Back to Basics: Termites 101 – The Various Types

Oct 12, 2020

Fall is the time when kids go back to school. It is also a fantastic time for adults to take a step back and do some learning themselves. How about some insights into the wood-eating insect that causes billions of dollars in damage each year in the United States alone? In this series of articles, we will visit the diligent, relentless termite. You will learn about the different types, their habitat preferences, and reproduction cycles. Why? Because knowledge is power, and it helps you protect your home or office when you know your enemy.

When you see specks of sawdust in odd places or wings in your window sill, avoid blowing it off as flying ants or dust. Instead, contact the bug experts at Times Up Termite. We will come out for a free inspection and, based on our findings, offer a customized termite treatment schedule for your San Mateo area home. Rest easier knowing your home is pest-free with our help.

Type of Termites that Can Invade Your Home

In the United States, there are about 45 different species of termites. They are grouped into three main categories, subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. Below is a breakdown of the basics for each type:

  • Subterranean: Images of the dwarves from The Lord of the Rings movies may pop into your mind when you think of the word subterranean. In the world of termites, these bugs also live within the earth and work vigorously toward their goal. Only, they are not digging for gold; they want wood and cellulose. Here are the highlights of our earth-loving pests:
    • Castes: The reproductive swarmers are dark-brown to black, ¼ to ½ inches long, and have two pairs of wings of similar length. The workers have no wings, are cream-colored, and only about ¼ inch or less long. The soldiers also don’t have wings, but they do have large mandibles, with creamy-white bodies and brownish colored heads.
    • Evidence of Infestation: Because their nest is built underground, you will find damaged wood with soil or mud accumulated around and in it. Subterranean termites prefer softwood, so you may see damaged timber that looks like it is layered. They also feed with the grain.
    • Habitat: These bugs love to build their nest below ground because of the moisture that is found there. They will create mud tubes to access food and still never face the outside world.
  • Drywood: Another type of wood-boring bug found nibbling at your home or furniture is the drywood termites. They get all the moisture they need from the humidity in the air, so you will not find them below ground. Here are a few more interesting facts:
    • Castes: Drywood termites also have three main castes. The workers tend to look the same as their subterranean cousins, so it is critical to understand the swarmers’ and soldiers’ differences. Swarmers have two sets of wings with the front set exhibiting heavy, well-pigmented veins. They can be up to 12 mm long. The soldiers have large mandibles that include teeth and are larger than the subterranean group.
    • Evidence of Infestation: These buggers don’t need ground moisture. Instead, they will build their nests right in the wood they infest. They will quickly bed down in your rafters and start eating your home from the roof down. They also like your wooden furniture.
    • Habitat: Do you have dry wood anywhere in or around your home? That’s where they will build their nest.
  • Dampwood: Of the three types of termites, the damp wood variety loves wet wood. If you have a water leak anywhere in your home, that is an open invitation for these pests to take up residence. Consider these traits:
    • Castes: They are much larger than subterranean termites and can be found in three groupings. They have very large heads with mandibles on the front. Including their wings, the swarmers can reach 25 mm long. The soldiers come in a little smaller at 20 mm long, and the workers, called immature termites, can be as long as 20 mm.
    • Evidence of Infestation: These bugs don’t construct mud tubes. Instead, they cover up any entryways with their fecal matter. It can be challenging for the untrained eye to spot an infestation. It pays to have an inspection done by a professional to reduce the effects of their damaging eating habits.
    • Habitat: They love wet wood. It can be rotting in the forest or the beams of your home. It doesn’t matter.

Get an “A” in Protecting Your Home with Help from Times Up Termite

You don’t have to learn everything about wood-eating pests to ensure your family’s safety. The team from Times Up Termites knows what they are looking for and what termite treatments work best for your situation. We offer many options, including Altriset, an eco-friendly, reduced-risk pesticide. It’s an excellent choice for homes with children, pets, or pregnant moms. Give us a call to find out more we’re happy to help!

Call 510-568-7200 to speak with our team of experienced, licensed professionals at Times Up Termite, Inc. You can also contact us online to request a free termite inspection in San Mateo.

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