A termite nest is the structure that encloses a termite colony. A nest may be located underground in the moist soil surrounding a property, in tree stumps, in tree branches or inside a building. The termite nest serves the function of protecting the colony’s inhabitants against predators, heat, light or severe weather. Finding a termite nest on your property is an indication that these wood destroying insects may have begun to damage the wooden structures inside your home, and you will want to find a termite treatment company near you.
Termite damage is one of the most destructive hazards that a homeowner can face. Once these pests have entered your house through the foundations or crawlspace, they begin to devour the wood containing materials on the property. Beams, joists, sills, panels and other wooden structures can be hollowed out from the inside or consumed along the grain. Eventually, the structural integrity of a home may be compromised by a termite infestation. To make matters worse, standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover termite damage.
Structure of a Nest
A termite nest provides a secure enclosure for an entire colony of termites. These insects construct the nest using a combination of mud, saliva, partially digested wood and their own droppings. While many of the subterranean species build a nest under the soil to house an underground colony, these pests may also build a nest above ground. Arboreal nests hang from tree branches, which become the food supply for the colony. Tree stumps, wood piles, crawlspaces and attics are also common sites for a nest.
In addition to providing protection against intruders or the elements, a termite nest enables the insects to maintain an environment that allows them to flourish. The earthen walls retain moisture, which these insects need to survive, and protect the inhabitants against light, which can be deadly to termites. The nests contain chambers, where the worker members of the colony tend to the eggs and to the larval colony members.
A termite nest is an elaborate structure with multiple compartments that fulfill different functions for the colony. Some termite species set aside chambers to cultivate fungus, which serves as food for the other insects. From the outside, a termite nest appears to be a large, earthen structure with an uneven surface and an irregular shape. Learning to identify a termite nest and other forms of insect activity may help you take early action against a home infestation, avoiding the severe damage that these pests can cause.
Colonies on Residential Property
An active colony inside a home is an almost sure sign that the house has been infested, and that damage may have already begun. If you’re shopping for a new house, a mortgage lender may require a termite inspection before they will provide financing for the residence. A professional inspection by a licensed pest control service gives you the opportunity to have the property carefully evaluated before you make this important financial investment.
If your property is free from nests and other signs of activity, such as mud tubes, tiny holes in baseboards or swarming termites, you can avoid infestation by taking measures to protect your residence. Keep woodpiles, wood sheds and other untreated lumber at a safe distance from the house. Many infestations begin in the moist dirt underneath a woodpile. Have leaky faucets or broken gutters repaired promptly to avoid pools of standing water, which create a favorable living environment for the subterranean species.
Tree stumps or dead trees are invitations to colonization. If you have old tree stumps or logs on your property, even if they’re at a distance from the house, your safest bet is to have them removed. You can prevent costly damage to your house by scheduling a professional inspection periodically, even if you have never noticed any overt signs of infestation. These insects are extremely reclusive and may be active inside a home for years before their presence is discovered.
Finding a Pest Control Service
Although it’s normal to feel anxious or even to panic when you discover nests or other signs of infestation in or around your home, take the time to locate a reliable pest control provider. With most species that affect residential dwellings, damage occurs slowly. The pests may inhabit your home for months or years before noticeable destruction occurs. Look for a provider that’s licensed in your state. The service should be able to provide several local references, and should have substantial experience in exterminating termites.
Ask the provider if they offer a guarantee of their treatment. Reliable companies provide some form of preventive follow-up service, which may include inspections and re-treatment if new activity is found. If you find a termite nest on your property or inside your home, contact an inspector through a licensed service and request an evaluation. Compare quotes from several services before you make your final decision.