Subterranean termites are actually beneficial when in the soil, since they break down materials that contain cellulose, like dead trees. These insects live within the soil, needing moist soil or other sources of moisture to live. They only become problematic to homeowners when they begin to feed on parts of their house, through weakened areas.
How Do Termites Enter a House?
Termites maintain their moist environment and protect themselves by building earthen tubes that run from the moist ground into your structure. In many cases, they build the tubes on chimneys, porches, or inside walls, where they are not visible.
In a small number of situations, if wood and water can be obtained from a source that is not soil, a subterranean termite colony can be established without contact with the ground. This may occur in structures where the termites can get water from leaking roofs, pipes or condensation.
How Do Termites Live?
Termites are quite social, and they live in well-organized colonies. Their life stages include the egg, and an immature and then an adult stage, according to entomologists. Most adults are workers, and they can sometimes be found in wood that has been damaged. Workers are responsible for caring for the other termites in the colony, and for finding wood for food.
Soldier termites protect their colonies from ants and other attackers. They have also been found in damaged wood. Termites digest wood because they have microorganisms that live within their gut.
What Are Swarmers?
When colonies are large or old, they may produce adult termites known as swarmers. These have wings, and are the means by which termites start a new colony. These termites usually become active in the months of spring. Swarmers are more visible than other termites. They are sometimes confused with flying ants. (more…)