According to Ebeling, subterraneans are by far the most important pests of buildings throughout the world and the principal effort in prevention and control is directed against these insects. From a standpoint of prevention and control, the chief characteristic of subs is that they ordinarily maintain contact with moist soil. |
Subterranean termites live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas aboveground that can contain up to 2 million members. They build distinctive "mud tubes" to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air. Termite colonies are organized into castes depending on tasks -- workers, soldiers and reproductives. The characteristics of a subterranean termite are dependent on the termite's role in the colony Habits
Subterranean termites live underground and build tunnels, referred to as mud tubes, to reach food sources. Like other termite species, they feed on products containing cellulose. Subterranean termites swarm in the spring -- groups of reproductive termites go off to start new colonies. Habitat
Subterranean termites need contact with the soil to survive and live underground. They can build tunnels through cracks in concrete. Threats
Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species. They can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time.Subterranean termites require moist environments. To satisfy this need, they usually nest in or near the soil and maintain some connection with the soil through tunnels in wood or through shelter tubes they construct. These shelter tubes are made of soil with bits of wood or even plasterboard (drywall). Much of the damage they cause occurs in foundation and structural support wood. Because of the moisture requirements of subterranean termites, they are often found in wood that has wood rot.
Subterranean termites feed exclusively on wood materials and have strict moisture requirements. With these characteristics in mind, a lot can be done to prevent an infestation by eliminating the food and moisture resources in their environment. Listed below are a few practical ways to prevent termite infestation by modifying their habitat.
Repair structural and plumbing leaks. Pull all mulch and landscaping back at least 6 inches from the foundation. Remove piles of trash and debris from around the home. Remove dead tree stumps from the yard. Keep firewood stacked away from the structure. Make sure downspouts are long enough to direct water away from the foundation. Keep gutters clean. Avoid direct wood-to-ground contact when building porches or decks. Siding, brick veneer, or foam insulation should not extend below the soil grade.
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