Current Customer vs Potential Customer

In business maintaining balance is a key to success.  In order for a business to survive, it must realize that attrition will happen.  Clients or customers will move, some will pass away and others may stop service due a loss of a job or other economic reasons.  In order to stay in business, companies must constantly seek out more customers.  While seeking to find new customers a company should not neglect the customers that they have.

Some companies have the wrong mentality about their current customers. The thought process is since they are a current customer we can put off doing some extra service for them if we do not have the time and go service a new or potential customer instead.  I have had several people call our company and tell us they have a company that services them, but they can’t come out for a week or two weeks because they are so busy.  The customer who has been paying your bills should be your priority before one who has never written you a check.

If at all possible, we try to respond the same day a customer calls or at the latest 48 hours.  We will work early in the morning or late into the night to take care of the needs of a customer.  I have dealt with companies who have not made our needs a priority.  When we have dealt with companies like this we give them a second chance and then after that we cancel their service.  There seems to be a famine of companies who provide old fashion service and care for customers.

If you own a company and you’re limited on time, if you have a choice between servicing an existing customer or a potential customer, choose the existing customer first. The existing customer will brag to their friends that when they call you, you always have prompt service.  If you put them off then they will tell their friends, that you provide good service but are slow to respond when a problem arises.  The potential customer will understand that you are busy and desire to do business with someone who is busy instead of someone who is twiddling their thumbs.

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Rodents: What You May Not Want to Know, but Should (Part 1 of 6)

MYTH:  The major rat-borne diseases of the past, like plague, no longer occur in the United States.

FACT:  Plague was mainly carried in the Middle Ages by the roof rat (Rattus rattus).  Plague exists today in the western United States, but is mainly in native rodent reservoirs such as ground squirrels.  A few people are infected with plague each year in the United States, usually from outdoor activities or contact with native rodents.  However, the Norway rat (R. novegicus) in the United States today has been implicated in transmitting many different diseases to people, including Salmonella, leptospirosis and trichinosis.  Rats and mice can also carry many important diseases to livestock and poultry.

Kaukeinen, Dale E.  “(More) Myths about Rodents.” Pest Management Professional

[The following information is taken in part from Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth Edition]

The House Mouse

 The house mouse originated in grassy plains of central Asia.  It was transported west on ships via early trade merchants and immigrants—probably in the 15th century.  Because of its small size, adaptability and the fact that it needs extremely small amounts of food and space, the mouse is capable of survival in nearly any environment.  With the exception of humans, the house mouse is the most numerous and widespread mammal on earth.  The house mouse is, by far, the “number one” rodent pest.

You can tell a house mouse by its small body.  It has large ears, an almost hairless tail which is as long as its head and body combined.  As with all rodents, there may be color variations, but usually they will be dark gray with a light gray belly.  If you have difficulty telling the difference between a young rat and a mouse, the size of the head and the hind feet should help you differentiate them.

As with most rodents, if there is plenty of food, water and shelter, the house mouse can multiply rapidly.  In order to alleviate the possibility of this rapid growth, it is best to alleviate these comforts and make the living conditions more stressful for the rodents.  This should slow down the reproduction considerably.

The behavior of rodents is dependent upon each particular situation and environment.  It is difficult to describe the “typical” behavior of mice, because rodents (including rats) may react slightly or even dramatically different from one site to another.

In cities, the entire life of some mice may be spent inside buildings.  In suburban and rural areas, the mouse may live in buildings, but the house mouse also commonly exists outdoors among the weeds and shrubbery or nearby building foundations, with storage sheds, garages and the crawlspaces below structures.  Outdoor mice feed on weed seeds, insects, or whatever other foods may be found.  When their food supply becomes scarce in the fall (especially in the colder climates), some of the mice move into occupied buildings.

Inside buildings, mice set up their nests near food sources and, once established, they stay close to home, traveling short distance between the food and the nest.  Nests are commonly located within walls, closets, ceiling and cabinet voids, within large appliances (e.g. the bases of refrigerators and ovens), in storage boxes, bureau drawers, desks, or within the upholstery of furniture.  Outdoors, mice construct their nests among debris or in ground burrows.

The size of a mouse’s territory within a building varies from one situation to another.  Territories depend upon the physical arrangement of the environment, the availability of food, and the number of other mice in the area.

Next week, we will learn more about the House Mouse and its feeding habits as well as some ways to control possible infestations.

