Subterranean Termite

Subterranean termites actually live underground, hence the name. Overall, they are the most destructive wood-destroying pests in the US. This area of California has a dense concentration of subterranean termites, second only to the south-eastern coast. These are the smallest termites, their swarmers reaching only 3/8″ long. According to biologists, they have the most sophisticated families of any other creature in the world. Subterranean swarmers can be distinguished by their almost black color. Workers and soldiers are considerably smaller, and resemble white ants. When the subterranean termites swarm, they are looking to start a new colony in the ground. The ones that do make it to the ground burrow in and start a colony there. These colonies can reach as many as 200,000 members after 5 years. They need moisture to survive, which a reason they live in the ground. But they also need cellulose material for food. This could be wood on, or in the ground. Or they can build mud tubes from the ground to the food source. Many times these tubes are hidden, and require careful inspection to locate. They could be on a foundation wall inside or outside, especially where the siding is close to the ground. Many times stucco houses have no exposed foundation, and termites have an easy pathway behind the stucco from the ground. They can also tube through cracks less than 1/16″ wide. This poses a big problem is houses of slab construction. Termites can enter through the joint between the slab and the foundation, or through cracks almost anywhere. They will be hidden under flooring, baseboards, and behind walls until the damage or infestation becomes noticeable. Colonies underground are large, deep, and sometimes far away from where the infestation is. Occasionally a secondary colony can be formed that lives above ground. Usually this happens when leaky conditions create enough moisture above ground to support them. Subterranean termites don’t eat across the woodgrain, they only eat the soft layers of wood. This eating pattern, along with soil present in the wood galleries makes it easy to tell their damage from that of other termites.


Hydrex Pest Control of the North Bay Inc.
4685 Scotts Valley Rd.
Lakeport, CA 95453
(800) 760-3028

Hydrex Pest Control of the North Bay Inc.
1120 Industrial Ave
#18 Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 795-6345


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