five ways to tell if you have termites

Five Ways to Tell if You Have Termites

Did you know termites are a bigger threat to Missouri homeowners than fire, flood, and storm damage? Even though we hear more about these unfortunate events in the news than we do termites, it’s the tiny pests that do the real damage. In fact the National Pest Management Pest Association, to which we belong, estimates that termites cost American homeowners $5 billion in damage each year!

There are approximately 2,500 species of termites worldwide.  Only about 45 species are found in the US, and most of these are located in southern states.  Four species of termites are reported to occur naturally in Missouri.  All of these species are closely related and belong to the genus Reticulitermes.

Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions has been a St. Louis pest control expert for over three decades. We’ve experienced firsthand, over and over, the type of damage termites can do to your home. The good news is that you don’t have to live in fear of termites. You just have to know a little bit about termite control and how to spot them, treat them, and keep them away.

Termites are most active in spring as termite swarms gather for reproduction and new colony formation. But the reality is termites are active year round in one form or another. They just happen to be spotted by humans more frequently in the spring. An important aspect of effective termite control is to know how to spot termites even when they aren’t swarming.

Mud Tubes on Exterior Walls

Termites mostly travel in tunnels made of mud as they search for food. You’ll typically find termite tunnels on top of brick, concrete, or other hard surfaces (like your foundation). If you spot even one mud termite tunnel on the outside or inside of your home you have termites and should immediately consider investing in termite control.

Hollow Wood

Termites eat wood 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The problem is they don’t eat in plain sight. Termites prefer dark and humid environments so they typically eat wood from the inside out. Hollow logs around your lawn are one thing, but also look for soft or hollow sounding wood in your walls and door frames. Cracked or bubbling paint might also reveal the tip of an iceberg. In our experience with St. Louis termite control we’ve seen the harsh realities of undetected termite activity that had been going on for years. 

Frass and Sawdust

Drywood termites especially produce wood-colored droppings called frass. If termites are present in your home you might spot trails of frass or sawdust left behind by a hungry colony of termites. Frass is often encountered in small piles and it looks like tiny wood pellets or salt and pepper colored sawdust.

Discarded Wings

Termite swarms generally go about 600-900 feet from their original nest. They don’t get very far before their wings fall off – which you’ll find often en masse near windows, doors, or light fixtures. Windowsills are an especially common place to find discarded wings.

Cracked Entry Points

You’re more likely to have termites if your home is an attractive environment for them. Termites enter your home through wood-to-ground contact such as doorframes, deck posts, and porch steps. They also exploit cracks in your foundation or in brick mortar. Finally, they prefer moisture. So the more moisture you have close to your home – the more likely they’ll be nearby. Watch for water pooling around your gutters and structure.

St. Louis Termite Control

Termites are tricky business. They’re hard to spot and homeowners often discover them before it is too late. Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions is the St. Louis termite control expert and would be honored to partner with you in termite control. We have tremendous local knowledge, award-winning customer service, and a passion for enabling peace of mind in your home through effective pest control.

Call 314 544-7378 – Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions, your St. Louis termite control expert and let us partner with you in your battle against termites!


Destructive Termites in St. Louis

– Are they living in your walls?

Termite swarms show up in early spring months to find their way into your home before you know it.

When you do see them, it is critical for your Holper’s Pest Control Tech to identify the species of destructive termites so they can formulate an appropriate control program.  Here in Missouri, the main destructive termite species is the Eastern Subterranean Termite.

Eastern Subterranean Termites are highly destructive to Douglas fir and other common building timbers. They can rapidly eat out the internal sections of structural timbers – devouring mainly the spring wood.  As a result, infested timbers are often left as a thin shell with a honey-comb of layered hollow sections packed with moist soil.  These termites love a moist dark damp environment – it is essential for their survival.   It is estimated that more than 1 in 5 homes in the high activity areas, have been or will be attacked by these insects.

If you find these termites DO NOT disturb them!  These termites have acute survival instincts. If they are shaken up or disturbed, they will often abandon the associated area and move on to secretly cause damage in other areas in the building.  They constantly search for new food sources. They are known to enter buildings through cracks in concrete flooring or to travel under parquetry or tile flooring through gaps of less than 1/16” wide.  They travel in mud shelter tubes as protection from predators, sun burn and dehydration to maintain a high humidity environment which is essential for their survival.

