Subterranean termites are a highly destructive timber pest, causing major structural timber damage to residential and commercial buildings in the USA. Recent industry surveys suggest that most homes are at risk of a subterranean infestation particularly in warmer more temperate climates. Severe termite damage to buildings is on the increase since the more common use of softwood building and other landscaping timbers that termites find irresistible. Other important factors include building designs, automatic watering systems, landscaping and maintenance that encourage termite activity and/or allow hidden termite entry and infestation into a building.
The following are steps to take to make your home less inviting to termites.
- Eliminate standing water against your home or structure
- Maintain proper ventilation in crawl spaces
- Repair leaking plumbing & any drainage under the house
- Do not stack firewood close to the house
- Do not landscape with wood close to house
- Cut back shrubs away from foundation
- Do not over water shrubs, flowers and grass against your home or structure
Subterranean termites are small in size (about half the size of match-head) and soft bodied insects. They build a central colony nest from which they construct underground tunnels that radiate within a 100 yard radius from a central colony nest in search of a timber (cellulose) food source. Subterranean termites are highly secretive, preferring to enter a building through areas inaccessible to inspection, such as, through in-fill patios, fire heaths, expansion joints and cracks in concrete slab (on-ground) flooring.
Subterranean termites can pass through a 2 mm crack or an expansion joint (eating through the rubber compound) between adjoining concrete on ground flooring. They can also travel under parquetry and floor tiles to get to the wall framing timbers.
Common Termite Entrance
Common signs of Termite damage
Eric showing termite damage inside a wall
Example of carpenter ant damage, NOT termites