Subterranean termites are social insects that live in colonies and build their nests underground. They feed on wood and other materials containing cellulose fibers such as, paper, cardboard, burlap, etc. buried below or near the soil surface. Symbiotic microbes in their gut digest the cellulose in the wood and then share these nutrients amongst the colony. Worker and solider termites are blind, avoid light and prefer high humidity and moisture. They build mud tubes to reach wood and other food sources above ground. Mud tubes are made of soil and saliva and are typically the diameter of a pencil. Established termite colonies produce large swarms of winged reproductive males and females in the early spring to mate and disperse. These swarms are most commonly the number one indicator to a homeowner they have termites.
Subterranean termite infestations occur when workers find structural wood in contact with soil or when they build mud tubes from the soil across foundation walls and into structural wood. Termites may also gain access through cracks in slabs or seams where plumbing and/or electrical lines penetrate the concrete. Foundations made of hollow blocks, masonry or rock provide a few options for termites to navigate through to gain undetected access. Once they have gained entry inside, termites still need to maintain access to the soil around or under the structure as the soil provides them with the necessary moisture to remain healthy. Common wood members infested by termites inside structures include sill plates, header joists, floor joists, wall studs and flooring.
Termite damage to wood has a distinctive appearance by the presence of a compact fecal-soil mixture within the tunnels and, if active, live termite workers and soldiers may also be present. As these tunnels are constructed, this soil mixture is brought into the tunnels to help maintain humidity. In active damage the soil within the tunnels look moist and in old damage the soil appears dry.
Conditions that could potentially attract termites to your home include structural contact with soil, foundation cracks, ground slopes towards foundation, poor drainage, leaking gutters/downspouts, wood debris against/around the home, plumbing leaks and poor ventilation.
Termite and ant swarmers are often confused with one another. If a swarms occurs within your home, please call Secure for proper identification and control solutions.

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