Let Holper’s help give you peace of mind that your home is pest free!

Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions will treat your home with the same care as we treat our own, and we take real pride in helping to solve all of your pest control problems.  Call us today at 314 732-1413.



Do Termites Fly?

Several of the most common types of termites do have wings, and therefore are capable of flight. However, when winged termites swarm, their wings will fall off. If you encounter a pile of wings close to a congregation of what looks to be ants, you are probably looking at termites that have shed their wings while swarming.

Because termites can resemble flying ants, we wrote a whole blog about it last spring! Click on the link to help determine if you are seeing flying termites or flying ants, How To Tell If You Have Termites or Ants. And then call Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions at 314-732-1413 to solve whatever pest problem is bothering you!

Termite Prevention

Your home is likely your biggest investment. It is also a sitting target for hungry, destructive termites. Learning about this devastating invader and taking proactive termite prevention measures are both key steps to protecting your home. Without termite prevention, getting termites is a matter of when, not if. Learn more about termites and termite prevention:


Winged carpenter ant

Do I Have Termites or Ants?

You’ve spotted insect invaders but you aren’t quite sure what you have. All you know is that you want them gone…now! The key to removing them successfully is knowing what you are dealing with. If you have wondered “Do I have termites or ants?”, this blog will easily help you identify your pests, so that eradicating your problem can begin.

Termites vs. Ants










  • Termites are about ⅜ of an inch in length.
  • They can be dark brown or black in color.
  • If they still have their wings, the wings will be approximately twice the length of the body. (When termites swarm, they lose their wings, so a pile of wings nearby the insects will be another clue that they are termites.)
  • The antennae on termites are straight.

We actually have to differentiate between two types of ants, carpenter ants and odorous house ants, when we compare and contrast ants with termites.

Winged carpenter ant

Winged Carpenter Ant








  • Carpenter ants are ⅜ of an inch to ½ of an inch in length.
  • They can be black or dark red in color.
  • Some carpenter ants have wings, but the wings will only extend just past the end of the body.
  • The antennae are slightly bent.

Odorous House Ant









  • Odorous house ants are 1/16 of an inch to ⅛ of an inch long–much smaller than termites and carpenter ants.
  • They are brown or black in color.
  • They are primarily wingless.
  • The antennae will be bent, just like a carpenter ant.

I Know What I Have–Now What?

Treating termites requires a thorough inspection to discover the invasion extent and the damaged areas that require treatment. Treatment plans should be specific to your home based on the inspection findings, the linear footage of your house, and your home’s construction materials.

The only way to free your home of ants, or any other insects/pests, is to utilize professional treatment. Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions has been trusted for over 30 years to treat St. Louis area homes using low-impact materials for your safety, as well as the safety of your pets. Holper’s uses a three-point attack on your ant infestation: treating the inside, treating the outside, and using bait outside of your home. Once Holper’s clears the initial infestation, a quarterly service program guarantees to keep your home clear of ants, and many other unwanted insects.

Do I Have Termites or Ants? Call The Professionals

For over three decades Holper’s has been giving St. Louis area homeowners peace of mind with friendly, responsible, and successful pest control services. Whether you require termite treatments, ant extermination, or any type of pest/wildlife removal, one call to Holper’s will get it done successfully. Call 314-732-1413 today!




Preventative Pest Control: When to Retreat Flooded Homes for Termites

When a home floods, the homeowner is usually concerned with salvaging possessions from the water and getting an estimate on fixing the damage after the water is sucked out or drains away. Preventative pest control usually isn’t at the top of the priority list, but it should be. That’s because home flooding can become a welcome sign for termites to enter a home and start chewing away sideboards, millwork, paneling, and just about everything else made of wood.

When to Retreat for Termites After Flooding
A clogged kitchen sink that spills water on the floor or a minor flood in your basement from a backed up floor drain usually aren’t reasons to retreat your home for termites. However, when the flood is severe, and it comes from outside, initiating preventative pest control for termites is often the best option, even if the outside of your residence is treated with professional termite repellant.

