Types of Termites in Baton Rouge

There are four types of termites that live in Baton Rouge:

  • Dampwood
  • Drywood
  • Formosan
  • Subterranean termites

Some termites are native to the state of Louisiana and have been here for as long as we can remember, while others were introduced into the state over time. Termites are often referred to as “silent killers” because they live quietly within homes and other structures, eating away at wood. It’s often not until the damage has been done that homeowners realize that they have a termite problem.

Let’s discuss the four types of termites and what you should know about each one.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites are generally found in damp and decaying wood that lies on the ground. These termites do not build tubes in the mud, but they do eat across the grain in the wood as other termites do. Dampwood termites are larger than other species and their colonies are initiated by a pair of winged swarmers that lay eggs in the wood.

Depending on the surroundings, dampwood termites can have small or large colonies, although they generally stay on the small side. Preventing sources of moisture is the most effective way to avoid dampwood termites, such as by fixing plumbing leaks and not leaving pieces of wet wood near your home.

Drywood Termites

Drywood termites do not require moist soil to survive; they instead thrive off sources of food, such as dead trees, hardwood floors, structural timbers and furniture. In fact, these termites will feast off all types of dry wood in the home, such as bookshelves and rocking chairs. Their colonies are rather small, and they rely on immature termites to carry out the workload.

It’s easy to overlook a drywood termite infestation in Baton Rouge because their colonies can be so small. In order to avoid an infestation, it’s important to use treated wood, reduce the amount of wood lying around the home and keeping the home well sealed with no gaps or holes.

Formosan Termites

Formosan termites are relatively new in termite the world, but they are the ones causing some of the most extensive damage. The species originated in East Asia, where they were a threat to many large forests. That same threat extends to the U.S., primarily the southern states such as Louisiana. Formosan termites eat wood just as other termite species do, but they also build tunnels in the mud.

This species is sometimes referred to as “super termites” because of their ability to do major damage in a short amount of time. In fact, a healthy colony can eat up to one pound of wood in one day! Preventative measures include using treated wood and sealing wooden structures.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites live underground or in moist areas above ground. Their colonies are large and invasive and include up to 2 million members. These termites build mud tunnels to help protect them from open air. Subterranean termites have a very efficient work order that includes workers, soldiers and reproductives, which allow them to be very destructive in what they do. What makes them a major threat to Baton Rouge homeowners is that they enter the structure of the home from underground and begin biting through the wood.

All Termites are a Threat

No termite problem should be underestimated. Termites have highly organized work orders that enable them to do the damage they do. Louisiana is home to all four types of termites because of the moist climate and abundance of trees, so homeowners should be aware of the various signs of a termite infestation lurking within the home.

It’s estimated that termite infestations cost the U.S. approximately $3 billion each year, and there are a variety of methods for eradicating termites once they are found. However, all four types of termites in Baton Rouge can be prevented by keeping wood off the ground and away from the home, using treated wood for structures and repairing all sources of leaks that can create moisture problems in the home.

What Are Silverfish and Why Are They in My Baton Rouge Home?

Silverfish are eight-legged insects that have scales on their bodies, which allow them to move very fast. This swift movement makes them resemble a fish, hence the name silverfish. And yes, they are all over Baton Rouge in homes and commercial buildings!

They are silver or gray in color and approximately 0.5 to 1 inch in length, with long antennae. Silverfish are often found in wet, damp and moldy areas, but they’re also commonly drawn to moist areas in the home like bathrooms, crawl spaces and attics. They prefer dark areas and are nocturnal, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find one trapped in your sink or bathtub first thing in the morning.

Some may also find it’s close cousin, the “Firebrat”, so called because they like to hang out near hot areas such as hot water heaters.  Thus the name “firebrat”!

 

Why Are There Silverfish in my Home?

Silverfish live behind baseboards, near plumbing and pipes or in small cracks. They may have been there all along because they lived in the existing foundation of the home. This is especially common in warm, tropical areas where silverfish were originally native to. Now however, silverfish can be found just about anywhere, including damp, cool areas of your home as well.

There is another way that silverfish can get into your home: you brought them there. It’s not uncommon for pests to be brought in from a cardboard box or secondhand item. Once the silverfish are in your home, they begin looking for a dark, moist area. They are drawn to bathrooms and attics, but they are also likely to find a home in your pantry where there is food and darkness.

Do Silverfish Carry Disease?

Whether you find a silverfish lurking around your pantry or crawling around your bathtub, the first thing you think is, “Is this pest dangerous to my family?” Fortunately, silverfish are not disease carriers, and they do less damage than ants, roaches or termites. Silverfish are often drawn to bookcases and shelving, so they may eat away at your books as they enjoy eating the book paste.

How Can I Prevent Silverfish?

Vacuum often, concentrating around baseboards, cracks and crevices. If you find silverfish, remove their sources of food and kill the eggs. You can also work with a pest control company such as Dugas Pest Control to lay silverfish traps where the insects have been seen.

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Signs of a Louisiana Pest Infestation

Louisiana residents have a unique take on wildlife. Since so much of the Louisiana economy relies on natural resources, we take the time to appreciate the naturalistic habitat around us. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see organizations and annual festivals that raise awareness of animals placed on extinction lists in order to draw more attention toward wildlife and preserving its virtue.

That’s why when signs of insects, bugs and small animals are seen around the home, many residents are unsure of whether or not they have an infestation or if it’s just the local, Louisiana wildlife!

Remember, infestations can happen to anyone as the direct source of the problem is that the species – termites, mice, squirrels, rats, ants, mosquitoes – find a place that meets their need for food, shelter and water.

Here are the signs to look for that may indicate a Louisiana pest infestation.

–      Look for damaged window screens, woodwork and fences. Animals and insects find damaged areas as a way of entry into your home or yard.

–      Check your lawn for soft spots and areas of sudden dead grass or plants. This could indicate that small mammals have made a burrow and damaged the root system.

–      Inspect woodwork for holes and burrows. Places to target include wood floors, furniture and windowsills where small insects like beetles and bees make their way through.

–      Nesting animals and insects use shredded materials to build nests. If you find shredded papers and cloth, this could be a sign of nesting material.

–      Inspect crawlspaces or areas near the home the areas for gritty, grainy mud on the walls. In order for termites to travel without direct sunlight on them, they build mud tunnels.

–      Winged insects could signal a termite or ant infestation, so be on the lookout for piles of these winged creatures.

–      If you find suspicious dirt-like residue, pay attention to it. It could be droppings from insects or animals; although animal waste is generally larger and smellier. Waste from bed bugs and roaches can be small and even dusty.

–      Rodents, bed bugs and roaches leave streaks on walls and furniture. Rodent fur leaves oil deposits on walls and furniture. If you notice any strange dirt or oil, take note of its presence and frequency.

–      Be on the lookout for animal or insect parts. Obviously, a mouse running through your kitchen is a surefire sign that you have mice, but wings, casings from insects and dried bugs that look like dust are also just as critical.