Bennett, Gary W., Owens, John M., Corrigan, Robert M. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth ed. Cleveland:  Advanstar Communications, Inc. 2005.  Print.

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Rodents: What You May Not Want to Know, but Should (Part 2 of 6)

MYTH:  Customers with cats and dogs will have fewer rodent problems.

FACT:   Not all cats are good “mousers,” and few cats will challenge a rat.  Many dog breeds tolerate rats, although some terriers bred to fight rats may attack those they encounter.  Most rats and mice can avoid pets in moving in and around structures.  It’s a safe bet that more rats and mice have been nourished by pet food than killed by pet cats or dogs.

Kaukeinen, Dale E.  “(More) Myths about Rodents.” Pest Management Professional May 2008: Vol. 76 No. 5.  Print.

 Last week we discussed identification of the House Mouse, nesting habits and setting up their territory.  This week we continue with the house mouse, his habitat and habits.

[The following information is taken in part from Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth Edition]

Mice explore and re-explore their home territories daily and become familiar with the pathways leading to and from feeding and watering locations, burrow entrances, and spots to hide from their enemies.  When changes occur, the mouse reacts by investigating the changes.

When mice feed, they can best be thought of as “nibblers.”  If food is plentiful, mice may take 20 to 30 or more short visits to various food sites within their territories each night randomly nibbling on tiny amounts of food here and there.  Among their various food sites they often establish “favorite” feeding spots that they continuously revisit.  These spots are usually darkened corner areas and narrow, tight spaces that provide the mice temporary protection while out of the nest.  Piles of droppings and a strong mousy odor often identify the location of these favorite feeding spots.

Feeding peaks occur during the night with heaviest activity occurring at dusk and again shortly before dawn.  In buildings with continuous light, the mice may be most active during the quietest periods.  Constant sightings of numerous mice during the day indicate a severe infestation, but there are exceptions to this.

Ideally, the best way to control mice and rats is to make it impossible for them to gain entry into structures.  It can be difficult or impractical to exclude mice completely as even adult mice can pass through openings 3/8-inch wide.  Furthermore, mice commonly enter buildings inside merchandise.  Nevertheless, it is good pest management (for both rodents and insects) for building owners or pest professionals to rodent-proof a building as much as possible.

Bennett, Gary W., Owens, John M., Corrigan, Robert M. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth ed. Cleveland:  Advanstar Communications, Inc. 2005.  Print.

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Rodents: What You May Not Want to Know, but Should (Part 3 of 6)

MYTH:  Rodents won’t eat poison baits if their regular food is around.

FACT:   Modern rodenticide bait products are made to be particularly attractive and palatable to rodents.  They can compete with most alternate food products, especially if put in a protected location where rats and mice feel secure in feeding.  The results of rodenticide bating can be improved if other food materials can be reduced.

Kaukeinen, Dale E.  “(More) Myths about Rodents.” Pest Management Professional May 2008: Vol. 76 No. 5.  Print.

Last week we blogged about the House mouse.  This week we want to introduce the Norway rat.

[The following information is taken in part from Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth Edition]

The Norway Rat

The Norway rat is also known as the house rat, brown rat, wharf rat, sewer rat, water rat, and gray rat.  It was introduced into the United States by European settlers and trading ships in about 1775.  It is now the most widely distributed rat species in the United States, being found in all the states (in parts of some states, however, the roof rat is more prevalent).  The Norway rat is larger, stronger, and more aggressive, and better adapted for producing young and surviving in colder climates than the roof rat and other rat species.

The adult Norway rat has a stocky body, weighing about 12 to 16 ounces.  Rats slightly heavier than this do occur (people often claim to see—and boast of—“rats as big as alley cats”) but are rare.  The body fur is coarse and ranges from reddish- to grayish-brown with buff-white under parts, but many color variations exist including black Norway rats.  The nose is blunt, the ears are small, close set, and do not reach the eye when pulled down.  The tail is scaly, semi-naked and shorter than the head and body combined.

Indoors, the Norway rat may breed all year long, although breeding peaks are normally in the spring and fall of the year.  In outdoor colonies, breeding decreases significantly during the hot summers and cold winters.

In captivity, rats may live for three or more years, but the average wild rat lives for only 5 to 12 months.  Many wild rats are killed by predators, other rats, people, or they die of disease or stress before they are one year old.

