While Hawaii may seem idyllic with its warm weather and blue skies, Honolulu’s consistently warm temperatures make it an ideal climate for termites to thrive year-round. Termites thrive off of the wood that supports the structural integrity homes and businesses, causing more than $100 million in structural damage each year in Hawaii alone, according to the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Most homeowner’s insurance plans do not cover termite damage, which makes the threat of termite infestations even more detrimental.
Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent termite infestations on your own. While these steps aren’t entirely fool-proof, they can reduce the likelihood of an infestation on your property. Let’s take a deep dive into termites as they relate to home infestations and damage.
Why are termites attracted to my home?
In Hawaii, the two most common and destructive termites are the drywood termite, which lives in wood at or above ground level, and the Formosan subterranean termite, which usually lives underground. Both types of termites feed on wood and can go undetected for years, which makes them extremely destructive. The Formosan termite, commonly referred to as a “super termite,” is especially dangerous because it can live in colonies up to 15 million.
Termites thrive in warm and moist conditions, which is the number one reason they thrive in Honolulu. They are attracted to dry or damp wood, moist soil, and dark places where they can live undisturbed. Termites play a very important role in nature as efficient decomposers of decaying or fallen trees. If you have tree stumps around your property, there’s a good chance that termites have taken over at some point. Rainfall that we experience in Honolulu means that damp wood piles, leaf piles, and general debris around our property can easily attract termites. Because they don’t fly or attack humans, tiny termites could be on your property or destroying your home for several years before you find them.
Subterranean termites in particular live underground, close to the exterior of your home. Given the chance, they’ll eat through even the slightest water damaged wood. Even insulation can be an attractant for termite feeding. No water damage in your home? That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook! Drywood termites live above ground and eat through hardwood floors, furniture, and more.
What are the signs of a termite infestation?
Determining that you have a termite infestation is often difficult for the untrained eye and many people mistake winged ants for termites due to their similar-looking structure. While both live and work in colonies, winged ants have segmented bodies and shorter wings than the termites. These reproductive termites are called “swarmers.” They burst out of a colony with the hopes of gaining some distance and starting a new colony. Flying ants act in a similar fashion so it can be difficult to tell what you’re looking at. If you find piles of small, winged insects around your windows (they are attracted to light), call Sandwich Isle Pest Solutions for an inspection.
What does termite damage look like?
Termites tend to eat wood from the inside, leaving the outside wood completely intact and allowing them to live and thrive undetected for up to five years. However, there are a few visible signs that you have a termite infestation.
Subterranean termites will come from underground to feed, often following the grain of the wood. One visible sign of these termites is tiny “mud tubes” that are about the same width as a pencil and look like long lines of dried dirt. These pathways are built by the colony for protected travel as they scour for food.
On the other hand, drywood termites will leave tiny “kick-out holes” (about one millimeter or 1/25 of an inch in diameter) in wood. These holes are made to remove the termites’ fecal pellets, which range in color, and are filled once they’re done.
How can I prevent termites?
Without professional training and tools, there is no way that you can take to prevent termites completely. However, here are a few things you can do to lessen the chance of an infestation in your home.
- Remove tree stumps from your property.
- Move woodpiles far from your home.
- Have your home inspected regularly for termites.
- Repair water damage around your home.
- Seal gaps or cracks, especially around water and gas lines.
- Instead of mulch, use a gravel barrier in landscaping around the home to keep soil from meeting the house.
- Reduce points where wood reaches the ground. Wood siding should stop at least six inches above ground level.
If you suspect that you have termites in your home or business, it is imperative to address the issue immediately. These pesky insects cause serious structural damage as they eat the structure of the building from the inside. To make matters worse, you may not even know that termites have been eating through your home until serious damage is visible. This can go on for years being undetected.
If you discover a termite problem, your first reaction will probably be to Google how to get rid of them. You’ll find a wealth of DIY or “natural” solutions that can be done on your own without the help of pest control professionals. While termite prevention is something that you can do for protection against future infestations, termite remediation isn’t simple or effective without professional termite control services.
A termite infestation is one of the biggest threats your home or business may face and requires specific treatment from an expert trained to determine the type of termite you have and treat it accordingly.
How can Sandwich Isle Pest Solutions get rid of termites in my home?
At Sandwich Isle Pest Solutions, we’ve been keeping Honolulu homeowners and business owners termite-free since 1997. Our team cares deeply about our community and is proud to be a QualityPro Certified pest control company.
We offer both preventative and reactive termite control services to meet your specific needs.
Here’s how our Sandwich Isle Termite Protection System works:
- Technicians strategically install a series of bait stations 10–15 feet apart in the soil to create a zone of protection around your home.
- Bait stations start working immediately to intercept termites with a substance they prefer over the wood in your home.
- The termites feed on the bait and take it back to their colony, which kills the remaining population.
- Annual inspections by your expert technician monitor the stations for any signs of termite activity.
Call us or fill out our online form today to speak with one of our termite specialists today to learn about our basic and premium plans!