Subterranean termites are significant threats to homeowners because this is the most common species among all the termite species in the US. It is present almost in each state of the US except Alaska.
These termites form the mud tubes to keep their connection with the soil and their food. They prevent their contact with the open air. That’s why these termites make the mud tubes.
Subterranean termites’ identification:
Subterranean termites differ from other termites in their color, shape, and size. Some of the features of the subterranean termites are as follow:
Color: these termites are creamy-white to dark brown in appearance and easily visible.
Shape: these termites have a long and narrow body, whereas the head of these termites is oval.
Size: the length of the subterranean termites is 1/8 inch long. These are pretty large in size and visible.
Legs and antenna: these termites have six legs, and antennas are present on their body. Antenna assists them in navigation.
The division among the subterranean termites:
Subterranean termites are the major eaters of the wood in the US and divided into three major groups that are
Reproductive: the king, queen, and alates are reproductive in the colony because only they can reproduce in the termite colony. The queen is the largest among all the reproductive, and the king is much smaller than the queen.
Alates are also known as winged termites because they have wings, and they are going to be the future kings and queens.
Workers: the workers are blind and sterile but perform the vital functions of the colony. The worker termites collect the food for the colony, establish the tunnels and repair the damage in the colony. Worker termites break down the cellulose to feed the nymphs and the soldier termites.
Soldier termites: soldier termites are the armed forces of the community. These termites fight against the foreign invaders and protect the colony from the enemies. The soldier termites are limited in number and can live up to 1 to 2 years.
Signs of infestation:
The presence of mud tubes on the exterior surface of the walls is the direct sign of the termite infestation. The mud tubes are the protective tunnels that keep them connected with the soil and the food source.
The tunnels provide the worker termites a defensive way to prevent them from drying out. The worker termites can easily reach the food source by moving in the mud tubes.
- Mud tubes are usually a mixture of soil and wood in the form of a narrow canal.
- The other symptoms of the termite infestations are:
- Discarded wings near the windows and doors
- Noise of termites
- Blisters on the wood and paints
- Bubbling of the wood
- Presence of frass near the infestation site. Frass is the droppings of the termites. It is mud-like in appearance.
If you see any of these symptoms in your home, then your house is infested with termites, but mud tubes will confirm that the subterranean termites cause the infestation.
Subterranean termite’s prevention:
It would be best if you took some preventive measures to stop the action of termites.
- The first thing you should do is to keep the moisture away from the wood because the termites are attracted to the water. Also, these creatures cannot live without water, so if you cut off the supply of moisture, these creatures will automatically die.
- Keep the proper contact of the wood with the air. The contact with air assists in evaporating the water. Termites cannot withstand dehydration and die automatically.
- Try to maintain a distance of wood from the soil. It would help if you kept the distance of one inch of your home foundation from the soil because direct contact with the soil will become an easy pathway for the termites.
- Expose the wood to the sunlight. This is an effective measure. If the termite infestation has begun, then expose your furniture to the sunlight for three days. Termites do not like the sunlight and die. Also, the sunlight causes the evaporation of water, and the outcome is dehydration.
Habits of subterranean termites:
Subterranean termites live in the form of colonies, just like the other types of termites. The colony is divided into the queen, king, worker, and soldiers. The king and the queen are the main producers of the colonies.
The queen approximately lays 5000 to 10000 eggs per year. The queen also produces the alates. Alates are the flying termites that swarm up once they get mature. The alates tend to make new colonies. They flew when they get mature and mate with the alates of other colonies.
The good mating season in the spring, in which they swarm up and shed their wings after mating. Then they start their new colony and become the king and the queen of that colony. At first, the queen produces few eggs for the first time, but it makes several thousand eggs yearly when the queen matures. In this way, the termite colony grows at an exponential rate.
The termite colony takes almost four to five years to reach the 6000 colony members. The mature colony has 6000 members, and all the members feed on cellulose.
The subterranean termites are the major destructor of your house because these termites are prevalent in the US. Subterranean termites are more giant among all three types, and the primary symptom of these termites is mud tubes.
You will see the mud tubes on the exterior surface of the walls and wooden furniture. These mud tubes keep them connected with the food and the soil and prevent the dehydration of these termites.
These termites also divide themselves into the king, queen, worker, and soldier termites. All the termites have their functions, and all are blind and sterile except the alates and king and queen.
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