Subterranean termites cause more damage to homes each year than fires, floods and hurricanes combined. According to the National Pest Management Association termites cause $5 billion in U.S. property damage annually. These pests do so much damage because they are generally inconspicuous and the damage occurs inside of your walls.
Subterranean termites are normally soil dwelling, but they do come out of the surface to swarm within the months of February and March, making this the best time to discover a termite problem. The winged alates or swarmers are brought to the surface when a rainy day is followed by a warm sunny day. These swarmers are typically found flying around inside homes by the hundreds. If there are swarming termites around your home it means that they have been feeding off of the wood found in that area. This type of termite only swarms when the colony has existed for three or more years, and when there are good conditions to support a new colony.
Subterranean termites swarm to get out of their original colony so that they can mate and start a new colony. After they swarm they will shed their wings and burry themselves in the soil. The one of the females will become the new queen. Queen subterranean termites can produce an egg every fifteen seconds, meaning that they expand rapidly into a full colony.
Subterranean termites have colonies of a few hundred thousand workers. To sustain a colony of this size they must be able to locate lots of wood. Cellulose is food for termites, it can be found in wood products such as baseboards, trim, wooden trusses, paper and even wooden supports of your home. This type of termite colony can eat a door-jamb worth of wood within a week.
Subterranean termites are known as random and continuous foragers. They feed on many different areas, because they have a central colony underground and they travel up to one hundred feet away from it to feed. They create a tunnel system under the ground to get to different areas. So the termites may be feeding on a dead stump in the neighbors yard, your home and a swing set across the street at the same time.
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