Western Subterranean Termites
Subterranean termites are found throughout most of the continental United States. As their name suggests, they nest underground in colonies of 2 to 10 million individuals. Ranging from 4.6 millimeters to 12.3 millimeters long, these termites utilize their underground tunnels to remain unseen while seeking out wooden structures to eat. Workers tend to be cream colored and wingless, while soldiers have a large brown head and a cream-colored, wingless body. Swarmers are nearly black in color and possess two wings.
As the most destructive termite species in the United States, subterranean termites can use their numbers, saw-like jaws, and the ability to stay hidden to cause irreparable damage to a home. These termites need to connect their underground tunnels to feeding locations, so locations such as plumbing penetrations and cracks in the foundation are ideal entrances. From there they extend their mud tubes to the nearest source of wood and begin feeding. Besides the presence of these tubes, the presence of discarded swarmer wings and visibly damaged wood are another sign of an infestation.
The best prevention against subterranean termites is making sure that they cannot enter a home. Cracks at ground level where their tunnels can access a structure must be sealed shut. A licensed pest control professional may also be called in order to check the home and ensure that it is adequately termite-proofed. In the event of an infestation, a professional can also treat the area.
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