Types of Termites
What if we told you that termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage each year?
In addition, what if we told you there are more than 4,000 different types of species of termites in the world and there are about 45 different kinds of species of termites found in the United States?
You can imagine how these types of termites can cause serious damage to your house and cause you to spend a lot of money on expensive repairs.
In this article, we will discuss how you can identify the different types of termites, the signs of termites, as well as any preventive measures you can take to prevent termites in your home. We’ll also walk you through what a termite inspection looks like if you are a resident in Texas.
How to Identify Different Types of Termites in Texas
Termites are small, pale soft bodied insects that live in large colonies. Most termites will typically feed on wood and can be highly destructive to timber – which includes homes and furniture.
Due to their size, they are often confused with ants. And because they manage to stay well hidden, they can be hard to locate.
In fact, you will likely identify and detect the signs of termite damage before you actually spot a termite themselves.
Before a treatment plan for termites, an exterminator will need to determine the species during the termite inspection. It is important to know the variety of termite we are dealing with before any action takes place.
If you are based in Texas there are typically two types of termites. Primarily we are dealing with either Formosan Subterranean termites or Southeastern Drywood termites.
Below are the differences between the two specifies and some identifiers which will help us differentiate between the two:
Formosan Subterranean Termites
Subterranean termites are the most common termite and they contribute to most of the damage caused by termites in the United States. They make their homes in the soil, building large nests around your home. Using tunnels they travel to and from your home looking for cellulose food sources like wood and timber that make up your home.
There are several different species of subterranean termites but the most common one in Texas is the Formosan Subterranean termite. This species is known to be the most aggressive type which destroys wooden structures faster than any other subterranean species. This is because their colonies multiply faster and grow to be much larger than other species of termites.
Southeastern Drywood Termites
Drywood termites set up nests directly inside dry wood materials like your walls, roof, and foundation. This is unlike Formosan termites which tunnel into your home through the soil.
Drywood termite colonies usually contain fewer members, but that does not make them any less destructive. They are not only attracted to rotting and decaying wood but will also consume healthy wood within your structures. Southeastern Drywood Termites swarm in Texas from early spring to fall.
Below are some characteristics between the two types of termites in Texas that can aid in identifying and differentiating between the two species.
- Color: creamy white to dark brown or black
- Size: ⅛ inch
- Shape: long and narrow
- Head: rectangular
- Damage: Subterranean termites begin their feeding process from the group and enter a building through the substructure. Wood damaged by this specific species develops galleries, also referred to as hollow tunnels, which run along the grain of the wood.
- Color: creamy white to light brown
- Size: ⅜ to 1 inch
- Shape: long and narrow
- Damage: Drywood termites enter structures near the roof line or other exposed wood to begin building their colony.
If you notice either one of these signs of termites in home, please reach out to SafePro Pest Control to help get rid of termites.
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What Causes Termites Infestation
As a homeowner, your property is one of your biggest investments. That means termites that are set on chewing your home can be a nightmare for some homeowners. They are relentless as they chew through the wood in your home and therefore destroy your home’s structure and overall value.
No matter the age of your home – yes, new homes get termites too – you’ll want to learn more about the causes of termites so you can avoid an infestation and keep your home termite free.
To prevent your home from a termite invasion, it is important that you understand the behavior of termites, what they eat, and the early signs of a large termites infestation.
Although there are many types of termites, subterranean termites and drywood termites are the most common types of termites in Texas.
While most termites are attracted to wood, they each have specific preferences. As the name implies, drywood termites seek out dry woods while subterranean termites prefer moist soil nearby while they gnaw on wood that is in contact with the ground.
Below are some factors that can attribute to what causes termites to find your home appealing:
Factors That Can Attribute to What Causes Termites to Find Your Home Appealing:
Even if it’s not the rainy season, there can be enough moisture in your house that can attract termites. Be it through leaky pipes, improper drainage or poor airflow, all these factors can create moisture which can be the ideal place to house common termites.
Wood touching your home foundation
Termites love to eat wood. If your home is made of wood – and most are – it may be the perfect opportunity for termites to invade your home’s interior.
