Termites with colonies in close proximity to houses can extend their galleries underground and make mud tubes to enter homes. The insects keep out of sight and chew their way through structural and decorative timbers, leaving the surface layers intact, as well as through cardboard, plastic and insulation materials. Their presence may become apparent when winged insects appear and swarm in the home in spring. Regular inspection of structures by a trained professional may help detect termite activity before the damage becomes substantial. Inspection and monitoring of termites is important because termite alates (winged reproductives) may not always swarm inside a structure. Control and extermination is a professional job involving trying to exclude the insects from the building and trying to kill those already present. Soil-applied liquid termiticides provide a chemical barrier that prevents termites from entering buildings, and lethal baits can be used; these are eaten by foraging insects, and carried back to the nest and shared with other members of the colony, which goes into slow decline.
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