Termite Facts

• Termites cause more than $5 billion in damage to U.S. homes each year.
• A small colony of approximately 60,000 termites can eat a linear foot of 2-by-4 in about five months.
• Subterranean termites are estimated to cause more than 90 percent of all damage in the United States. More than 5 million homes have some type of termite problem each year.
• Termites damage more homes than earthquakes and storms combined.

Workers represent the majority of the colony population and are responsible for caring for eggs, constructing and maintaining tunnels, foraging for food and feeding and grooming of other cast members. They are white and soft bodied.

Soldiers are responsible for defending the colony. They are white, soft bodied with an enlarged, hardened head containing two large jaws, or mandibles, which are used as a weapon against predators.

Winged Reproductives produce the offspring in the colony and swarm at certain times of the year. Colonies can have both primary reproductives (one king and one queen), and hundreds of secondary reproductives to assist in egg laying and colony growth.

The King assists the queen in creating and attending to the colony during its initial formation. He will continue to mate throughout his life to help increase the colony size

The Queen termite creates the colony by laying eggs and tending to the colony until enough workers and nymphs are produced to care for the colony. She can live for more than ten years and produce hundreds of eggs each year. Colonies can produce several million termites with the help of secondary queens who also produce eggs.

Look For Signs

You’re more likely to discover you have a termite problem by discovering the evidence they leave behind rather than the actual termites themselves. If you encounter any of these telltale signs, there’s a good chance termites are busy snacking on your home:

  • Piles of small, delicate wings shed by reproductives
  • Small piles of sawdust
  • Mud tubes built by termites for aboveground travel
  • Damaged or hollow sounding wood
  • Pinholes in drywall or wallpaper
  • Of course, it’s quite possible to have a hidden termite problem even if you never notice any of these signs.

The best way to be sure is to contact a licensed pest control professional to conduct a complete inspection of your home.

If you find live termites or termite damaged timbers DO NOT disturb the area. DO NOT use spray can or insecticides on the termites. If sufficiently disturbed, the termites are likely to move elsewhere, and may not be rediscovered until further obvious damage has been done.