Subterranean termites need to move through wood or soil to get inside our house. If there is any wood touching your home’s foundation, you may just be welcoming termites into your home.
This also includes wood such as mulch, shrubs and firewood. When stored or placed too close to your home, you are just giving access to termites to infest your house.
Cracks in Building Exteriors
If you have gaps or cracks in your home foundation, you have the perfect entry point for termites as the area is dark and moist and extremely appealing to them.
Subterranean species build mud tubes in these imperfections and use the tubes to move around indoors. Additionally, cracks around windows and doors allow swarmer termites of all species to get inside and start colonies.
Depending on where you are located, areas like the south and gulf coast are more prone to experience difficulties with termites. Therefore, it is important to know the first signs of termites so you can keep your house safe from a termite infestation.
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Four Common Types of Termites
There are more than 4,000 different types of species of termites in the world (source https://www.natureswaypestcontrol.com/learning-center/termites/four-types-of-termites/), all of them varying in shape, size, and behavior.
However, all termites do have something in common which is their love for gnawing wood and their ability to damage homes and property.
Here are the four different types of termites in the United States that you need to look for and then call a termite inspection, if you suspect you have a termite problem:
By far, subterranean termites are the most destructive and widespread species in the United States. As the name suggests, these termites live in underground colonies and stay in contact with the soil. These termites have to live in damp conditions in order to survive.
To protect themselves from open air, subterranean termites build mud tubes for safe passage and access to food sources. If there is a moisture source such as a leaky pipe, they may live above ground and form secondary colonies.
These termites are found in softwoods such or wood byproducts such as newspapers, drywall, or even cardboard. These items would be considered food sources.
Since they are small and their colonies are large, even a small crack or gap in your foundation can quickly lead to significant damage.
One way to tell if the wood in your home has been infested by subterranean termites is by the appearance of the holes on the damaged wood that appear like a honeycomb.
There are six different types of subterranean termites which are present across different states across the US:
- Arid-Land Subterranean
- Desert Subterranean
- Formosan: this is one of the most common types of termite in texas.
- Eastern Subterranean
- Dark Southeastern Subterranean
- Western Subterranean
Compared to subterranean termites, drywood termites do not need to be near soil and prefer to eat dry woods. These types of termites are commonly found in the southwest including northwest Mexico and in coastal states.
Drywood termites commonly establish nests in roof materials, such as attics, and structures such as wooden support beams, furniture, and hardwood floors.
Drywood termite swarming typically occurs on sunny days after a sudden temperature increase. These termites are homebodies, setting up house within the wood itself. Their colonies tend to be smaller than those of subterranean termites, so they cause damage at a slower rate.
There are three types of termites in this species:
- Western Drywood, found in southwest such as Arizona and California
- Southeastern Drywood, these are the most common types of termites in Texas, Florida and Alabama
- Desert Drywood, found in Arizona and southeastern California
If you haven’t guessed by the name, dampwood termites infest wood with high moisture content. Dampwood termites rarely go inside a property since dry wood is generally used for building.
However, they might be feeding on the old tree stump right next to your home. They do not live or burrow underground as they do not need contact with damp ground. However, they do require wood in contact with some moisture.
Dampwood termites are commonly found on and adjacent to the western coast of the U.S. and in the desert or semi-arid southwest.
This species has four types of termites present in the US:
- Desert Dampwood, found in southwest regions such as Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California
- Florida Dampwood present in south Florida and Florida Keys
- Nevada Dampwood, found in Nevada, Idaho, and Montana
- Pacific Dampwood, located in California, Oregon, and Washington
Formosan termites are a type of subterranean termite which originated in China but are the most aggressive termite species in the US. They prefer mild climates such as those in the southern U.S. or Hawaii.
Their colonies are similar to those of subterranean termites, which are larger in size. Since their colonies are large, they are able to consume a great amount of wood compared to other termite colonies.
Formosan termites build underground colonies that include intricate mud nests that are well-contained within a walled structure. These types of termites can be problematic to control if they infest a structure.
Depending on where you are located, you will be more susceptible to different types of termites. If you experience any evidence of termites in your home, feel free to contact SafePro Pest for your Termite Control needs where our experts can identify and take care of different types of termites in Texas.