When water from a flood moves through your yard and into your home, it can disturb the soil that contains termite repellent that forms a barrier that keeps the insects from accessing your residence. If you’re unsure about whether this has happened, below are six major signs that it probably has, signs that indicate you should retreat your flooded home for termites.

  • Substantial soil erosion near foundation of home
  • Flood repairs that require removal of termite treated soil
  • Flood repairs that require new soil near foundation of home
  • Wooden parts of home (e.g., porches) shifting away in the flood
  • Floodwater deposits of new soil near foundation of home

Even if the area around your home was comprehensively treated for termites just days before the flood, having it retreated will cost far less than replacing significant wood damage that could occur if termites silently crawl into your house’s wall spaces and floor spaces and do what they do best: destroy a residence from the inside out. In addition to the cost of repairing the termite damage, you would incur the necessary cost of retreating for termites, as well.

Flood Season is Just Around the Corner
April showers bring May flowers, as the old saying goes. But they can also bring unexpected floods when it rains enough to wash away soil and turn areas of your home into makeshift wading pools. If your property experiences a flood that disturbs the soil around the structure in the five ways listed above, please call Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions to ensure that all you experience are the effects of flooding and not extensive termite damage on top of them.

You can reach us any time during business hours by calling (314) 732-1413. You can also email us at After you contact us, we’ll send one of our experienced termite control specialists to your location to survey the scene. It may turn out that you don’t need another round of preventative pest control for termites, but it could also be the case that you do. If so, we’ll explain exactly why and propose the most effective, affordable solution!

Proudly offering discounts to the following customers:

Military (10% up to $75)

1st Responders (10% up to $75)

New Clients (10% up to $75)



Bug Removal: What to do if Your New Home has a Bug Problem

Buying a new home is a celebratory occasion for many people. However, some new homeowners soon find that they aren’t the only ones that inhabit the residence. Bugs are there, too, and in large numbers. If you recently bought a home that obviously has a bug problem, you may feel taken off guard and overwhelmed by the situation, but you aren’t without options. Below is a step-by-step overview of what you should do if your new home is infested by insects.

Find out if the home has been treated for bug problems
Some home sellers have their residence treated for bugs before they place it on the market. If your new home was treated for bugs shortly before the sale, the service agreement may allow for free follow-up visits if the first bug removal session was unsuccessful. If this is the case, you may be able to have your bug problem eliminated for free through follow-up treatments.

Examine the sales contract for bug-related contingencies
Some home sale contracts stipulate that the residence must be fit to inhabit based on several factors, one of which can entail the presence of bugs. Before you sign a service agreement with an exterminator, examine the sales contract to see if it addresses the issue of insect infestation. If it does, the seller may be required to have the residence exterminated to satisfy the contract.

If possible, take pictures of the bugs that infest your home
Taking pictures of bugs in your home can provide valuable evidence for the exterminator, especially if you are dealing with insects that tend to operate nocturnally, such as bed bugs, brown recluse spiders, and roaches. Because different types of infestations require different bug removal strategies, it is crucial to know about every type of bug that inhabits the residence.

Have a bug removal specialist inspect your residence
Most pre-service inspections are performed for free, but they can provide you with all the information you need about your bug problem, including how it should be resolved. Whether your home is overtaken by silverfish, ants, termites, or another type of insidious insect, be sure that the exterminator inspects the outside of the residence in addition to inspecting the interior.

See if the provider specializes in your type of bug problem
Many insect exterminators specialize in eliminating certain types of bugs. Before you sign a service agreement to have your home treated, ask how many customers the company has served who had a bug problem like yours. In addition, inquire about how the bug removal solution you would receive differs from the company’s other insect elimination strategies.

Do you own a new home that has a major bug problem?
If so, now is the time to call Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions to resolve the issue. Because the longer you wait to address a bug problem, the worse the problem can become, having your home inspected and treated quickly can help reduce the cost of service, and help prevent insect-related home damage that termites, carpenter ants, and carpenter bees can cause.