Bennett, Gary W., Owens, John M., Corrigan, Robert M. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth ed. Cleveland:  Advanstar Communications, Inc. 2005.  Print.

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Rodents: What You May Not Know, but Should (Part 4 of 6)

MYTH:  Cheese is a favorite rodent food, and good bait for traps.

FACT:   Traditionally, cheese became a common bait because it was readily available, could be fastened or tied to a trap, lasted along time and had an attractive odor.  Professional rodent trappers, however, usually have cheese far down their list of preferred baits, if it is on the list at all.

Peanut butter is a common and effective bait, where it can be used without concern of peanut allergies.  Meats such as bacon are highly effective, as is chocolate.  In dry locations, moist food may be more attractive.  Cotton balls can be good bait because female rats and mice will try to take them for nesting material.

Kaukeinen, Dale E.  “(More) Myths about Rodents.” Pest Management Professional May 2008: Vol. 76 No. 5.  Print.

Last week we began learning about the Norway rat.  This week we will learn more about this rodent’s habits.

[The following information is taken in part from Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth Edition]

The Norway rat is a social animal and lives in colonies, often as a ground-dwelling animal in exterior earthen burrows.  On farms they inhabit barns, granaries, livestock buildings, and silos.  In cities, the rat nests in the ground when space is available.  It may also nest and spend its entire life inside urban buildings.  Rats inhabit residences, all types of food facilities, warehouses, stores, hotels, zoos, sewers, and dumps.  It is also common to find rats living by ponds and lakes in parks, as well as in the wild near rivers and streams.

Adult rats consume about one ounce of food daily.  They prefer food with a high carbohydrate and protein content although almost any type of food will be taken (food items in household garbage provide rats with a balanced diet).  Cereal grains, meats, fish, livestock feed, and fresh fruit are all readily taken.  Rats living outdoors will either feed outside, or they will enter buildings at night on a daily basis for food and return to their outdoor burrows after feed.  Among wild populations, rats kill and eat various small mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects.  In sewers, rats capture and eat American cockroaches.

Unlike mice, the rat cannot survive for very long without free water, requiring ½-1 ounce of water daily when feeding on dry food, but they need less when their food source is moist.  In an around buildings, rats obtain their water directly from sinks and toilets, rain puddles, the dew off plants, or by licking water off condensing utility pipes.

Rats constantly explore and re-explore their surroundings, and are wary of new foods, new objects, or changes in their environment.  This behavior is termed “neophobia,” meaning “fear of new.”  Even a change in position of a familiar object causes suspicion.  This is why traps and bait boxes are sometimes avoided for a day or two.  Rats that have become conditioned to eating particular food, approach new food with much suspicion and taste it cautiously.  If it tastes bad or makes them sick, they won’t eat it again.  This behavior is called “bait (or toxicant) shyness.”

Bennett, Gary W., Owens, John M., Corrigan, Robert M. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth ed. Cleveland:  Advanstar Communications, Inc. 2005.  Print.

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Rodents: What You May Not Want to Know, but Should (Part 5 of 6)

MYTH:  Some rodenticides cause rodents to dry up without smelling.

FACT:   There is no known product that rodents would eat that would cause this to happen.  Some sellers of rodenticides or rodent control services have made this claim to get business, knowing that customers do not want dead rats dying in enclosed places where odors may be a problem.

The fact is that rodents may eat rodenticide bait, crawl away and die somewhere away from the structure so odor is not detected.  When rats or mice do create an odor problem, such as dying in a wall, the rodent can sometimes be located and removed, or odor-control materials applied.

Kaukeinen, Dale E.  “(More) Myths about Rodents.” Pest Management Professional May 2008: Vol. 76 No. 5.  Print.

The final segment on Roof Rats will round out our rodent blogs, for a while…RATS!  This rodent is found to be more prevalent in the southeast and the western coastal areas.

[The following information is taken in part from Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth Edition]

The Roof Rat

The roof rat is also known as the black rat, ship rat, gray-bellied rat, Alexandrine rat and white-bellied rat.  This rat originated in the arboreal forest of Southeast Asia and thus it is adapted for efficient climbing in vines, narrow ledges and wires.  Roof rats probably arrived in the Americas with the earliest explorers of Florida in the early 1500’s.

Roof rats are smaller and sleeker in appearance than the Norway rat.  Adults weigh from 5 to 9 ounces.  The color of the fur is usually grayish black to a solid black while the belly varies from buff-white to all gray.  The snout is pointed; the ears are large and reach the eyes when pulled down.  The tail is long, and reaches the snout when pulled over the body.

