Types of Termites
Recognizing the types of termites may help you determine whether your home is likely to be infested by these wood devouring insects. Different types of termites thrive in different climates. Subterranean termites can survive a variety of weather conditions, although they tend to prefer moist conditions. Drywood termites thrive in climates where the temperature does not drop to the freezing point in the winter. Formosan species, also known as super termites because of their destructive capabilities, flourish in the warm, damp climates of the Southeastern US.
Because subterranean species favor damp, dark conditions, they generally form colonies under the soil. These hardy insects can survive in any climate, but they are drawn to moisture and often establish colonies in areas of your property where water gathers. Once the colony has been established, subterranean types make their way into the house in search of wood-containing materials, which are their primary source of nourishment. Wood-containing materials may include the structural fixtures of a house, furniture, cardboard or paper.
The types of termites that live underground must avoid light and heat in order to survive. These types of pests build mud tubes leading from the colony to the interior of your home in order to avoid exposure to sunlight. Mud tubes running along the foundations of a house, the exterior walls or inside the crawlspace are an indication that a home may have been infested. If you see irregular lines of mud on the outside of your home, contact a professional inspector for a complete evaluation of your home.
Other signs of underground types of insects include piles of white or black droppings, discarded wings and swarming insects in the warm months of spring. When the air is moist and warm, reproductive types of termites leave their home colony in an effort to form new colonies. If you see swarms of winged termites gathering around porch lights or windows after dark, it’s very likely that your home has been infested.
Drywood species may spend most of their lives buried deep inside the wooden structures of a building. Drywood types of termites are extremely reclusive and difficult to detect. Early in an infestation, the most common sign of drywood types is the presence of “kickout” holes in the wooden components of a home. You may see these tiny holes along baseboards or in the corners of a room, along with small piles of droppings. Drywood types of termites create these holes when they push the pellets through the wood.
Like subterranean types of insects, drywood insects may leave piles of wings inside or around a home. After they swarm to form new colonies, drywood insects shed their wings in the same manner as subterranean species. Many homeowners mistake these types of termites for winged ants when they’re swarming. Unlike ants, which have narrowed waists, the body of a termite forms a solid unit. Ants can also be identified by their hinged antennae.
A drywood infestation may be especially hard to identify until the damage has progressed. These types of wood devouring insects leave hollowed areas along the grain of the wooden structures of your home. If you tap on beams, walls or the post of a deck or staircase and hear a hollow sound, the pests may have already begun to devour the wood from the inside. Professional extermination treatment is required to eliminate these types of termites from a home before the damage becomes severe.
The formosan species originated in Asia and has since made its way to countries across the globe. Known as the “super termite” because of its speed and efficiency at consuming wood and its ability to form extremely large colonies, the formosan termite strongly favors warm, damp, humid climates. Formosan varieties are often found in the Southeastern US, in states like Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The formosan insect has also been found in California and is common in Hawaii.
Like other subterranean varieties, the formosan insect forms its colonies underground. Formosan colonies are larger than average, ranging up to 300 feet. Eradicating a formosan colony may require a combination of extermination methods, including liquid chemical treatments, chemical or metal barriers and specialized baits. Licensed pest control services use professional strength products and specialized wands or rods to inject the insecticides into the soil or into the structures of a home.
Understanding the behaviors of the different types of termites may make you more aware of the signs of an infestation. The costs of repairing a severely damaged home are so extensive that many homeowners choose to implement preventive treatments before an infestation begins. Chemical or metal barriers may be installed around a residence to keep these pests from entering the dwelling. Compare estimates on the cost of treatment from several expert teams in your area.