Termites are insects that mostly feed on dead plant material generally in the form of wood. With the majority of buildings in Southern California built from wood, termites have found an abundant food source in the structures of homes and other buildings. If left to feed freely, termites can cause serious structural damage. Termites are the leading cause of home damage in Southern California far surpassing fires, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Although other types of insects such as carpenter ants, and powder post beetles also destroy wood, the two most common wood-eating pests in the Southern California are dry wood and subterranean termites.

Dry wood Termites

Dry wood termites live within wood itself and are capable of dispersing throughout an entire building. Drywood termites leave piles of tiny fecal pellets resembling coarse sawdust. The pellets can often be found near windowsills and other areas within the building.

When a drywood termite colony matures, winged male and female reproductive insects are produced. During the autumn months, these winged termites, also known as swarmers, leave their own colony to create new colonies. The new colonies are sometimes created within the same building.

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Drywood Termites Wood Damage Fecal Pellets Swarmers

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites enter buildings from the soil beneath, and can destroy buildings at about eighty times the rate of drywood termites. Subterranean termite colonies build large colonies underground composed of elaborate mud tunnels and chambers. The termites also often build mud tunnels in the crawl spaces of buildings. The tunnels create a network of roads to and from food sources and the subterranean termite colony’s home underground.

Subterranean termite colonies are much larger than those of drywood termites and can contain up to 1 million members. The larger size of the colonies allows the termites to inflict greater damage to buildings in less time. Subterranean termites are highly organized into a caste system. The majority of subterranean termites are of the “worker” caste. The sole job of a worker subterranean termite is to consume cellulose material (e.g. wood) almost non-stop. Subterranean termites swarm in early spring.

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Subterranean Termite Wood Damage Damaged Wood Termite Tunnels

Structural Termite and Pest Control offers comprehensive pest control solutions that end termite infestations.

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