The Termite Colony

The Most Serious Threat Your Home May Face.

The Termite Colony

No matter how your home is constructed, where it's located, or how old it is, it could be attacked by subterranean termites. They are a threat across 70 percent of the world and in every part of the United States except Alaska. They cause $2-3 billion worth of damage each year in the U.S. alone. They are in fact, the most serious threat your home may face.

The Subterranean Termite Colony

The termites most likely to attack your home are subterranean termites. All are social insects that live in large, underground colonies. Although they could number in the millions, you might never see them or any evidence of them – until you discover that they've done serious damage to your home.

Those "Ants" Might Be Termites

TermitesLike ants, subterranean termites live in the ground and often move in single file, but there are differences, and it's important to know them .Both ants and termites have two pairs of wings, but ants' wings are different sizes while the termites' wings are all the same size. Ants have elbowed antennae while termites have short, straight antennae that resemble strings of beads. Don't be fooled by color or size. Ants can vary in size, and winged termites can be brown or black.


Winged Reproductives

Winged ReproductivesThese termites will eventually leave the colony as adult Swarmers. After swarming, they shed their wings and pair up. Each male-female pair attempts to start a new colony.

Supplemetary Reproductives

Supplemetary ReproductivesThese termites help increase the population of established colonies and can serve as replacements for the king or queen if they should die.

Who's Coming To Dinner In Your Neck Of The Woods?

These are several common species of subterranean termites in the United States. Which one you're most likely to encounter depends largely on where you live. Here are the two most common species of termites and where they're usually found.

FORMOSAN SUBTERRANEAN

Southern half of continental U.S. and Hawaii; originally from mainland China.
  • More vigorous, aggressive and successful than other termites.
  • Maintain very large colonies (often in the millions) and can severely damage a structure in as little as three months.
  • Most damaging during the least visible phase of their life cycle.
  • Build hard nests called "cartons" within walls, which allow the thousands of termites inside to live indefinitely without soil contact.
  • Can also attack and destroy healthy trees, and non-wood materials like plaster, plastic, asphalt, and even thin sheets of metal.

EASTERN SUBTERRANEAN

Most common termite in North America: throughout Eastern U.S. and as far west as Montana.
  • Mature colony can contain from 20,000 to 5 million workers, averaging around 300,000. Queen will add 5,000 to 10,000 eggs annually.
  • Single structure can often contain multiple colonies.
  • Telltale signs include dirt-colored mud tubes and translucent wings shed by kings and queens.
  • Average colony can consume 5 grams of wood per day
  • Can enter buildings through cracks less than 3/16" wide.
  • Secondary colonies can exist above ground.
  • Feed on cellulose materials including wood, paper, and cotton; occasionally even roots of shrubs and trees.

KING AND QUEEN
KING AND QUEEN: At least one king and queen are at the center of every termite colony. The queen's sole purpose is to reproduce. Some live for as long as 30 years.

EGGS
EGGS: Queens can lay thousands of eggs every year. Eggs hatch into nymphs.

NYMPHS
NYMPHS: While in the nymph state, termites diverge into different castes: workers, soldiers, reproductives, and supplementary reproductives.

WORKERS
WORKERS: Workers are blind, wingless termites that maintain the colony, build and repair the nest and tubes, forage for food, and care for the other termites. They are the most numerous caste and the most likely to be found in infested wood.

SOLDIERS
SOLDIERS: Soldiers are sterile, wingless, and blind. Their sole function is to defend the colony.

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