To achieve termite control, you’ll need to know something about termite behavior. This will help you identify a termite problem, figure out how extensive your problem is and what kind of pests are causing it, and determine the most appropriate solution. There’s no need to become an insect expert, either. There are some simple things to know that will help you make good decisions about your termite control.
Types of Termite
While there are many types of termite in the United States, the ones that cause problems fall into two categories. These are very different from each other and require you to use different methods of termite control to solve the problem.
First, there are drywood termites. These creatures actually live in the wood on which they feed, and so they can inhabit furniture, the frame of a home, or a deck. They build an elaborate system of tunnels inside the wood, burrowing as they consume the material. Though they actually eat slowly, these are the sorts of termites that tend to do vast structural damage because they operate almost entirely unseen. Occasionally, a drywood termite problem will be identified based on the presence of small piles of droppings or wood shavings where they have been eating.
Subterranean termites are the other type that may be causing your problem. They like damp soil, and prefer to live in places where it is not packed down. They will create vast warrens of tunnels underground, and will use these to access food sources above ground. Because these termites don’t eat away at the home itself, they tend to do less damage than the drywood type. While they will feed on damp wooden sections of your home that sit below the ground, they will not venture into the rest of the structure.
Termite Social Behavior
Termites are social creatures, and live within a regimented structure. There are three types of termites in each colony, each with different appearance and tasks within the society.
The reproductive termites are the ones known as kings and queens. They are the only ones involved in the reproduction process, and produce entire colonies of termites by themselves. To achieve the ultimate in termite control, you’ll want to kill the colony’s reproductive termites. This can be difficult, as they are rarely seen and tend to live near the center of the colony.
Soldier termites exist only to guard the colony from outside invaders, usually ants. They cannot feed themselves, as they have larger than usual heads and jaws in order to inflict the most damage on the enemy. Worker termites have to help the soldiers eat, or they would die off. Occasionally, termite colonies will have an inter-species battle, though usually these protect against other types of insect.
Finally, there are worker termites. These are the ones usually found in the wood or joists of a home. They are blind, and navigate by feel. They are responsible for building tunnels and bringing back food for the rest of the colony. They also do anything else that the other termites require.