Debunking termite myths

Feb 22, 2019, 09:32 AM by Fred Speer

Clark, your neighborly pest control and lawn care expert, loves pest-related trivia. You want me on your team when the question of how much weight can an ant carry, or how many yellowjackets are in the average-size nest, comes up.

Want a little termite trivia? Did you know that subterranean termites, the most commonly encountered termite in California, are found in every state but Alaska? Did you know that 10 percent of the world’s mass of living organisms is composed of termites? Drop those tidbits at your next neighborhood gathering and see how impressed your neighbors are!

As the weather warms up, the threat of termites is far from trivial for homeowners in California and northern Nevada. Termite swarms typically take place on a warm day following rain, and California has had plenty of that so far in 2019. It takes the skills of highly trained professional to properly identify and neutralize a termite threat.

Below are some urban legends about these destructive pests that cause more than $5 billion in damage annually to U.S. homes. Clark wanted to clear up some of these legends to help you better protect your biggest investment, your home.

Legend 1: “I’ve treated for termites before, so I’m good to go?”

Not exactly. Regular termite inspections are important to help protect your home from termites. Having your home inspected annually for signs of termite activity will allow you to get ahead of any potential issues, not to mention save you money and hassles down the road.

Legend 2: Do termites really eat the wood in your home?

Yes, termites will eat wood and anything containing cellulose, such as wallpaper, books, boxes, carpet backing, drywall, and furniture. In their natural environment, termites support the ecosystem by digesting rotting wood, turning it into humus, an organic material that improves soil. When land development displaces termites, they can occupy and destroy the wood in buildings.

Legend 3: Can termites eat through plastic?

No, termites cannot eat through plastic. But they may try to break through plastic to access a food source.

Legend 4: Do termites eat concreate?

No, termites cannot eat concrete. Because termites fit through cracks in concrete, however, you may think they can chew through this tough barrier, but that isn’t true. You also should understand that concrete is not a sufficient barrier that prevents termites from reaching the wooden parts of your house.

How can you protect your home if you think you have termites? Contact the termite experts at Clark to schedule a professional inspection of your home to see if termites are present, and if they are, review treatment options.

Also, be sure to ask about our exclusive Termite Indemnity Program (TIP), which covers your home from future infestations and damages. A full inspection must be performed to see if your home can qualify, and if so, for a small monthly fee you can avoid costly out-of-pocket treatment and repair expenses. This can provide you not only with peace of mind, but can save you money and headaches.

Safeguard your home from termites. Call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or send us an email at   

Until next time, I’m Clark, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.