The reproductive biology of the roof rat is generally similar to the Norway rat, although the roof rat is less prolific, producing only four to eight pups per litter.  Roof rats to not interbreed with Norway rats.

The roof rat is less adaptable to the cooler temperatures as the Norway rat, and thus its range is somewhat restricted to the coastal and more tropical regions of the United States.  This rat occupies the coastal area from Washington, Oregon, andCalifornia, as well as a larger area along the Gulf and Atlantic coast states from Texas to Maryland.  Roof rats are the predominate rat in many coastal cities (e.g., Houston, Miami, Seattle, San Diego, etc.).  In seaports, they frequently board and become troublesome on ships.  As a general rule, the roof rat does not occur more than 100 miles inland, unless the population is associated with a major waterway.  For example, the roof rat is occasionally transported via deliveries of all sorts.  Thus, temporary and/or small populations of roof rats are reported from time to time throughout theUnited States.

In regions of the country where both species of rats occur, it is not uncommon to find Norway rats inhabiting the ground and lower portions of buildings, while the roof rat establishes itself in the exterior vegetation, or in the upper stories, attics, and soffits of the same building.

 

Bennett, Gary W., Owens, John M., Corrigan, Robert M. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth ed. Cleveland:  Advanstar Communications, Inc. 2005.  Print.

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Rodents: What You May Not Want to Know, but Should (Part 6 of 6)

MYTH:  Some rodenticides cause rodents to go find water to drink.

FACT:   I know of no current product that causes this reaction after it is eaten.  This myth probably arose to help reassure customers that rodents would not be dying in their house or business.  Rats must already have a source of water in order to survive in an area.  Mice need very little to no water to drink because they get their moisture from their food.

Kaukeinen, Dale E.  “(More) Myths about Rodents.” Pest Management Professional May 2008: Vol. 76 No. 5.  Print.

[The following information is taken in part from Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth Edition]

 The Roof Rat

Although there are specific differences in behavior between the roof and Norway rat, many of the general behavior patters of rats relevant to the pest management professional are similar.  Important differences are discussed here and in the control section.

In their natural environment, the roof rat consumes a wide variety of vegetative foods such as berries, nuts, seeds, and fruits.  They also consume insects, slugs, and snails.  But like the Norway rat, the roof rat is an opportunist and will eat almost anything that is nutritional and available.  The roof rat tends to eat small amounts of food in several different places during foraging activity.  This has important implications for roof rat baiting strategies.

As was the case with the Norway rat, the home range of the roof rat varies according to the location and distribution of resources in its area and other factors.  Within average conditions, the roof rat ranges from 50 to 100 feet of is next to explore and gather resources.  However, this rat is also known to travel considerable distances ranging up to 300 feet on a daily basis.  In suburban neighborhoods roof rats may live in the trees or bushes of one residence but travel to feed at another residence several houses away, using various overhead utility lines or fences as their highways between their nest and “restaurants.”

The roof rat, by nature is somewhat of a skittish animal and very sensitive to changes in its environment.  Occasionally, when nests are disturbed during yard cleaning, flushed roof rats abandon the particular area.  It also prefers to feed under cover, or will carry exposed foods back to the nest or to nearby protected areas.

Because the roof rat gravitates towards cover and is less dependent on human food than the Norway rat, roof rats tend to become especially troublesome in suburban yards and neighborhoods that contain combinations of lush landscaping, well-established dense tree cover, fruit trees, outdoor dog pens, and/or bird feeders.

The roof rat is appropriately named because by nature it is a climber and commonly lives above the ground in “roof” or aerial areas around structures.  This behavior also enables this rat to remain undetected for prolonged periods.

In tropical area of the United States, nests are often constructed in the corns of palm trees—especially trees where the old fronds have not been removed for some time.  Roof rats will also occasionally construct globular leafy nests in much the same way tree squirrels do.  Nests are located in clinging vines, on the sides of buildings and fences, or inside buildings in attic areas.  Roof rats enter buildings from the roof or by using various utility lines, much in the same manner as do the tree squirrels.  In fact, they can often be seen at night running up and down trees or along utility lines and fences. However, roof rats don’t restrict themselves to aerial areas alone.  As local populations of roof rats grow, they will expand their nesting areas to include underground burrows within residential and industrial landscaped areas, ground floor areas inside buildings, and under piles of rubbish.  In some cities, such as Phoenix, Arizona, the roof rat has been found inhabiting sewers.