We specialize in exterminating a wide variety of insects, including: ants, roaches, spiders, termites, brown recluses, silverfish, hornets, and bed bugs, to name a few. After we carefully inspect your residence inside and out, we will explain the bug problem, propose the best bug removal strategy, provide you with a free cost estimate, and jump into action as soon as your retain our services.


To schedule a free inspection of your home, and to learn more about the bug removal services we offer, give us a call today at (314) 732-1413, or email us at The sooner you resolve your bug problem, the sooner your new house will start to feel like home.


Termite Control: Signs It is Time to Call a Termite Exterminator

Termites are wood devouring insects that do their work covertly, quickly, and insidiously. In fact, many homeowners are unaware that they have a termite problem until a pest exterminator uncovers the situation. However, there are also some signs of termite damage that you can notice on your own, as long as you vigilantly inspect your home for the presence of the critters.

If you notice any of the signs below in your home or building, call Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions right away at (314) 732-1413. The sooner termite control is performed, the less termite damage the structure will incur, and the less money you will spend on restoring its condition.

Soft Wood That Should be Firm
Termites create tunnels through wood that are comprised of mud, termite feces, and saliva. Because the insects don’t chew through the outer layer of wood and reveal their tunnels, termite infested wood is often discovered by chance, such as when someone is cleaning the baseboards in his home and finds soft places in the wood, where it has lost its original strength. Poking a hole in the softened wood may even reveal termites traveling through their tunnels.

Buckling Paint on Wood and Drywall Surfaces
Sometimes, you don’t even have to press on wood to see if it has been softened by termite activity. Instead, you can observe that activity is present by noticing buckling paint on wood surfaces. When termites thoroughly devour a piece of wood, the pulp of the wood is almost completely chewed away, leaving little more than a coating behind.

The same phenomenon is likely to affect other wood areas in the structure, unless termite control is performed thoroughly and expeditiously by an experienced pest exterminator.

Visible Mud Tunnels in Various Places
Although termites are known to swarm to new locations during the day — particularly after it has rained and the weather is warm — they prefer their living environment to be dark. This is why they construct mud tunnels to travel through, as they move to different places in a home or building. Visible mud tunnels on exterior surfaces — particularly surfaces comprised of wood — is often one of the first indicators that an experienced exterminator should perform termite control.

Contact Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions
A termite infestation can do more than damage the aesthetics of your home or building. If the infestation is left unchecked, it could eventually compromise the structural integrity of the structure, as termites continue to look for new sources of wood to devour. To prevent this from happening to your home or building, Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions will perform termite control, eliminating the termite colony and proposing solutions to prevent it from reforming.

Termites can work fast. So, now is the time to address their presence. If you think that you may have termites in your home or building, call us today at (314) 732-1413, or refer email us at We look forward to helping you keep your residence or building free of termites and other troublesome pests that can ruin your piece of mind, and your property, too.

Get Rid of Termites | St. Louis Termite Control

When Should You Use a Termite Control Professional?

“Why do I need a pest control professional to come to my house to get rid of termites? Can’t I just do it myself?” Given the number of termite control options available at your local hardware or home improvement store, this is a pretty fair question. For the DIY inclined homeowner especially it is tempting to get rid of termites yourself. But there are some things to consider before jumping in to the task.

Unlike a mole problem, which we believe you might be able to eradicate yourself if you’re up to the challenge, it is a bit more complicated to get rid of termites. Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions is your St. Louis termite control expert, and as a trusted adviser to the St. Louis community, we want to make sure you don’t waste your time and money on ineffective solutions.

Get Rid of Termites | St. Louis Termite Control

Treating the Source

One of the most common problems people experience when they try to get rid of termites themselves is that they buy chemicals and bait stations that just treat the problem, not the source. Many homeowners end up just moving termite colonies instead of eliminating them altogether.

A termite control company will be more effective in treating the source instead of just spraying the problem and moving it around or at best disabling it temporarily. However you should also ensure your St. Louis termite control company is honest – this isn’t always a quick fix and it requires monitoring even after the original termite treatment.

Unique Skills to Get Rid of Termites

It takes special skills and knowledge to get rid of termites. First of all, you need extensive knowledge of building construction concepts in order to identify critical areas where termites are likely colonizing and entering your home. Often times these points of entry are hidden or difficult to access. Your local pest control company should know right where to look and willing to crawl into tight spaces that you might be less comfortable with.

