How to Control Subterranean Termites
Subterranean termites are one of the most commonly found species of termite in Texas. As the name suggests, they live underground in moist soil or soil that is close to a water source.
What Do Subterranean Termites Look Like?
As with all termites, there are three castes or social orders of subterranean termites.
The workers are pale or creamy white and have no eyes. Workers are about ¼ of an inch in length.
The soldiers have enlarged heads, which are yellow to brown; they have large mandibles.
The reproductive termites look like a darker color, from yellow to black. They have long, dark, almost black bodies and wings. The king and queen are larger than the workers.
Where Do Subterranean Termites Live?
Subterranean termites have little resistance to dehydration. They live in the soil. They choose ground that is moist or has a nearby water source such as dripping AC units or gutters that haven’t been cleaned and are prone to overflow.
Unlike other species that live and breed inside walls, the subterranean termite travels to its food source.
How Do Subterranean Termite Colonies Work?
The worker termites carry out all the manual labor. This includes chewing through wood and digesting it to feed the other members of the colony.
They also feed and groom the king and queen as well as collecting the queen’s eggs and placing them into specially constructed hatching chambers.
The soldier termite’s sole responsibility is to defend the colony. When damage occurs to the nest, worker termites rush outside to repair it while the soldiers protect them and fight off predators such as ants.
Due to their huge mandibles, they cannot feed themselves and must be fed and groomed by the workers.
The queen is an egg-laying machine. A queen can live between 25 to 50 years. The king and queen both look after the newly hatched larvae.
The reproductives are the winged reproductive males and females. These are the swarmers you see flying about. They pair off to begin new subterranean colonies.
What Do Subterranean Termites Eat?
All species of termites eat cellulose, which is a primary component of such things as wood, plants, even paper. In nature, termites find this food source from decaying wood or plant matter.
When a colony becomes established on or near your property, they will sense out the nearest source of cellulose, which, unfortunately, is the timber of your home.
How To Prevent Subterranean Termites
To help prevent termites from establishing a colony on your property, follow these measures.
- Keep all your potted plants away from your exterior walls.
- Removing dead or rotting plant matter away from your foundations.
- Storing firewood for fire pits, at least 20 feet away from your home and not piled against a wooden fence.
- Keeping mulch at least 15 inches away from your foundations.
- Eliminating water sources from AC units, gutters, and downspouts.
- Sealing any gaps or cracks around your home.
- Cutting down and removing tree branches that touch your roof or exterior siding.
- Keeping your attic or crawlspace well ventilated.
Subterranean Termite Treatment
Treating your home for subterranean termites isn’t a DIY job. It takes expertise to identify subterranean termites and check on how long the colony has infested your house.
How To Get Rid Of Subterranean Termites
- First, we check for infestations and identify the species by looking for signs of termites such as mud tunnels.
- We then prepare and apply a liquid or foaming agent which kills termites on contact and prevents further termites from entering your property.
- We can also set up a baiting solution. The workers will ingest this bait and feed to the entire colony. In sufficient doses, it will kill off all the colony, including the queen.
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