Subterranean Termites are the most destructive insect pests of wood in the United States. They cause billions of dollars in damages to homes every year. Homeowners in all areas of Texas should watch for subterranean termites and take precautions against infestations.
Active termite infestations can be difficult to detect. To find out if you home is infested, your home should be checked for swarmers, mud tunnels or damaged wood inside or around your homes structure.
Swarmers – Swarming termites inside your house usually indicates a termite infestation. Termite wings may be found on windowsills or stuck to cobwebs.
Mud Tunnels – Mud tunnels found on areas such as foundation walls and slabs may be a sign of termite infestation. You can use a screwdriver to break open the mud tunnels to inspect them for live termites.
Damaged Wood – Wood damage may be a positive indicator of current or past termites. This damage is usually confined to the soft, spring-growth of the wood. Termite tunnels and galleries tend to follow the wood grain and are lined with mud or may have a pale, spotted appearance resulting from soft fecal material on the tunnel surface.
Subterranean termites are social insects living in colonies in the soil. This is where they get their name “subterranean”. Termite colonies are made up of three cast members. Reproductive, workers and soldier are needed to form a successful colony.
Primary reproductive termites are called swarmers or alates. They are black to a yellowish-brown in color and are about 1/4 to 3/8 inch long. Wings are pale to light brown.
Secondary reproductive termites are replace primary termites when needed, like when a queen is injured or dies. They are white to a cream color and may have short wing buds.
Termite workers make up the largest group within a colony. Workers are wingless,creamy white and about 1/4 to 3/8 inch long. They are responsible for feed others, grooming the queen and creating nest and tunnels.
Soldiers resemble workers in color and appearance except they have a larger brownish head with strong mandibles or jaws. They are the protectors of the colony, mainly against ants.