travel above ground to find food. They can enter homes through cracks in the foundation and mud tunnels created from their feces, saliva, and mud. Subterranean tunnels are dry, brown, and cylinder-shaped and found near the foundation of homes.

Shelter Tubes

Shelter tubes provide termites shelter from predators and allow them to transport food above ground. Tubes are typically large enough to contain workers foraging for food. Others may be slightly larger to allow for room to transport food. This is the most destructive stage for your property.

Termite Noises

While it’s difficult to see a termite infestation, you may be surprised to learn you can hear them. In places heavily infested by termites, you may hear audible tapping noises. This sound is made by soldier termites tapping their mandibles and heads on the wood to signal the rest of the colony. The continual transfer of the signal to the colony increases the sound and your ability to be alerted to an infestation.

Hollow Wood & Sagging Floors

When termites burrow into trees or wood, they create a honeycomb pattern inside before you see small holes on the outside. That’s why it’s extremely difficult to spot termites early. As they burrow into and devour the wood, the structure becomes weaker and may cause a hollow sound or sagging floors. Tap your walls and floors to listen for a hollow sound which tells you termites are present.

Termite Droppings

Tiny termite droppings or pellets are often found near a termite colony entry point. If you find a pile of termite droppings outside your home, it’s clear you have a termite issue.

Reproductive Termite Wings

When reproductive termites fly to find their mates, they drop their wings and make themselves at home to grow their family. If you see swarms of insects or discarded termite wings, alert your local termite experts to check for termite colonies. Subterranean termites often swarm in the spring while drywood termites may swarm and mate throughout the year.

Do you suspect termites in your home? Call the experts at Inman-Murphy Termite & Pest Control for a complete assessment.

10 Fun Facts About Termites

Have you ever found the world of insects interesting, or even frightening? While termites can cause great damage to homes or property, they lead an interesting life and serve an important role in the outdoors.

Get to know a little more about the fascinating life of termites with these 10 fun facts.

1.    Termites Play an Important Role in the Circle of Life

While we don’t want them in our homes, the great outdoors is a better place thanks to termites. As dead trees fall into the soil, termites are natural decomposers who recycle decaying wood while improving and aerating the soil. The forest just wouldn’t be the same without them.

2.    Microorganisms Help Termites Digest Food

How do these little insects do so much damage to wood? It’s because they have a gut full of microorganisms that help them break down cellulose or plant fibers.

3.    Termite Dads Help Raise the Young

Unlike male bees who die after mating, termite kings don’t leave their offspring. After a queen’s eggs are fertilized, the termite king stays to help feed the young with predigested food.

4.    Termites Eat Feces

It’s true. Termites eat each other’s poop. They do this because they’re not born with the microorganisms (see #2) they need inside of them to munch on food.

5.    Most Termites Are Blind

Soldier termites don’t need to see in the dark. They can perform their duties by instinct alone. The only termites with eyesight are the reproductive termites because they need to see to fly and find their mates.

6.    Termites Warn Each Other of Impending Threats

When sensing a threat, soldier termites bang the walls of their tubes to warm other termites of impending doom.

7.    Termites Communicate via Pheromones

Termites use chemical scents, known as pheromones, to share information with one another. Fellow termites guide other workers by leaving scent trails from their glands. Each termite colony has its own scent.

8.    Termites Take Time for Grooming

What’s there to groom? You may be surprised at just how much time termites spend grooming themselves and others. In fact, grooming is important for their survival. If they didn’t put effort into staying clean, they would be subject to harmful bacteria and parasites.

9.    Some Termites Can Fly

Only the queens and kings can fly. They use their wings to leave the colony, search for potential mates, and start their own colony. Once they find their new home, they break off their wings and settle down to raise their offspring.

10. Long Live the Queen

Termite queens are much bigger than worker termites. They can be several inches long and as big around as a pencil. Even crazier, termite queens can live for decades.

While termites get a bad rap for structural damage in homes or buildings, they are fascinating insects and a valuable part of our natural ecosystem.

Complete Guide to Eastern Subterranean Termites

eastern subterranean termites in memphis tennessee

Eastern subterranean termites are common in Tennessee and can damage structural timber in homes or buildings. Damage typically results from years of unknown infestations. Use this resource as a guide to understand eastern subterranean termites avoid structural damage to your home or business.

Eastern Subterranean Termites – An Overview

Subterranean termites are social insects and live in large colonies with thousands or even millions of termites. These termites are a serious concern to homeowners with older homes. Over time, a colony of termites can cause severe damage to wooden structures.

Identification & Appearance

The physical appearance of eastern subterranean termites depends on their role in the colony caste system. Termite colonies are comprised of workers, soldiers, and reproductives. Each has their own distinct role and appearance.

Reproductives are the termites you see most often because they leave their nest to mate. They have black bodies with translucent wings and measure 10-12 mm long.

