Subterranean termites are one of the most destructive termites in the United States. They contribute to the annual property damage that's in the billions. Unlike the drywood termites, their nests are in the soil and not in the wood itself. They build shelter tubes (mud tubes) to explore and migrate along wood, pipes, walls and other surfaces. This protects them from other pest like ants. In the pictures you can see a few examples of what they look like. Basically it's dirt with fecal pellets and saliva mixed together to form their mud tubes. Even though they come from the soil, they have been known to infest areas a few stories above ground. The wood or cellulose is their food source. Making it a natural priorty to search and find it. Termites especially subterraneans can fit through openings 1/16" or even smaller. This leaves cracks in concrete slab foundations, very tiny openings around pipes, cracks in stucco and other parts of the structure. Subterranean termite colonies consist of hundreds of thousands in to the millions. And some colonies can be many many years old. Unlike drywood termites fumigation is not effective, because of the colony being in the ground and it has no proper way of exterminating it. Soil treatment is the perfered method of treatment. Subterranean termites have basically the same cast of members as the drywood termites do. They are a little smaller and their alates (smarmers) are very dark brown to black. The pictures also show what swarmers tend to look like. They swarm in spring time unless their colony is disturbed or feels threatened. Homes with raised foundations are sometimes at high risk of damage due to the substructure going without anyone paying visual attention to it for years. Plus plumbing leaks and earth to wood contact can also lead to an infestation. Seeing mud tubes, swarmers and damaged wood are basic signs of subterranean termites. It's always best to call the professionals at Budget Termite Control to come out and evaluate your situation. Or if you are not seeing anything and have not had a termite inspection in a while, it might be time.
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