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What Are the Signs of a Termite Infestation?
Different types of termites can be found in 49 states in the US which serves as a national problem for the country. The only exception is the state of Alaska.
So unless you live in Alaska, your home is susceptible to termites. Unfortunately, they can live on your property or inside your home causing destruction before you detect them.
If you are in Texas you may experience drywood termites which dig deep inside wooden structures or subterranean termites which are discreet intruders hiding underground. Finding evidence of termites in house early on can be beneficial as it will save you lots of money and prevent further damage.
Protecting your home before signs of termites arise is one of the best ways to not only save money, but also keep your family safe when it comes to these pests.
If you are worried that your house may be colonized by termites, here are some factors that will help you locate different signs of termites:
Swarmers or discarded wings
Swarmers, also known as reproductives, are young female and male winged termites. In the spring season, termite swarmers will emerge from their nest to mate and search for a new location to start a colony, which usually includes our homes.
Discarded termite wings can be found near closed windows, doors and other home-access points. This is caused when termites swarm out of their nest to mate and find a place to start a new colony. When swarmers take flight, they shed their wings around your home’s foundation like window sills.
If you see any discarded wings, there is a big probability that your house may be infested by termites.
Mud tubes can be found wherever the ground meets your house or any other food source like a tree or shed. Subterranean termites build mud tubes, also referred to as shelter tubes, to serve as bridges between their colony and the wood they consume.
Not only do these tunnels help block out air but also help maintain a specific level of humidity and temperature for the termites to survive. These tubes are made of soil, wood, and debris which can be found near the home’s foundation.
As termites feed on wood, homeowners should look for blistering pieces of wood. One approach to find out if there is a termite infestation is by tapping a piece of wood. If you hear a hollow sound, it signifies you have located a termite infestation as termites eat wood from inside out.
Additionally, wood damage can be found below and behind surfaces like walls and floors. This can be caused by termites chewing through wood in search of cellulose, leaving behind long grooves. With time, these grooves weaken the wood and create structural damage.
Drywood termites nest inside of wood and while eating the wood, they are infesting. Drywood termites produce wood colored droppings or frass. If you find a small pile that looks like pellets, there is a high possibility of it being a sign of drywood termite infestation.
How Can We Get Rid of Termites?
Dealing with termites is a dilemma. Not only are they difficult to detect, but once they invade your home, they start feeding on the foundation on your house and furniture, causing you great financial damage.
In addition, their miniscule size adds to the problem as they cannot be easily detected unless they have done massive damage or have set up large colonies.
If you suspect the presence of termites in your home, you need to take preventive measures and make sure you get rid of them.
The following is a guide to ensure the prevention of termites:
Getting rid of moisture
Moisture is one of the main contributors of termites infesting your home. Since Texas is a humid and hot state, keeping moisture at bay can be a real problem. Unlike termites in New Mexico, where the air is dryer, you may want to consider investing in a dehumidifier and maintain a cool temperature through your home’s AC during the warm days to remove moisture from the indoor air.
Damaged roofs and moisture-laden walls are the ideal hosts for termites. Fix and seal any leakages promptly and carry out frequent inspections especially in basements or corners of your house that remain neglected.
Maintaining a Distance Between Soil and Wood
Ensuring that there is little distance between the soil and wood is important as this will discourage termite attacks on the foundation of your home and furniture, especially if you have a garden.
Using stones or cement to separate soil from the wooded area can create a physical barrier helping you prevent the infestation of termites.
Think You Have Termites? Safe Pro Pest Can Help!
Dealing with termites is not an easy task. From its detection to its extraction, it can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. However, if you are based in Texas and are having issues with any of the various types of termites in your home, Safe Pro Pest has got your back.
Not only do we offer free consultation and inspection of your house and office, but we also offer top notch quality service. Our quick service allows you to receive expert care from our licensed, bonded, and insured exterminators within 24 to 48 hours after you schedule our service.
Termites can destroy your home’s foundation and furniture and can cause threats to your family’s safety. Do not waste any time and book Safe Pro Pest for a termite inspection in Texas.
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