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Subterranean Termites

What are subterranean termites?

Subterranean termites are a species of wood destroying insect that live in large social colonies generally underground. They feed on cellulose that is found in leaf litter, wood, soil, and feces. If given the opportunity, they will most assuredly feed on structural wood in homes and other buildings. They are especially attracted to wood that comes into contact with soil and that has had previous water damage or is decaying. Subterranean termites are responsible for creating over 5 billion dollars’ worth of damages to homes all across the U.S.

What do subterranean termites look like?

Subterranean termites divide themselves into different castes depending on their job descriptions. Workers are found in the highest numbers within the colony. They have a soft creamy white body, have no wings, are blind, and grow to be about ¼ of an inch in length. The soldiers look very similar to the workers, although they are a bit larger. Soldiers also have an elongated yellow head, large strong jaws, and short legs. The reproductives are the largest members of the colony size wise. They are winged, dark-brown to black in color, and grow to be about ¼ to ½ inch in length.

foraging subterranean termites

Subterranean Termites   |  Reticulitermes flavipes

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Are subterranean termites dangerous?

Like drywood termites, subterranean termites are not dangerous to people, as they do not bite or sting.  Subterranean termites are however, extremely dangerous to a building’s structural integrity.  Help should be sought to eliminate subterranean termites from your home at the first sign of their presence.

Why do I have subterranean termites?

Termites most often enter into homes accidentally as they are out foraging for food.  They enter through small cracks and spaces in the foundation of homes and other buildings. Once inside, they will start to feed on and tunnel through its’ structural wood; especially if the wood has been previously damaged by water.  Having subterranean termites in your home is usually a sign that a moisture problem is also present.

Signs of subterranean termites in my home

It can sometimes take months or even years for the signs of termite damage to be noticed by homeowners because termites live their entire lives under ground or inside of wood. A common sign that termites are around is seeing a termite swarm. A subterranean termite swarm occurs when winged reproductive members fly from a mature colony in order to find a mate and create a new colony of their own. A swarm generally occurs after a heavy rain on a warm day. After a swarm it is common to find piles of wings underneath of doors and windows.

If subterranean termites have infested your home you may also notice piles of frass (feces) on the floor, paint on walls that appears splintered or blistered, and walls that sound hollow when you tap on them. Mud tunnels which are about the width of a pencil going towards your home or up foundation walls that termites use to travel though are another sign.

How do I get rid of subterranean termites?

In order to eliminate subterranean termites from your home you need to get help from a professional termite control expert.  Here at Hoffer's, our termite treatment services include: a termite baiting program and preventative treatments.

If subterranean termites have invaded your home contact the pros here at Hoffer's today for more information about how our termite control services can safely, quickly, and effectively remove subterranean termites from your home!

Subterranean termite prevention tips

Stopping subterranean termites from invading your home and property is a very difficult task, which is why the most comprehensive way to get rid of them and prevent them is with the help of a professional.  Here are some preventative measures that you can take to aid in this process:

  • Limit any soil to wood contact for structures that are located on your property.

  • Reduce moisture levels in your home by using de-humidifiers or air-conditioners.

  • Make sure that gutters are working properly to direct water away from your home.

  • Fix any leaky pipes or fixtures.

  • Replace any wood in your home that has been damaged by water.

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