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The Eastern Subterranean Termite

Most homeowners shudder at the thought of termites, and rightfully so. These creatures play a key role in the ecosystem by breaking down decaying matter. However, they will also happily breakdown wood in your home. There are many different species of termites in the United States, but the one that is by far the most popular is the eastern subterranean termite. This termite can be found in over half the states and is responsible for billions of dollars of damage to structures every year. This species builds its nest underground and maintains close contact with soil at all times, otherwise it would dry out. When these termites infest a home, they will build mud tubes to transport themselves around the area. They also replace the wood that they consume with soil to keep themselves surrounded with it.

Each colony of termites has several different members such as workers, swarmers, reproductives and soldiers. It is the job of the workers to provide food for everyone else; therefore these are the members of the colony that will cause damage to your home as they feed on your structures. Worker termites are relatively small, usually no more than ¼ of an inch. Unlike some other members of the colony, they do not have wings and they can range in color from white to yellow to translucent. You may have heard of the term swarming associated with termite behavior. This occurs when certain adult members of the colony leave the nest in one big “swarm” and seek out nearby sources of food and places to expand their colony and reproduce. Depending on where in the country you live, swarming may occur at different times of the year. However, the most common time for swarming of this species of termite is the spring. If you live in an area that is prone to termite infestation, you should definitely consider preventative termite treatment plans. It’s important to understand termites, what they do and how they do it as this will better prepare you to identify and eliminate these pests from your home.

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