What Do Termites Look Like?
Termites can be pretty scary. Just that one little word “termite” conjures up images of holes in your floor and collapsing houses. So, if you live in the Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington area, how concerned should you be about termites?
First, you should understand the difference between the termite species’ that we have in the Portland Metro area. We have two types of termites in the Pacific Northwest. Let me take a moment to tell you the difference between the two, and then I will tell you how concerned you should be about them.
Dampwood Termites: These types of termites are large and brown and have wings. They look an awful lot like ants but have a two-segmented body (not three like an ant). These particular termites are larger than subterranean termites and quite a bit less scary. They do far less damage and only infest wood that has a high moisture content.
Most commonly, they can often be spotted in rotting tree trunks or other waterlogged wood. Treatment for this kind of termite is relatively simple. We recommend removing the rotten, damaged wood and rarely suggest using any pesticide treatment.
Subterranean Termites: These types of termites are a bit more of a concern. They are smaller, black and have wings in their reproductive state and a translucent, creamy white in their worker and soldier caste. They can be found in all types of wood, and the telltale sign of subterranean termites is the presence of mud tubes (usually pencil-sized tubes going from the soil to the wood they are infesting.
Think of the mud tube as the elevator, the soil as their home, and the wood as their work. Getting rid of subterranean termites is challenging and typically requires extensive pesticide treatment into the ground, inside the wall, and around concrete slabs. These kinds of treatments can be expensive as well.
How Common Are Termites?
In this climate, they are not common. Down in the southern states where there is more heat and humidity, they are a far more significant concern. Carpenter ants are a lot more common around here. Subterranean termites are incredibly uncommon in the Vancouver area (I have done pest control for 13 years and have never seen them in Clark County, although I am told that others in my industry have). There are pockets in Portland where they can be found. For example, north Portland, Oregon City, and parts of SE Portland have areas where subterranean termites are quite common. Dampwood termites can be found just about anywhere, but they are not nearly as serious.
How Much Does A Termite Treatment Cost In The Portland Area?
Let’s go ahead and stop talking about damp wood termites since they are not a big concern (again, they only infest wood with moisture in it). Subterranean termite treatments can vary wildly on cost. Most pest control companies in the area are going to suggest a full home treatment, which can be very expensive. This could easily be in the thousand dollars and above range. At New Leaf Pest Control, we address this a little bit differently. Often, we will give a price for a targeted treatment, which will address the area and the surrounding area where the termites have been seen. After this treatment, we can set up monitoring stations that will tell us if more termites are present around the home. We also offer a full home treatment but feel that a smaller scale service can still adequately take care of the problem
If you have termites or want to ask a few questions, we strongly encourage giving our office a call so that we can help.