Termites – Enemies in your Home

By October 1, 2015Tip of the Month

Tip of the Month – October 2015

Termites – Enemies in your Home

Termites are insects that live in colonies within the wood of your home. There are two types of termites that we deal with in southern California, the dry wood termite and the subterranean termite. The difference between these two types of termites are that dry wood termites build tunnels that are burrowed into the wood, these tunnels house the colonies. Subterranean termites must be in constant contact with moisture, this is done by creating mud tunnels which extend from the soil to the wood. Their main source of food is wood which is bad news for the wood areas of your home. 


Both species of termites have kings and queens (swarmers), workers and soldiers. The king and queen of the colonies are typically the swarmers which go out and locate new colonies. An interesting fact about swarmers is that their wings detach after they have found a suitable colonization spot, this is usually a dark, moist area found in a crack of wood. When in a successful colony a queen termite can reproduce for up to ten years! 


Soldier termites have an extended mandible that is used to defend the colony from predators such as spiders, wasps and ants. Worker termites are white in color and do not have eyes, their primary job is to use their mandibles to move mud or eat wood, depending on which type of termite to clear the area for new tunnels within the colony. 


Termites are such a difficult pest to treat because they work in teams, their colonies reproduce so frequently that even when you think you have rid yourself of them there is another colony hidden away. Unfortunately, our homes and structures are the main food source for these insects. Some ways to protect against these creepy crawlies would be to make sure that your wood is primed before being installed and then finished with a coat of paint. You also want to make sure that you have your home completely painted every seven years and any cracks that occur are sealed right away. This prevents moisture and makes a less cozy home for your unfriendly visitors. The best way to treat termites is to prevent them before they get in.