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Learn about the different types of termites

worker and nasute termites on decomposing wood

Termites are small, but they are very destructive pests, ceaselessly chewing through timber, flooring, wallpaper and virtually any other organic material in the home. They feed constantly, causing an average of more than $5 billion in property damage annually. There are well over 40 distinct species of termites in the United States, though they can be broadly divided into three primary types: dampwood, drywood and subterranean.

Dampwood Termites

As the name suggests, dampwood termites are most often found in wood with a relatively high moisture content. They are frequently found in damp, rotting logs, mulch piles and occasionally in firewood that has gotten wet. These termites are generally larger and slightly darker in color than other species. Most dampwood species do not require contact with the soil. Although their preference for abundant moisture means they generally do not infest homes, a water leak from a roof or plumbing fixture can provide enough moisture to support a colony.

Drywood Termites

Often found in dry, fallen trees, firewood, aging utility poles and other dry wood sources, drywood termites can be a threat to homes because they require little moisture and generally do not need soil contact. They often stay hidden inside the wood on which they feed, only becoming apparent due to the damage left behind. Drywood termite colonies are usually smaller than other species, and they are frequently attracted to new home construction, door frames and wood siding. Wood furniture is also vulnerable to infestation, particularly if the wood has not been properly treated.

Subterranean Termites

By far the most significant threat to homes and property, subterranean termites live in the soil and are responsible for some of the largest insect nests in the United States. Subterranean colonies can sometimes reach more than two million termites. Because they require contact with the soil in order to survive, these termites get around through mud tubes that connect their nests to food sources such as trees, utility poles, fence posts and wood-framed homes. With their massive colony sizes and voracious appetites, subterranean termite species can have devastating effects on a home. Structural timbers, foundations, flooring and even certain plastics and other materials are at risk when a subterranean colony is nearby.

Professional Help

If you’d like to control termites before they become a problem, contact Clegg’s Pest Control. Or you can call on the phone at 888-672-5344 for a complete evaluation of your home or business. You can also download our free residential termite guide here.

Copyright: atthawut / 123RF Stock Photo

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