Questions and Answers About Subterranean Termites

Questions and Answers About Subterranean Termites

When you think about how much money you’ve invested in your home, the idea of tiny creatures destroying it bit by bit probably makes you shudder. Unfortunately, this quiet destruction occurs all the time to homes in California and through the Continental U.S., thanks to pests called subterranean termites.

As a concerned homeowner looking to protect your property against unnecessary damage, you’ll want to learn some important facts about subterranean termites, from their appearance and habits to the available methods for getting rid of them and keeping them away. The following questions and answers should get you started.

What Types of Subterranean Termites Infest California Homes?

Although you can find subterranean termites from sea to shining sea, three main types of subterranean termites cause problems for California residents. The most destructive example, the Formosan subterranean termite, can reproduce in massive numbers and destroy entire homes from the ground up.

California may also suffer from infestations of arid land subterranean termites or desert subterranean termites. However, these termites tend to wreak havoc only in the more temperate seasons, while Formosan subterranean termites can swarm during the winter as well as fall or spring.

What Do Subterranean Termites Look Like?

Subterranean termites can vary in appearance depending on their positions in the colony. For instance, swarmers have wings, while workers and soldiers don’t. The swarmers appear dark brown in color, while the workers and soldiers have lighter-colored bodies. The soldiers also sport large mandibles.

What Do Subterranean Termites Eat?

Termites will eat just about anything that contains cellulose. While they’ve earned their infamous reputation for consuming wood, they will also eat paper products (including books), cotton, and other such organic materials around the house. Some termites feed on wood and then share their stomach contents with other termites.

Termites prefer soft, rotten wood over strong, healthy wood because the fungi that rot the wood have given them a head start on the digestive process. The larger the infestation (and the larger the individual termites), the more wood will get consumed in a given period.

When Should You Suspect a Subterranean Termite Infestation?

Subterranean termites do much of their dirty work invisibly in areas such as crawlspaces, foundation slabs, attics, and other seldom-visited areas of a home. Because of these hidden, secretive habits, many residents don’t realize they have an infestation until they suddenly see a swarm of termites flying around.

Even if you don’t see actual evidence of termites or wood damage, you can often discover a subterranean termite problem by spotting these creatures’ shelter tubes. Subterranean termites build these tubes out of mud, living in them and traveling through them in their quest for food.

How Can Pest Control Experts Help You With Your Subterranean Termite Problem?

Over-the-counter pesticides don’t do much good against these hard-to-reach termites. Nor do some of the professional techniques that work against other species, such as heat treatment or fumigation. Subterranean termites require skilled application of insecticides in the surrounding soil and other areas of the home.

Bait products offer another means of getting rid of a subterranean termite infestation. The termites consume this mixture of insecticide and cellulose as food. This method poses little toxic threat to humans and pets in the home. However, you should rely on professional-strength bait instead of the products available for general purchase.

When your pest control technicians inspect your home for subterranean termites and provide any necessary treatment, they will also advise you of any changes you can make to help prevent future infestations. For instance, you may need to raise wooden structures up by several inches so they don’t make contact with soil.

Just as subterranean termites pose challenges to your home’s wellbeing, Eary Termite & Pest Services can prove a formidable enemy to these pests. Contact us today to schedule an inspection and some house-saving termite treatment in your area.

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