Types of Termites and How They Affect Your Home

When you first discover that you have termites in your home, there is no telling how much damage they have done. Sometime exterminators are too busy to rush right over to your property, and waiting for the guidance of an expert can be nerve wracking. Knowing a little bit more about the varieties of these insects and the most effective termite treatments available can help to calm your nerves.


What are Termites?

Termites are a hive species of insect that eat cellulose to survive. In nature they play an important role in breaking down dead trees and other organic material. In your home, they are a pest that destroys the supports of the structure you live in. They can cause significant damage, and the repairs may not be possible without completely reworking large sections of walls. They are not all the same, and the subtle differences between the varieties will indicate how much of a threat they are.

Dry Wood Termites

Every living thing needs water to survive, and termites are no different. This variety absorbs moisture out of the air. They tend to prefer hot and humid climates, and are usually located near coastal regions. They target dry pieces of wood, and make their homes inside. They can be identified by the smooth bits of wood particles they leave behind.

An annual inspection can help you to spot these termites before they start to ruin your home. Regular maintenance of your water and plumbing systems is also essential to preventing an infestation in the first place. Leaky or sweaty pipes that do not drain adequately can leave humid and damp conditions perfect for drywood termites.

Damp Wood Termites

These types of insects do not typically target homes. They are very similar to drywood termites in that they absorb moisture from their surroundings, but normally they like to be inside of wood that is thoroughly saturated with water.

They prefer cool, damp, and humid climates. You are unlikely to encounter them in your dwelling unless you live in mountainous regions. If the support structures and beams of your house are saturated with water as a result of a damaged roof or inadequate drainage, these termites could be a problem.

Subterranean Termites

These are the most destructive variety. They get their moisture from the water in the ground and are known to burrow elaborate tunnel systems. While they eat the wood out of a home’s frame, they do not nest inside. They travel back and forth from your house to their underground labyrinth. It can take a long time to discover that you have an infestation of these termites.

The signsare not always obvious, but annual inspections by trained experts can help to reduce the risk that an infestation will do serious damage to your home. Small mud tubes form near the base of your foundation. Even if you have a solid concrete slab, it is possible for them to wiggle through tiny cracks to get to your wooden structures. Cracks in mortar or brick can also be an access point.

When you have found any termites, it is important to call an exterminator right away. Ignoring a termite infestation for too long will have serious financial consequences.