Bennett, Gary W., Owens, John M., Corrigan, Robert M. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth ed. Cleveland:  Advanstar Communications, Inc. 2005.  Print.

This was our final segment on rodents.  We hope you’ve learned something about rats and mice that will help to alleviate any problems you might encounter.  If this doesn’t help, please be sure to give us a call.

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They Will Eat You out of House and Home – Literally!

Termites Eating

Termites would be a natural on Facebook, seeing how they are very social insects.  They are not loners and where you find one, you will often find a large colony.  These creatures are comfortable in areas such as dead wood and brush.  Termites have six legs and a body that has three parts:  a head, a thorax and an abdomen.  They are white in color, similar to a maggot, but they have legs.  Because termites are sensitive creatures, when the right environment is not available, they will be glad to relocate to any place that provides them with their favorite treat, cellulose.  Cellulose is derived from any wood or wood based product, which is why homes are very susceptible to termite infestation.

Since termites try to avoid light and open air spaces, they keep themselves out of sight so you may seldom actually see a termite in your home.  Tunnels give them the ability to go virtually undetected while reaching their food source, wood.  If you can’t see the termite, chances are great that you won’t see how they destroy your wood.  It is estimated that there is annually approximately $750,000,000 in property damage.  That means that over 2 million homes are being damaged by termites in one year.

Termites will infiltrate a home through wood that is in direct contact with the soil, through cracks and joints in and under the homes foundation, debris that is left unattended beneath the house, drainage problems, unprotected joints between porches and the foundation and by openings around pipes and the insulation around them.

The soil is the preferred location of termite nests, but they are looking for food wherever they can find it.  A colony can be a small group (in the beginning) or a nest of up to several thousand insects in one place.   The colony lives in a caste system similar to that of bees.  There are worker termites, soldiers, winged reproductive termites, a queen termite, and a king termite.

The worker termites are the largest group in the colony.  They care for the eggs, construct and maintain tunnels, look for food and feed and take care of the other members of the colony.  They are usually white in color and without wings.

The soldier’s job is  It protects the colony from predators.  They are also white, but they have large jaws that are used as weapons when protecting their fellow termites.

Winged reproductive termites are the producer of the offspring and are the ones that swarm at certain times of the year, mainly January through April.  The swarming usually takes place during the daylight and often you will find them swarming following a rain.  They can be wingless, so they are often mislabeled.  The primary reproductives are the queen termite and the king termite, of which there is only one of each.  There are hundreds of other reproductive termites who help with the laying of eggs within the colony; however, the king and queen are responsible for the initial creation of the colony.  The queen can live for ten years and produce hundreds of offspring each year.  That’s a lot of potential wood damage!

One thing that helps a colony maintain its quantity is the ability to change caste type, depending on what the colony needs.  This change will occur during the termite’s immature stage.

Drywood Termite Frass
Drywood termites occupy dry, sound wood.  They produce six-sided frass (waste) which is evidence of their infestation.  These pellets are pushed through holes that are the size of a pencil and look like coffee grounds.  The damage that is caused by drywood termites appear along and across the wood grain.  You can usually locate this type of destruction by tapping along the wood and listening for a hollow sound.

Drywood termites occupy dry, sound wood.  They produce six-sided frass (waste) which is evidence of their infestation.  These pellets are pushed through holes that are the size of a pencil and look like coffee grounds.  The damage that is caused by drywood termites appear along and across the wood grain.  You can usually locate this type of destruction by tapping along the wood and listening for a hollow sound.

Termite Tubes

The ground termite requires food, a consistent source of moisture and a tropical environment to survive.  The frass is sticky and is made into tubes.  The damage is usually with the grain of the wood.  Because the ground termite requires moisture, it generally resides in the ground (hence the name), but they can produce nests above the ground if there is a consistent moisture source, such as roof leaks, plumbing leaks, leaky showers and tubs, toilet leaks, etc.  Tubes enable these creatures to go to and from their moisture source and protect them from predators and dehydration.  When leaks are fixed, this often will speed their demise due to the lack of moisture available.

