Termites, also known as the “silent destroyer”, can be a scary thing to think about! To help you understand what termites are, where they live and how to prevent them, we’ve outlined crucial information that every homeowner should be aware of when it comes to these disruptive insects.
Termites thrive in most southern spots in Canada, and especially along the coasts. In Ontario, we have several termite hotspots including Kincardine, Toronto, Guelph, Elora, Fergus and Kitchener. Although there are many types of termites in the rest of the world, the only type found in Ontario are called “subterranean termites”.
The city of Guelph has seen a steady decline in active termite activity, and is at the lowest level since 1999, when Guelph started recording termite activity. Dr. Tim Myles implemented a five-year experimental period to use zinc borate, which he called the Trap-Treat-Release method, to fight against termites.
What do termites look like?
The city of Guelph states that subterranean termites are “small insects, approximately the size of a grain of rice, are creamy white in colour, and have 6 legs”. Some experts say that termites look like white ants but without a constricted waist.
Where do they live?
Termites occur in large colonies, live underground and feed on virtually every type of wood. All termites are drawn to dark, damp places and can be found in wood in or around your home.
Can you prevent termites?
All homes (even new homes) can provide food for termite infestations, which is why every homeowner should learn key prevention tips to avoid an infestation.
- Clear your property of any unused wood, including tree stumps, dead trees, and wood chip mulch.
- Fix any cracks in your housing foundation/entry points, as termites can enter through them.
- Store firewood and lumber off of the ground, ideally in the sun, and as far away from the house as possible.
- Fix any moisture problems that you house may have.
- Consider having your house pre-treated for termites, especially if your building a new home.
How to Spot Termites
Between April and November, it is recommended that homeowners hire a professional to do an annual inspection to look for termites, but there are also things homeowner can look for themselves. Examine any wood inside or outside of your house to observe the condition of it; if you notice any small holes or sawdust, this may indicate a termite problem. You may also see live or dead termites, droppings and wings near or in wood. You will also want to examine wood stumps, compost bins and under porches/decks to see the condition of the wood.
What to do if you suspect or find termites in your home
Once discovering or suspecting a termite infestation, it is highly recommended to hire a professional exterminator to eliminate these pesky insects. You will also want to notify your neighbours to inform them of the infestation, so they too can search and eliminate any potential problems. Some cities, such as Guelph, have strict termite procedures for anyone living within termite management zones, however, other cities, such as Kitchener and Waterloo, do not track addresses where termites have been found.
For more information about termites in Guelph, including termite management areas, check out http://guelph.ca/living/house-and-home/termites.