Of any termite type, subterranean termites may do the most harm. In order to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air, these termites construct distinctive tunnels, often referred to as “mud tubes.” They eat wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they bite small fragments of wood one piece at a time using their saw-toothed jaws. Over time, a building structure can be critically damaged by subterranean termites, sometimes causing a total collapse.
Attempting a do-it-yourself treatment will not exterminate a termite infestation. In reality, in the United States, termites result in more than $5 billion in property damage per year, an expense usually not covered by homeowner insurance. To keep termites from destroying your home, you should schedule annual professional pest control inspections. REPCO will assess the nature of the issue and establish a termite control action strategy.
There are three types of subterranean termites: reproductives, workers, and soldiers. The King, Queen, and Alates are the reproductives. The queen, central to the development of a colony, is the largest termite, while the king is much smaller. There are some with long, dark brown to almost black bodies and transparent, slightly milky-colored wings in Alates, known as swarmers. Typically, their bodies measure about 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch in length, and they may have a few barely visible hairs on their wings.
Workers and soldiers do not have wings. Workers have cream-colored bodies that are around half an inch or less in length. They have tiny jaws that allow them to chew and shift materials away from wood. With their large mandibles, soldiers can be distinguished. They have heads in a rectangular shape, and their bodies are smooth and long. While their bodies are typically creamy white, their heads are darker and more brownish, similar to those of workers.
Subterranean termites can infest the inside or the outside of the home. Some telltale signs of termite infestation are: You can see mud tubes outside the home. Mud tubes are tunnels made of wood and soil used by termites to protect themselves from dehydration. Other signs that can be seen in subterranean termite infestations are softwood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped, blistering wood structures, uneven/bubbling paint, or small piles of feces resemble sawdust. Discarded wings near doors and window spaces also indicate swarmers have entered.
The most reliable method of subterranean termite control is preventing termites from entering the premises. Avoid moisture in the foundation of the home, as these pests are attracted to it. Divert water away with downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks that function correctly. Reduce crawl space humidity with adequate ventilation. Do not place wood scraps and bits of lumber in the yard. Also, fill and seal foundation cracks and crevices to keep termites out. Most importantly, avoid soil contact with wood, and keep a one-inch gap between the wood and the soil.