Additionally, effective termite control often utilizes specialized equipment such as masonry drills, pumps, large-capacity tanks, and soil treatment rods. Your local termite control professional should have access to tools that you might not otherwise have access to, or want to invest in, just to get rid of termites. These extra tools are often hidden costs to DIY solutions.

Chemicals for Termites

Treating a whole home is different than treating a single space isolated from vulnerable structures. A typical home termite treatment may involve hundreds of gallons of a liquid pesticide (called termiticide) injected into the ground alongside the foundation, beneath concrete slabs, and within foundation walls. Buying that much chemical is expensive over-the-counter, but your local termite control professional should be able to purchase it in bulk discounts. Also consider the hidden costs of equipment required to apply the termite treatment that you might purchase or create yourself.

When You Should Get Rid of Termites Yourself

Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions is a locally owned pest control company. Founded and still operated by Jeff Holper, this family business knows a thing or two about the DIY movement and entrepreneurship. In fact, we absolutely love how hard working, creative, and resourceful our fellow St. Louisians are. We certainly don’t want to discourage that.

One rule of thumb we use when considering whether to get rid of termites yourself or with a termite control partner like us is – if your home is infested, use a pest management company. If something like just your mailbox, sandbox, or other small wooden object not attached to the house is infested, a smaller scale treatment that you can get over the counter may suffice.

If you want to get rid of termites yourself, feel free to call us and talk with us anyway. Ask us your questions and bounce your ideas off of us. We’d be honored to help you in your pursuit to protect your home. If you do have a termites problem but aren’t comfortable with a DIY solution, give us a call too. We’d be honored to partner with you as you seek to get rid of termites and protect your home!

Termites Spring Into Action

Monday is the St. Louis Cardinals home opener and the arrival of baseball is once again bringing the city back to life after a cold winter. Cardinal Nation is filling the streets to enjoy Opening Day – but they aren’t the only ones coming out of the woodwork to celebrate spring. Termites have spring fever, too.

Spring into action before termites take a bite out of your home - and wallet.While you’re headed outside to enjoy the St. Louis spring, termites are headed inside. The warm weather stimulates termite activity and the formation of termite swarms. Termite swarms are an endeavor of reproductive members to find a mate and a new colony. That new colony might just end up in or around your home, which means you need to be thinking about termite control as much as you’re thinking about how the Cardinals rotation will fare this year.

The High Cost of Termite Damage

Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions has been a St. Louis termite control expert for decades, and we’ve seen our fair share of termite damage. The National Pest Management Association, to which we belong, estimates that termite damage costs Americans over $5 billion each year. Because they eat wood 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, termite damage can accumulate quickly. What most homeowners don’t realize is that termite damage isn’t always covered by insurance and out of pocket costs can run into the thousands for just one home. You should spring into action before termites take a bite out of your home – and your wallet.

How to Identify an Infestation

There are a lot of ways to identify termites and we strongly recommend researching termite control strategies to protect your home. As your St. Louis termite control expert, we have plenty of information to help you in that regard. But what is most important right now is watching for termite swarms.

Termites are most visible in spring, which means this is your best opportunity to spot the subterranean creatures short of a termite inspection. Even if you don’t spot a termite swarm you may find groups of discarded wings – evidence that a swarm was there before. Upon identification of termite swarms you should immediately consult with a local termite control expert.

What to Do About Termites

If you suspect termite activity around your home, we strongly recommend contacting a local termite control expert who can conduct a quality termite inspection. Because termites mostly cause their damage out of plain sight, termite control requires expert eyes and experience.

A termite inspection is important to effective termite control because it informs strategy for effectively removing termites and ensuring they don’t come back. A good termite inspection will provide you with answers about why termites have invaded your home, what kind of damage they’ve caused, and what the most reasonable termite treatment is specifically for your home.

Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions would be honored to assist you with a termite inspection and treatment for your home. Contact us today, obligation free, and spring into action before termites spring into your home.

Happy spring, go Cardinals, and go away termites!