Eastern subterranean termites are the most common termites in Texas. Where most know the basics of termites; eating wood, ruining homes and property, etc., other pertinent information gets lost. Termites in general are responsible for billions of dollars a year in damage to homes and business structures in the country and that’s just the reported figure. Considering the destruction they can do in such a short time frame, it is imperative you get rid of termites as soon as possible. A-Tex Pest Management would like to relate some more in depth facts concerning the Eastern Subterranean Termite.
What are the Castes of Termites?
Eastern subterranean termites are social insects that are separated into castes that help the organized function of the colony thrive. Each caste member serves a specialized purpose in the colony; with three castes; workers, soldiers, and alates (sometimes referred to as swarmers or the reproducers).
Workers: These termites collect the cellulose materials, feed the colony, care for the young and build the galleries or tunnels in the nest. They are cream in color.
Soldiers: Soldiers are the protectors of the colony, ¼” in length they feature large jaws, or mandibles, that they use in combat if anything intrudes into the colony.
Alates: The winged termites, also known as swarmers, will leave the established colony to begin making new ones. The alates, both male and female, will leave in the spring, mate after leaving and construct a new nest, where they will be king and queen of the new colony. Once they have settled down, they lose their wings; few alates actually succeed. These castes are black or dark brown and reach up to 3/8” long.
What Wood Do Termites Like?
Eastern subterranean termites consume wood, but will also feed on most cellulose materials such as books, magazines, and other paper products. Their colonies are typically underground, where they use a network of galleries and mud-like tubes to forage for food above the surface.
How Can You Tell if You Have Eastern Subterranean Termites?
Common signs of eastern subterranean termites include:
Piles of swarmer wings or even winged swarmers around windows, patio doors, or light sources.
Finding mud tubes.
Observing any wooden materials that appear soft, easily penetrated, peeling, rippled, or bubbled.
How to Prevent Termites?
There are some preventative measures you can take to significantly minimize the risk of eastern subterranean termites attacking your home.
1) Do not let any wood lay on the ground around your home. For examples, firewood piles, landscape waste or excess building materials. Avoid burying any wooden materials like fencing and such unless it has been pretreated.
2) Immediately remove sickly, dying, or dead trees and stumps, as well as any shrubs, plants, and promptly remove any pruned scraps.
3) Cover any wood siding that comes into contact with the soil.
4) Control water by repairing outdoor leaks, air conditioner condensation, leaky gutters and downspouts, etc.
5) Ventilate and proper drainage in crawl spaces under the house.
6) Avoid mulching around the house.
7) Keep the trees and vegetation pruned and trimmed away from the house.