• An average Eastern Sub termite colony can consume 5 grams of wood per day, the equivalent of 2 1/3 linear feet of a 2’x4’ pine board annually.
  • Eastern Sub termites can enter buildings through cracks less than 1/16“ wide.
  • Eastern Sub termites will often build mud tubes for travel between their colonies and their food sources

Rodent Guys Pest Control

Subterranean termites are a termite control problem of extremely destructive nature. They can tunnel into the wooden parts of  your home to obtain food. Termites all share a virtually insatiable appetite for wood and other cellulose-containing materials. With enough time, they will cause extensive damage trying to feed on the wood until nothing is left.

Subterranean termites (Rhinotermitidae)

Subterranean termites are social insects with very large colonies, and are particularly difficult when it comes to termite control.  They consist of a queen, sexual reproductives, workers and soldiers.   The workers are grayish or white and wingless.  They are the ones in the colony that forage for food.  They also groom the queens, eggs, nymphs and soldiers and build the nest.  Workers are the ones who do the damage to the wood. The workers have a mass ofunique genera and species of oxymonad, trichomonad, and hypermastigote flagellates (protozoa) in their lower digestive tract and it is these protozoans that enable the termites to digest wood.

There are two species of subterranean termites in California.  The Western subterranean termites (Reticulitermes hesperus) is found from British Colombia south to western Mexico and is very common along the Pacific coastal areas.  It occurs as far east as Idaho and Nevada.  Their colonies can reach several hundred thousand individuals and the colony has to be about three years old before they can swarm.  They do extensive damage and will attack fence posts, utility poles, any wood products on the ground and living plants and trees.  The Arid land subterranean termites (Reticulitermes tibialis)  is found in arid desert areas and higher elevations and ranges from Oregon and Montana, south to Mexico and eastward to Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.   It is the least destructive of the termites, although it can cause considerable damage in some situations.

Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus) are larger than our native subterranean termites.  They were introduced from Asia on ships.  They are very destructive and attack all kinds of wood and cellulose products. They will also attack living plants when moisture is not available anywhere else.  They have been known to hollow a building wall in three months in Hawaii.  They can also attack and become established on wooden ship hulls and in this way, be transported from port to port.  Evidence of their presence are channels between pieces of wood.  Passageways or dirt-colored tubes are usually built on foundations.  They do not have to maintain ground contact if adequate moisture is available, so a normal subterranean treatment may not be effective.  Colonies are large and contain up to a million individuals.  Formosan termites are established in Hawaii and have been introduced in Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina and have had isolated cases found in California.

Drywood termites (Kalotermidae)

Drywood termites do not need soil contact.  They live in dry, sound wood, usually near the surface.  They get what moisture they require from the wood they feed on and from the water formed during digestion of that wood.  Drywood swarmers generally enter your home at night through unscreened attic or foundation vents or through cracks and crevices between exposed wood.   Drywood termites are most commonly recognized by their distinctive fecal pellets (piles) that are often the color of the wood they are feeding upon. The fecal pellets are kicked out of the wood by the nymphs (workers) through “kick holes??? that are visible.  The western drywood termites (Incisitermes minor) is found in much of California where it is a major pest. It is also found in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.


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