What Do Subterranean Termites Look Like?
Subterranean termites, the Reticulitermes Termites in particular, are colonies of termites divided into a caste system based on their “job”. For example, there are worker termites, soldiers, and reproductive termites. Each type will have a slightly different appearance. Worker Reticulitermes termites are between 1/8 and 3/8 of an inch in length. Soldiers are about the same length but have a large brown head and more powerful mandible, while the reproductive termites are about 1/2 inch long.
Where Do Subterranean Termites Nest?
Subterranean Reticulitermes termites live in colonies underground and build mud tube structures to travel about and find food sources while protecting themselves from the open air. When they do live above ground, they pick secluded areas with high moisture levels. Mature subterranean termite colonies can have anywhere from 20,000 worker termites to about 5 million workers! Termite colonies grow amazingly fast because the primary queen termite can lay between 5,000 and 10,000 eggs annually.
What Do Subterranean Termites Eat?
Subterranean termites eat the same things that all other termites eat which includes cellulose materials found in structural wood, paper, cotton, and books.
How Are Termites Different Than Carpenter Ants?
There are many similarities between carpenter ants and subterranean termites that cause them to get mistaken for one another, but there are some major differences as well. Both the carpenter ant and the subterranean termite have antennae, but they look different. For example, the termite’s antennae are straight and if you look close, appear as if they are made from tiny round beads whereas carpenter ant antennae are more like a stick with a slight bend in them, like an elbow. Termite bodies appear to be all one piece whereas the carpenter ant has a waist that tapers inward between the thorax and abdomen. Both ants and termites have two pairs of wings, but the termite wings appear to be a single, white wing because they are stacked on top of each other.
Termites tend to stick to a menu of strictly cellulose products while carpenter ants will feed on pet food, honey, fruit, syrup, and even meats. And while you will find carpenter ants excavating wood to create their nests, they don’t actually consume the wood like termites do.
Finally, the biggest difference may be in the amount of damage the two insects cause. While carpenter ants have been known to cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage annually, termites are associated with property damage in the United States amounting up to billions of dollars every year.
Are Subterranean Termites Dangerous?
Subterranean termites are considered the most destructive of termite species when it comes to property damages. In fact, these termites are blamed for over 5 billion dollars in property damages every year. This species has teeth that work like saws, and can chew off fragments of wood. When termites have infested wood, the structure will appear completely normal from the outside at first, while the inside will resemble a honeycomb with missing chunks of wood where the termites have gnawed through and broken pieces off. Only after months or even years of damage will the outside begin to show signs.
How Does Innovative Pest Control Treat For Termites?
Innovative Pest Control relies on the Sentricon® System for termite control and elimination. It focuses on destroying the Queen and her expansive colony without harming your home, lawn, or landscaping. The bait used in the Sentricon® System is preferred by the termites over wood, so they will consume it. The bait prevents the termites from molting, which in turn kills the termites. The termite bait is a non-chemical solution that meets the strict requirements of the Reduced Risk Pesticide Initiative set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Let us help you with your termite infestation – give us a call today!
Subterranean Termite Prevention Tips
There are several strategies that you can follow to prevent help prevent termites, including:
- Removing any wood or debris lying on the ground around the perimeter of your home.
- If a tree falls on your property, grind up the stump and roots to avoid providing termites with an easy meal.
- Eliminate any dead shrubs on your property, making sure to dig out the roots.
- Keep wooden siding off the ground to prevent easy access for invading termites.
- Eliminate all plumbing leaks and direct water from gutters away from the house to reduce moisture.
- Limit wood-to-soil contact around your home and avoid using mulch against the foundation of your house.
- Invest in a professional termite control program from Innovative Pest Control, serving Tyler, Flint, Jacksonville, Lindale, and East Texas.