Understanding How Subterranean Termites Impact Your Home

Posted on: 1 February 2022


Like most insects, termites come in many shapes and sizes. Their appetite for wood makes nearly any termite species a threat to homeowners, but subterranean termites can be especially harmful. You can find these critters across most of the United States, but they're especially prevalent in parts of the southeast, extending all the way through Florida.

Unfortunately, these pests are so common in some areas that infestations are all but guaranteed, and it's only a matter of time before you'll need to deal with one. Understanding how this species of termites operates can help you prepare your home and work with a pest control expert to stop an infestation before it results in substantial structural damage.

What's In a Name?

The "subterranean" in the name of this species is not an accident. These pests live underground in large colonies similar to ants. Unfortunately, they can do far more damage than occasionally raiding your kitchen from some errant sugar or a spilled drink. Although these termites spend much of their time underground, they constantly forage, searching for new food sources.

To make matters worse, a typical subterranean colony may exist a surprising distance from your home. The main concentration can even be on someone else's property! The colony's foragers can travel hundreds of feet from their homes while searching for fresh food. Along the way, they dig tunnels and create mud tubes when forced to travel aboveground.

How Do They Affect Your Home?

Subterranean termites have an instinct to seek out food, which causes them to dig up into many unwanted places, including your house. They will tunnel around obstacles such as concrete, ultimately finding the structural wood elements of your home. Simply sealing them out is often a counterproductive strategy since they can find their way in through even tiny cracks in concrete.

Once inside your home, they can cause extensive damage before you're even aware that you have a problem. Termites don't necessarily gather on the outside of wood, so it's common to find beams, studs, and even wood trim hollowed out from the inside. You may even discover that termites have already eaten through critical structural elements of your house.

What Can You Do?

If you have an existing problem, you'll need a pest control expert to perform a complete evaluation. These specialists will determine the exact species infesting your home and evaluate your structure for existing damage. The solution will usually involve a combination of sealing entry points and applying powerful termiticide chemicals to destroy the colony.

On the other hand, long-term control or proactive preventative measures may involve bait stations or other steps to prevent termites from taking hold. This approach is often more cost-effective than dealing with an acute infestation, so it's worth considering investing in termite control even if you don't yet have an infestation in your house.

Contact a company like Hillco LLC for more information.