What are termites?

Similar to ants, termites live together in colonies, but that is where the similarities end. While many people think the two are related, termites are actually closely related to cockroaches. Termites are unique creatures as they are one of the few able to convert cellulose into a usable food source. Subterranean termites are a common species of termites found living throughout Texas, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma, while Formosan termites have been detected in Texas. These wood-destroying pests often find ways to invade our yards and structures.

formosan termites chewing wood

Formosan Termites

A type of subterranean termite that lives in vast colonies, Formosan termite colonies sometimes have more than a million members. This termite species' large colony size and aggressive feeding habits allow them to cause significant damage in just a few short months, often without raising suspicion. Formosan termites are known as "super termites" because of the extensive structural damage they cause. They can hollow out a piece of wood, leaving only a thin outer shell. These termites create both underground nests and aerial nests. To maintain their high moisture needs when nesting above the ground, they generate carton nests.

subterranean termites on wood

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites live together in large colonies, but their colonies are generally smaller in size than those of the Formosan termites. Though their colonies have fewer members, the damage they cause across the U.S. each year is high because they are more widespread. Subterranean termites nest solely under the ground, mainly traveling through the soil from their nest to a food source. However, when they need to travel above ground, subterranean termites create and move through mud tubes which they use to protect themselves from dehydration and predators.

Termite colonies divide their members into groups or castes, consisting of workers, soldiers, and reproductives (kings and queens). Below is a brief description of each caste:

  • Workers are the smallest in size of the three castes, but make up most of the colony. In general, workers and nymphs are soft-bodied and look like larvae. These termites are wingless, blind, and spend most of their life in the ground, nest, or inside the piece of wood they are feeding on.

  • Soldiers have worker-like bodies, only with hard, darker-colored heads and large jaws. They use their elongated head and jaws to help them protect the colony from danger.  

  • Reproductive members of the colony are winged, have hard exoskeletons, and are darker in color. They have two sets of wings equal in length and are almost twice the size of the termite's body. These reproductive members are also referred to as swarmers.

Are termites dangerous?

Termites are dangerous in the sense that the damage they cause to the properties they invade can be devastating. These wood-destroying pests invade yards and homes and work without being noticed for months or even years. Often, it's only after the damage presents itself that a termite infestation is detected.

Termites cause a variety of problems inside homes, including:

  • Buckling floors

  • Floors that feel spongy when you walk on them

  • Warped or bowing ceilings

  • Doors and window that no longer open and close properly

  • Small holes in exposed pieces of wood

  • Blistering paint on walls

Termite damage can become very extensive and, therefore, quite expensive to repair. Add that most homeowners' insurance doesn't cover the cost of termites damage, and you can't afford to experience a termite infestation!

Formosan termites are also known to attack non-cellulose materials such as plaster, plastic, and asphalt, in search of food and moisture, adding to the damage they can cause. 

Additionally, it is always important to remember that termites are attracted to areas of moisture. Both subterranean termites and Formosan termites prefer to feed on water-damaged or decaying wood. So, having a problem with termites is often an indicator of an underlying moisture problem in or around your home that needs repair. 

Why do I have a termite problem?

When termite swarmers leave a colony, they mate and then seek out a suitable place to create a new nest and colony. Workers also find their way onto properties near their nest as they move through the soil or mud tubes foraging for food. Termites can be a problem on any property, offering them the moisture and food sources they require to survive.

Subterranean termites enter inside through tiny cracks and crevices in the foundation or through pieces of wood, making direct contact with the soil. 

Like subterranean termites, Formosan termites move inside through the soil, but they can also invade structures aerially. These unique termites like to build carton nests on buildings with a flat roof, high rises, or any other roof where water pools.

Where will I find termites?

Subterranean Termites - Subterranean termites move into a home through wood floor joists and then into the structural wood behind walls or under floors. They regularly invade water-damaged wood near window sills, water pipes, air conditioners, or other areas where moisture is present. 

Formosan Termites - Formosan termites move inside through damaged roof shingles or spaces in exterior walls. You'll typically find them feeding on wood and other materials located below ceilings and between walls voids. 

Both subterranean and Formosan termites feed on wood that's out of our view which is why finding a termite infestation is so difficult. They are not like ants that freely wander around your home's surfaces; people rarely see termites due to their reclusive nature.

How do I get rid of termites?

Trying to deal with termites on your own is never the best course of action. Instead, partnering with an experienced pest control professional is the best way to get rid of termites. At White Knight Pest Control, we protect properties from termites. We understand how stressful, frustrating, and expensive dealing with termites can be. Our professionals provide the support and services needed to completely eliminate these wood-destroying pests from properties in our service areas.

Our ongoing termite control services, including inspection, treatment, and monitoring, will solve your termite problem and prevent them from returning. To learn more about our termite control solutions and how we can partner together to keep termites away from your residential or commercial property, reach out to us today!

How can I prevent termites in the future?

At White Knight Pest Control, we will help you prevent problems with termites using our regular treatments. In conjunction with our comprehensive services, the following prevention tips will help you keep termites out of your Texas, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, or Oklahoma home!

  • Eliminate entry points: Seal up spaces in the foundation. Make sure to replace missing or damaged roof shingles. Limit soil to wood contact around your home and on your property, such as porch steps, deck posts, wooden trim, or shingles. Repair gaps discovered in your home's exterior walls.

  • Eliminate food sources: Replace mulch with non-organic gardening materials like crushed rock or rubber mulch. Rake back leaves and other debris away from the foundation of your home. Remove fallen trees, leaf piles, and other debris from your yard. Get rid of older or decaying fences, wooden furniture, or wooden play structures. 

  • Eliminate excess moisture: Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris to allow rainwater to flow away from your home's exterior. Place weather stripping around windows and doors to prevent water from seeping inside. Repair areas in your lawn that allow water to collect. Repair leaky pipes, fixtures, and drains. Use dehumidifiers to dry out damp basements and remove wood from your home damaged by water.

Helpful Termite Articles

The Key To Protecting Your Denver Home From Termites

What Every Phoenix Property Owner Ought To Know About Termite Swarmers

Houston's Complete Guide To Effective Termite Control

The Best Termite Protection For Salt Lake City Properties

How To Tell If Your Austin Property Has Termites


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