Types of Termites

Termites: What you need to know

Facts & Identification

Termites are often called the “silent destroyer” because they may be secretly hiding and thriving in your home or yard without any signs of damage. All termites consume cellulose-based plant materials. Unfortunately, all homes, regardless of their type of construction, can provide cellulose food for termite infestation.

Termites are detritivores, or detritus feeders. They feed on dead plants and trees as well as dead parts of living trees, including wood and wood in the soil. A termite’s mouth is capable of tearing pieces of woody material. This ability is what causes concern in human dwellings: while termite workers only measure approximately 1 cm to a few millimeters in length, their feeding habits are capable of causing costly damage to property. House foundations, furniture, shelves and even books are all possible feeding sites for termites.

Types of Termites

Whether you have just moved in to a new home or have been settled in one for years, it is important to keep up with termite prevention. Termites are focused in their pursuits, they are abundant in number, and they are probably nibbling on your home right now. One of the few insect colonies to eat continuously, a typical single termite colony can completely consume 2.3 linear feet of 2×4 pine in a single year. If that does not sound like much to you, consider the seriousness of the situation if that 2×4 was also one of the supporting beams of your house. Keep in mind also that where there is one termite colony there are usually others, clustered together in pursuit of food. Suddenly, that 2.3 linear feet seems significant, and it is, especially when it is multiplied four or five times. 

Termites are one of the biggest contributors to home destruction, costing a staggering $1 billion in damages each year. Thanks to the importing of the voracious Formosan termite from East Asia, that amount continues to skyrocket. Think about the following numbers for a moment. A termite colony consists of anywhere from 350,000 to well over a million workers, soldiers, and swarmers (termites with wings). A single termite queen can lay thousands of eggs per day and live between 30 and 50 years. That means a queen can recoup her losses and repopulate her colony even after tremendous devastation. The best way to fight this foe is to prevent them from ever touching your home.

let’s look at the conditions that attract these insects to an area

Soil: Most termites are subterranean, meaning that they build their colonies in the ground. They love the soil and build elaborate tunnel systems, called galleries, extending up to three feet below the surface. Termites will often use this versatile building material to create mud tubes leading from their underground colonies to above ground food sources, like the wood in your home.

Wood: Termites will consume any material that contains cellulose, and since wood contains a great deal of cellulose, termites devour wood voraciously. If a single piece of wood touches the ground, be certain that a colony of termites somewhere will know about it. Although some subterranean termites will consume other materials like vegetation, dung and humus, their primary source of food, and their favorite, is wood. 

Water: As with most living things, termites generally cannot survive without a source of water present. Whether in the form of a leaky faucet or the natural precipitation process of rain, termites will always seek some source of moisture to survive.