Inside the nest, you’ll find the soldier termites. These caste members measure about 6 mm long, are wingless, and have large yellow heads with long, black, pinching mandibles.

Also inside the nest are workers. These termites are similar in size to soldiers, wingless, creamy white in appearance, and sterile.


Eastern subterranean termites feast on wood and cellulose. In nature, this may include tree stumps, fallen tree limbs, and decaying wood.

In a home or office building, termites feast on structural wood, wood fixtures, and paper products. Typical termite colonies can consume up to five grams of wood in 24 hours

Habits & Habitat

Termite colonies need locations with high levels of moisture because they’re constantly at risk of dehydration. That’s why many eastern subterranean termite colonies live under the ground.

Their nests involve intricate networks of tunnels made of mud and saliva. Tunnels are the diameter of a pencil and can extend 150-300 feet from the colony’s nest. If a tunnel is ruined, workers labor to repair the damage and sustain their environment.

To keep the colony alive and thriving, temperatures around the nest must stay between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (including humidity levels).

Patterns in Reproduction

Following spring rainfall, mature reproductive eastern subterranean termites leave their nests in swarms to mate. These winged insects go in search of nesting sites where wood touches moist soil.

Once they select a site, termites lose their wings and search for a mating partner. When a female selects her partner, they burrow into the moist soil for mating.

After mating, the female becomes known as the queen and starts laying her eggs. The male termite becomes the king and the pair live together for the rest of their lives.

Damage Caused by Eastern Subterranean Termites

While termites are a valuable component of many outdoor ecosystems, they can create extensive damage to older homes and structures with wooden beams.

In many cases, termites aren’t discovered until the damage is evident. Their reclusive nature causes termite infestations to go unnoticed for years resulting in potentially thousands of dollars of damage.

Managing Termite Infestations

If you discover a termite infestation, call pest control experts to remove the nest and infestation before repairs are made.

You can help keep termites from invading your home by removing wood debris (including stacked firewood) from nearby and repairing water-damaged wood right away. Make sure your basement, cellars, and crawl spaces have adequate drainage and seal any visible cracks in the foundation.

At Inman-Murphy Termite & Pest Control, we offer the experience, tools, and eco-friendly solutions to eliminate termite infestations in homes or office buildings. If you’re experiencing termite issues, get in touch today for a free estimate.

5 Mistakes You’re Making That Invite Termites into Your Home

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It’s never a good day when you spot a termite in your home or on your property. One lone termite could lead you to discover a full termite infestation.

Is there anything you can do to prevent termites from entering your home in the first place? Understanding termites and why they come inside is crucial to prevent infestations. The following are five common mistakes homeowners make which could invite termites where they don’t belong.

Leaving Wood Building Materials in and Around Your Home

What do termites love to eat? Cellulose and wood. If you leave wood building materials inside or surrounding your home, this can offer a warm invite for termites to enjoy their ideal food source.

Be careful when storing these materials in your basement, crawl space, or attic. Termites will hone in on the food source and feel right at home feasting on wood materials.

Allowing Puddles to Form Near the Foundation or AC Unit

Besides wood, termites love moisture. If puddles form around your foundation or AC unit, this provides the perfect environment for termite colonies to thrive.

Fix grading issues to keep water flowing away from your foundation and eliminate standing water to keep pests from growing and thriving close to your home.

Ignoring Cracks in Your Foundation

Does a small crack in the foundation really matter? Yes. You may be surprised at how insects can enter your home through even the smallest of cracks.

Termites can fit through cracks as small as 1/32”. That’s as thin as average hard stock paper! As soon as you notice a crack, seal up any gaps in the foundation as well as the roof and eaves. Sealing cracks keep termites and many other pests from sneaking inside.

Not Maintaining Exterior Wood

Is the paint on your siding chipped and peeling? Are pieces of siding rotting away?

Remember, termites love moisture and exposed wood. Rotten and exposed siding is an easy invitation for termites to feed on and grow their colony. Keep your siding well maintained by replacing rotten boards and repainting when the paint chips or peels.

Ignoring the Warning Signs

Before termite infestations grow, you can stop them in their tracks by paying close attention to their entry points and warning signs:

Subterranean Termite entry points:

  • Can tunnel through soil and mud to enter several feet above ground level
  • Cracks in foundation, brick, or mortar
  • Wood-to-ground contact (door frames, deck posts, supports etc.)

Drywood Termite entry points:

  • Hide in wood crevices in your home
  • Can enter on any floor in your home
  • They dig a nest and seal themselves inside to lay their eggs
  • Within a couple years, a colony can grow and cause serious wood damage
  • Clear visibility of a termite or nest in your home should be dealt with immediately

Don’t make the mistake of inviting unwanted termites into your home. Contact the experts at Inman-Murphy Termite & Pest Control today for a full home inspection and treatment plan.