Termite Swarmers For Subterranean Termites

May 2, 2016

Termites cause damage yearly which runs into billions of dollars. They mainly feed on wood, but can also damage paper as well and insulation, books, and even filtration systems and swimming pool liners. These insects can destroy shrubs and living trees, but mostly are a secondary invader of plants which are already in decline. Buildings can become infested at any time and termites are of specific importance in buying or selling a property as a termite inspection and infestation report is typically a condition of the sale of a property. Aside from the monetary impact of the pests, thousands of termites entering inside an individual’s home can be an emotionally trying experience. Also, the thought of these termites silently eating up a person’s investment can be heartbreaking.

closeup of subterranean termite on wood

Subterranean termites specifically, are harmful pests, whose control should be best left to the professionals. Termites and management of termite services can be quite confusing. However, there are more solutions available in recent times than ever before in the elimination of termites.

Homeowners hardly realize termites which are causing irreparable damage to their home until these cellulose-hungry insects have succeeded in permanently damaging the structure. The damage may come as a surprise because these termites are cryptobiotic, and this implies that their activities are concealed from view of humans. The termites’ cryptobiotic behavior adds to their success in the invasion of human houses. Termites can eat the inside of a 2" x 4" piece of wood for framing, but still manage to keep the outside area of the wood surface untouched. Some homeowners have no clue that these termites have infested their home unless there is a break through on the surface of any infested piece of wood or any other signs which depict termite damage, like as a swarm. 

While termite colonies may be extremely hard to see, there are a lot of signs of these termite infestations which every homeowner should know about.

Subterranean Termites

Mud tubes
The subterranean termite requires moisture to survive, so this means that they rely on their soil habitat for the requisite moisture which they need. If termites travel above the ground, they must take the soil with them to keep themselves from drying out. The termites build mud tubes on the ground so that termite workers can move inside this mud tubes when searching for food between their nest and an infested wood. The tubes can be easy to spot if they extend over the concrete foundations and some other exposed surfaces in the structure. However, the mud tubes are less visible if they are built along cracks in the structure’s foundation or behind baseboards and siding.

Wood Damage
The subterranean termites prefer to consume soft spring wood fiber, and this implies they will consume the wood grain, instead of across from it. Subterranean termite damage is quite easy to point out because the damaged wood will have the grain left behind after infestation. Since these subterranean termites move around with soil to protect them, the spaces between the wood grains are usually packed with mud. Both subterranean and drywood galleries or small rooms in the wood which is connected by tunnels can be seen by tapping the piece of wood every few inches using the handle of a screwdriver or another small tool. A hollow sound can detect the damaged wood, and the tool or screwdriver may break through this wood into the galleries of the termites.

Drywood Termites

Frass or Termite Droppings
As these drywood termites consume the path through the wood, they manufacture wood-colored dropping or frass. For house cleaning purposes, sometimes these drywood termites can chew small holes in the wood to throw these droppings out from the hole. Termite fecal pellets can be seen in little piles under the infested wood.

Wood Damage 
These termites consume across the grain of the wood and leave behind very clean galleries. In fact, their galleries are sparkling clean, and they look like they had previously been smoothened with sand paper and inside the galleries, you will see mounds of fecal pellets gathered where they have been removed from the way by the termites.

Drywood and Subterranean Termites

The winged termite swarmers can emerge either from inside or outside your house. A swarm is most times, the first visible sign of any termite infestation and this is because the swarmers are attracted to light and can often be found in window sills and around lighting fixtures in a house. Drywood termites make relatively small swarms, mostly around 10-100 swarmers, so when the homeowner is not at home during a drywood swarm, the drywood termites may go unnoticed by them. However, the subterranean termites can produce hundreds or even thousands of swarmers. Such massive number when indoors can be difficult to miss.

Discarded Wings 
Most swarmers break off their wings a short while after they land on the ground. Even though the termites might quickly disappear, the pack of identical, disembodied wings left on floors and windowsills, or in spider webs are certain signs of a termite swarm indoors.

Most people have been told that termites construct large mounds from soil to house their entire colonies of termites. This practice is true for certain termite species which can be found in Africa or Australia, but termites in the United States have no mound-building species. A mound of soil found in a yard of a house in the U.S. will most likely be due to some wildlife activity and not termite, activity. 

Contact Alliance Pest Services today for your termite inspection. We offer full termite control and protection plans in New Jersey to fit your specific problem and budget.   

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