House & Home

New House & Home Column: The Bug Stops Here

Termites are notorious for creating billions of dollars worth of damage on an annual basis. They eat your most important financial investment: Your Home. They say, “Home is where the heart is.” Do you really want to share that with wood-destroying insects? That’s the question our new columnist Steve Free of The Bug Stops Here is addressing this month—and each month he’ll be back with more insights, tips and expertise!

Steve Free, CEO of The Bug Stops Here, Inc.

Knowing what you are up against is important. These insects nest in the soil and feed on wood buried in or near the soil. These termite species prefer moist wood.  Worker termites are small white insects that avoid light and build mud tubes to reach wood above ground. The mud tubes are made of soil and saliva and are about the diameter of a pencil. Large termite swarms occur in the spring when black, winged reproductive males and females leave the nest to mate and disperse. The size of the underground colony can reach millions of workers and several buildings can be attacked by a single large colony.

Workers are pale white, small, soft-bodied insects less than ¼ inches in length. The soldiers are fewer in number, larger and with a large head and mandibles. Soldier termites are white with a dark yellow head. The male and female reproductives are black with four pairs of equal size clear wings. The wings drop off immediately after mating and they may pile up near windows and other sources of light.

On Long Island most termite infestations occur in the basement or cellar areas and in the structural timbers immediately above the cellar walls, such as a mudsill, the studs, joists, subflooring, and the floors. Wood such as posts, steps, door frames, and trim embedded in an earth or concrete floor is especially susceptible to termite infestation. Wood siding, window frames, steps, and similar materials covered by earth or resting on the ground may also be attacked by termites. Where the termite infestation is extensive, the flooring and framework in the walls can be damaged by termites: this is often the case where houses are built on concrete slabs. Termites especially favor areas around furnaces, chimneys, hot water heaters, and hot water pipes that provide warmth during cold months.

A few years ago the President of The Bug Stops Here was overseeing a termite job. The lady of the house was literally in tears as he consoled her. Her house was sinking!  “How could this have happened,” said the woman. Mr. Free responded with, “Termites eat the sill plates which hold up your house.”

Termites live in everyone’s homes. They don’t care who you are. All they want is food and to reproduce. Get ahead of them!   Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

You can call The Bug Stops Here for a free estimate or inspection at 631-563-3900. You can also find more information and request a free estimate online at

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