The Secret Life of Subterranean Termites

Originally posted on June 10, 2023 @ 12:06 am

can cause damage to homes and buildings

Subterranean termites are a major threat to homes and buildings, as they are capable of causing extensive damage if left unchecked. These small, wood-eating insects live in underground colonies and are attracted to moist environments. They can easily tunnel through wood and other materials in search of food, which can lead to serious structural damage over time. In this article, we will explore how subterranean termites can cause damage to homes and buildings, as well as what steps can be taken to prevent and treat infestations.

Understanding Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are one of the most destructive pests that can invade your home. They are social insects that live in colonies underground and are known for their ability to cause extensive damage to wooden structures. Subterranean termites are found all over the United States and are often referred to as the “silent destroyers” because they can go undetected for years.

Physical Characteristics

Subterranean termites are small insects that measure around 1/8th of an inch in length. They have soft bodies, straight antennae, and wings that are almost twice the length of their body. They are usually pale in color, and their wings have a milky appearance. They have a distinct head with two large jaws that they use to chew through wood.

Behavior

Subterranean termites live in colonies that can range from a few hundred to several million individuals. They are social insects that have a well-organized hierarchy. They have a queen that is responsible for laying eggs and a king that fertilizes them. The workers are the ones that do most of the work in the colony, including building the nest, foraging for food, and caring for the young. Soldiers are responsible for protecting the colony from predators and other threats.

Identifying Subterranean Termite Infestations

Subterranean termites can cause significant damage to your home if they are left undetected. Here are a few signs that you might have a subterranean termite infestation:

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Subterranean termites can cause extensive damage to wooden structures in your home if left undetected. They are small insects that live in colonies underground, and they have a well-organized hierarchy with a queen, king, workers, and soldiers. Identifying signs of a subterranean termite infestation such as mud tubes, swarms, and wood damage is essential to prevent further damage. Prevention is the best way to avoid a termite infestation, such as removing wood debris, fixing water leaks, and sealing cracks and crevices. Treatment options include liquid termiticides, bait stations, and fumigation, with the most effective option depending on the severity of the infestation.

Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites build mud tubes that serve as a protective tunnel between the colony and their food source, which is usually wood. These tubes are made of soil, wood particles, and saliva, and they are about the width of a pencil. You can usually find them along the foundation of your home or crawling up walls.

Swarms

Subterranean termites swarm in the spring when the weather starts to warm up. During this time, you might see groups of winged termites flying around your home. These swarmers are often mistaken for flying ants, but they are much smaller and have straight antennae.

Wood Damage

Subterranean termites feed on wood, and they can cause significant damage to your home’s structure if left unchecked. They prefer to feed on softwood, but they will also eat hardwood if it’s the only food source available. If you notice hollowed-out wood or wood that sounds hollow when tapped, you might have a subterranean termite infestation.

Preventing Subterranean Termite Infestations

Prevention is the best way to avoid a subterranean termite infestation. Here are a few things you can do to protect your home:

Subterranean termites are destructive pests that can cause extensive damage to wooden structures, and are known as the “silent destroyers” since they can go undetected for years. They are small insects that live in colonies and have a well-organized hierarchy with a queen responsible for laying eggs, a king that fertilizes them, workers that do most of the work, and soldiers that protect the colony. Signs of infestation include mud tubes, swarms, and wood damage. Prevention methods include removing wood debris, fixing water leaks, and sealing cracks and crevices. Treatment options include liquid termiticides, bait stations, and fumigation, depending on the severity of the infestation.

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Remove Wood Debris

Subterranean termites are attracted to wood, so it’s essential to remove any wood debris from around your home. This includes firewood, lumber, and tree stumps.

Fix Water Leaks

Subterranean termites need moisture to survive, so it’s essential to fix any water leaks around your home. This includes leaks in your roof, pipes, and faucets.

Seal Cracks and Crevices

Subterranean termites can enter your home through even the tiniest cracks and crevices. Seal any gaps around your windows, doors, and foundation to prevent them from getting inside.

Treating Subterranean Termite Infestations

If you have a subterranean termite infestation, it’s essential to act fast to prevent further damage to your home. Here are a few treatment options:

Liquid Termiticides

Liquid termiticides are the most common treatment for subterranean termite infestations. The liquid is applied to the soil around your home, and it creates a barrier that the termites cannot cross. This treatment can last up to five years.

Bait Stations

Bait stations are another treatment option for subterranean termite infestations. The stations are placed around your home, and they contain a slow-acting poison that the termites take back to the colony. This treatment can take several months to be effective.

Fumigation

Fumigation is the most extreme treatment option for subterranean termite infestations. Your home is sealed, and a gas is pumped in that kills all the termites. This treatment is usually only necessary in severe infestations.

FAQs for How Subterranean Termites

What are subterranean termites?

Subterranean termites are a type of termite that live in the soil or in moist environments. They are considered to be one of the most destructive pests because they can cause significant damage to homes and other wooden structures. Their colonies can consist of thousands to millions of termites, and they work continuously to find new sources of wood to feed on.

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How do subterranean termites get into homes?

Subterranean termites can get into homes through small cracks or gaps in the foundation or through wood that is in contact with the soil. They can also enter through pipes, and utility lines that are entering the house from the soil.

What are the signs of a subterranean termite infestation?

The signs of a subterranean termite infestation include mud tubes along the foundation of the home, discarded wings near doors or windows, and damaged wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Other signs include sagging doors or floors, and buckling wooden structures. In severe cases, you may also notice an earthy or musty smell coming from the infested area.

How do you prevent subterranean termite infestations?

Preventing subterranean termite infestations can be done by following some simple steps. Keep a distance between wooden structures and the soil, and make sure any wood in contact with the soil is treated with chemicals that repel termites. Maintain proper drainage around the foundation of your home and fix any leaks or moisture problems in your house. Additionally, it’s important to have annual professional termite inspections to catch and prevent any infestations.

How do you get rid of subterranean termites?

Getting rid of subterranean termites is best left to the professionals. Their colonies can be vast and can be difficult to fully eradicate. Pest control companies will use a combination of chemical treatments and bait systems to eliminate the termites. It is important to catch the infestation early to limit the damage and make the eradication process easier. Regular inspections are also helpful to catch and eliminate any new colonies that may form.