Termite Identification & Prevention

What Are Termites?

Termites are social insects that live together in large colonies. Subterranean termites nest in the ground and feed on materials made of cellulose. In nature, they are beneficial and help to break down decaying wood and other organic materials. In contrast, when inside of homes, termites are highly destructive and cause over five-billion dollars in damage in the U.S. each year.

They divide themselves into three different groups, or castes: workers, soldiers, and reproductives; a termite's appearance is dependent on its specific caste. Workers, which make up the majority of the colony, are blind and have soft, cream colored bodies. Soldiers have elongated, yellowish-colored heads and large jaws that they use to defend the colony. Reproductive members (kings and queens) have dark-colored bodies and are the only members of the colony that have wings.

Are termites dangerous?

Subterranean termites don’t pose a direct threat to people; in fact, we rarely come into contact with these ground-nesting species of insects. However, they are extremely dangerous to properties. Their feeding habits cause extensive and expensive damage inside of a structure. Additionally, termite damage is not covered by most homeowners insurance, meaning that repair costs tend to come out of pocket. Workers enter homes from the ground unseen and work silently for months or even years. They are generally only discovered after doing serious damage to major structures. The only other time you may realize termites are near your property is after witnessing a termite swarm. These swarms occur when large numbers of winged reproductive members emerge from a mature colony to mate and create another colony, usually during the day.

Why do I have a termite problem?

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How can I prevent termites in the future?

In addition to investing in professional termite control, you can help keep destructive termites out of your home or business with the help of the following prevention tips:

  • Prevent wooden structures from becoming water damaged by properly treating the wood.
  • Remove fallen trees, tree limbs, leaf piles, and similar debris from your property.
  • Leave an 18-20 inch barrier between the foundation and any mulch or soil.
  • Fix leaky pipes or fixtures in or around your home or business.
  • Seal up entry points in the foundation of your property.
  • Limit wood to soil contact on your property and around your property.
  • Reduce humidity levels in your home or business by using dehumidifiers.
  • Remove structural wood from your property that has been damaged by water.
  • Store all firewood up off of the ground and away from the exterior of your property.
  • Place weather-stripping around windows and doors and maintain gutters to stop water from seeping into your home.
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