A good way to prevent termite activity is to use treated lumber during construction.  Additionally, any end cut wood that is untreated and exposed should be coated with a termiticide.  It goes without saying that sealing cracks and crevices with caulking will help to ensure a termite-free environment.  Be sure that all leaks are fixed quickly and any wood damage is taken care of soon after detection.  Also, don’t depend on a swarm to indicate infestation.  Be alert to any holes or unusual debris around wood structures.  If you have any questions about whether it is termite related, please call someone to have them identify the findings.  It may save your house from structural damage you can’t really afford.

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Come out, Come out, Wherever You are!

As kids, we used to play hide and seek and when you wanted everyone who was still hiding to come out, you yelled, “Come out, come out, wherever you are”!  How do you know if your home has been invaded by termites?  There are no special words that you can yell that will make them show themselves, so you must continue the game of hide and seek.

The first step is to have a thorough inspection of your home and property for both prevention and detection of termites.  The inspection will let you know if there are termites dwelling within your home, making their way into your home, and what kind of damage has happened and the extent of the damage.  It will also allow the inspector to know what treatment and repair will be necessary to eliminate the pests.  You may be able to see some of the damage, but a complete inspection by a trained professional who knows about structural elements and the interaction of termites is the best way to fight these insects that will literally eat you out of house and home.

The inspector should have the following equipment for the inspection: 

  • Flashlight
  • Ice pick or screwdriver (for tapping or probing)
  • Ladder
  • Protective clothing (hat, coveralls, knee pads)
  • Floor plans to record findings accurately
  • Moisture meter

The inspector will be looking for specific damage and evidence of infestation.

  • On window sills or near an indoor light he will look for swarmers.  If seen indoors, it’s a good indicator of immediate infestation.  If seen outdoors, it may indicate that a building near the structure is being attacked and they have not yet entered the home.
  • Wings found near windows, in cobwebs or on window sills indicate the presence of termites.
  • Mud tubes found between the soil and the food source are evidence of infestation.  You will find them going up columns, on foundation walls or on pipes.
  • Wood that is in contact with the soil may show signs of moisture damage.  Tapping on this surface will give a dull, thudding sound.  When probed with a screwdriver or ice pick you will find tunnels following the grain of the wood.

Places to check outside the structure will include joints, cracks and expansion joints where mud tubes will be located.  Porches, patios, sidewalks, areas near kitchens and bathrooms are also good places to find mud tubes.  Once you’ve found evidence of infestation, you will be better able to make decisions about how to go about fighting this game-playing pest.

Next time we’ll explore a little more about mud tubes-what they are, where to find them and what role they play in the termite world.

********************************************************************************

The above information was derived from the text, Secrets to a Pest Free Home by Richard C. Burton.   ©2003
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A Mud Fortress

Kids love to build things when they play in the mud, so why shouldn’t termites?  Termites have a good reason to construct mud tubes, though.  These tunnels are there for their protection.  They protect termites from low humidity, extreme temperatures and are a huge source of protection from their enemies.  The size of the tubes will range from about ¼”–1” in diameter and are used by the termites to traverse from the ground to their food source.  Subterranean termites differ from drywood termites in that the drywood termite will expel their fecal matter and wood particles, but the subterranean termite will put it to use along with sand and soil particles to produce a strong, plaster-like material for building these earth-colored tunnels.

When you see new mud tubes, you know that there are termites present.  Yearly inspections of your home make it possible to locate the problem area quickly.  Examination of your home should include inside and outside of the foundation, cracks that appear in your concrete floor, and especially places where pipes go through the concrete slab of your home.  Termites love these spaces because they can enter undetected, especially if you do not have a regular, yearly inspection.

You may need to acquaint yourself with the different types of mud tubes that could be found at your home.  The first tube is a working tube which will go from the ground, along the concrete or stone and up to a wood surface.  These are especially helpful in locating termites, because they originate in the nest underground.  The second type of tube is the exploratory and migratory tube.  These, too, come from the ground, but they do not attach to any wood.  The last type is a drop tube.  These extend from a wooden structure down to the ground.  They may also be found inside the home on a ceiling.

     

Keeping your eyes open for possible activity will go a long way in helping you protect possibly your biggest investment!  I love the old African Proverb that says small termites collapse the roof.  Knowing what to look for and being pro-active is the   key to limiting termite activity.

Next time we’ll discuss damage and how you can prevent termites from looking at your home like a smorgasbord.

The above information was derived from the text Secrets to a Pest Free Home by Richard C. Burton.   ©2003
 
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