Sunday, 28 July 2013

Termite Facts and Its Classification


Termite Species Found in Southern California:
  • Drywood termites
  • Subterranean termites
  • Dampwood Termites
How to Identify These Termites:
  • Drywood termite workers are a creamy white color and grow up to ½ inch long. Drywood termite swarmers have a dark brown body with a reddish brown head and grey colored wings.
  • Subterranean termites are similar in color to drywood termites but are a lot smaller.
    Subterranean termite swarmers are black with grey colored wings, can sometimes be confused for flying ants.
  • Dampwood termites are the largest of the species and can grow up to an inch long.
    Similar in color to drywood termites.
What to Look For Around Your Home:
  • Piles of sand-like droppings is an indication of drywood termites
  • Discarded wings. All species shed their wings. You may notice these wings around windows and doors, termites are attracted to light during swarming.
  • Bubbling paint and/or blisters on wood, this is a sign of possible drywood termite droppings pushing up against the skin of the paint.
  • Mud tubes. Subterranean termites build mud tubes in order to get around your home looking for food (wood). Most commonly found on the exterior foundation, inside interiors in the walls and ceilings and also in garages.
Termite Notes:
  • Drywood termites live only in the structure of a building and do not need moisture or a soil contact to survive. Colony sizes can range from 2000-2500 termites. Treated with Bora-Care and Termidor. Swarming season starts throughout Orange and LA Counties around September and can go on into November. (Fall)
  • Subterranean termites nest in the soil but can travel above ground using mud tubes. Inside these tubes they can keep the humidity and moisture levels the same as it is in the soil, so they can survive when foraging for food (wood). Colony sizes can range from several hundreds of thousands to millions! Treated with Termidor. Swarming season starts throughout Orange and LA Counties around March and can go into May. (Spring)
  • Termite Queens can live up to 30 years.
  • Combined weights of all termites outweigh humans.
  • Termites have been around for 250 million years.
  • Subterranean termites can eat up to 7 pounds of wood a year. (UC Berkeley).
  • Termites eat 24 hours a day, they never sleep.


Termites are also commonly known as white ants (even though they are not closely related to ants) and exist all over the world where there is warm weather, moisture and humidity. They were thought to belong to the isotera family of insects but recently they have been accepted into the epifamily Termitoidae (of the cockroach order Blattaria). Research has shown that the closest relative to the termite is the cockroach.

Termites live in colonies that can consist of a few hundred to millions of individual termites. Each colony consists of a queen, king, nymphs (semi-mature young), workers, soldiers and winged swarmers (reproductive termites of both genders). When you consider that the Queen lays nearly 6000 eggs a day and lives for about 25 years, it's not hard to see how one colony of termites can quickly destroy any structural foundations or wooden structures of any kind.

Termites eat a diet of cellulose which can be found in dead wood (timber in houses), decomposed plants, dead grass and dung. In nature termites are responsible for recycling dead trees, stumps, fallen trees and broken tree branches but nobody wants them recycling their homes. 

There are many species of termite in Australia but it is the Subterranean termite that are the most destructive to our homes. Termites can travel up to 100 metres from their nest looking for food. They always make sure to protect themselves from the outside by building mud tunnels or tubes, they don't like being exposed. That's why they can eat out an architrave in a house and still leave the layer of paint making it appear as solid until you put your finger through it.

Subterranean termites live in large underground nests and travel through the soil until they reach a food source (your home) and build mud tubes to gain access. It's the worker termites that then begin to chew on the timber leaving it hollow inside and structurally unsound.

The wood eating subterranean termite is a master at remaining hidden and silently devouring wooden structures therefore the most effective methods have to be deployed to eradicate them. There are a few choices when it comes to termite treatment and termite control which include termite bait stations and chemical barriers


Post a Comment