Termites are social insects that have been around for over 250 million years. They live in colonies which are usually located in the ground or in wood. They feed on cellulose from wood by-products such as paper and there are about 2,500 described species, with about 50 species in the United States.
Termites are usually divided into 3 groups based on the location of their colony: subterranean, drywood and dampwood. In this region, the subterranean termites reign supreme. They are the most common and widely distributed termite in North America. These termites live anywhere south of the line where the annual minimum temperature is -22˚F. This includes southern Ontario and southward through the eastern United States and into Texas.
Termites look similar to ants; however upon closer inspection they are very different. While each insect has 3 body regions (head, thorax, abdomen), the thorax and abdomen in termites are joined and look like one larger body region.
Eastern subterranean termites have 3 castes: worker, soldier and reproductive (swarmer). Some colonies are started from two swarmers breaking off into pairs, shedding their wings and burrowing into the soil. They will mate and only produce a few eggs in the first year. However, when the queen matures she will produce about 5,000 – 10,000 eggs a year. She may live for many years whereas workers may live for 1-2 years. Several years are required before a colony can reach the typical mature size of 60,000 or more workers. A few swarmers may be produced after 3 or 4 years. Swarming typically occurs during the spring but it may be followed by a couple smaller swarms until winter sets in.
Eastern subterranean termite colonies are usually located in the ground. They build mud tubes to travel between food sources and the colony. Termites can enter a structure through a crack less than 1/16” wide. If there is a constant source of moisture available (like leaky pipes), colonies can exist above ground and without ground contact. These above ground colonies are called secondary colonies.
If you think you may have termites or would like to learn more about a preventative treatment, contact us to schedule a free inspection. We will properly inspect your home or business and offer an estimate for treatment. Extended warranties are available on all termite treatments. These warranties are available for purchase on an annual basis.