Termites

Subterranean Termites (Family Rhinotermitidae)

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Subterranean termites live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas above ground that can contain up to 2 million members. They build distinctive “mud tubes” to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air. Termite colonies are organized into castes depending on tasks- workers, soldiers and reproductives. The characteristics of a subterranean termite are dependent on the termite’s role in the colony. Cream-colored worker subterranean termites are 1/8 to 3/8’s of an inch in length. Soldier subterranean termites are of a similar body length, but are distinguished by their powerful mandibles. Soldier termites have cream-colored bodies and brown heads. Reproductive subterranean termites are approximately one inch long.

Color: Creamy brown

Legs: 6

Shape: Long, narrow, oval

Size: 1/8”


Habits

Subterranean termites live underground and build tunnels, referred to as mud tubes, to reach food sources. Like other termite species, they feed on products containing cellulose. Subterranean termites swarm in the spring-groups of reproductive termites go off to start new colonies.

Habitat

Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species. They can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time.

Prevention

Avoid water accumulation near your homes foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard. Most importantly, eliminate wood contact with the soil. Maintain a 3 inch clearance on the foundation of the building.

Formosan Termites (C. formosanus)

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Originally from China, Formosan termites are the most voracious, aggressive and devious of over 2,000 termite species known to science. Formosan termites are a subterranean species of termite. Swarmer Formosan termites are about ½ inch in length, including their wings.

Color: Yellowish brown

Legs: 6

Shape: Long, narrow, oval

Size: ½ inch in length

Habits

Formosans are organized into huge underground colonies, and build intricate mud nests inside the walls of a structure.

Threats

Because of their aggressive nature, Formosan termites are very destructive and can cause substantial damage to your home.

Prevention

Avoid water accumulation near your homes foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard. Most importantly, eliminate wood contact with the soil. Maintain a 3-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building.

Drywood Termites (Family Kalotermitidae)

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These social insects infest dry wood and do not require contact with the soil.

Color; Light brown

Legs: 6

Shape; Long, narrow, oval

Size: 3/8” to 1 inch


Habits

They form colonies of up to 2,5800 members. Unlike subterranean termite species, Drywood termite colonies do not have a worker caste. The work is done by immature termites before they reach adulthood.

Habitat

Drywood termites infest dry wood, like that found in attic framings. These termites are often times found in wood furniture.

Threats

Drywood termites can infest structures and cause significant damage.

Prevention

Drywood termites can be avoided by making sure firewood and scrap wood is stored at least 20 feet from the home. Because Drywood termites form new colonies by gaining access to wood through small holes, seal all cracks and crevices in a structure.