Termites are eusocial insects in the epifamily Termitoidae that live in a strict caste society (like that of ants) where labor is divided. Several hundred to several million individuals may live in a single colony. Colonies typically contain nymphs, workers, soldiers, reproductives (both male and female) and one or more queen. Termites are found all over the world except in areas with intense, cold winters. One of the most common termite pest species in the United States is known as the Subterranean Termite.
What are Subterranean Termites?
Subterranean termites are any termites who nest in the soil, making them very adaptable to certain environments, including urban and suburban areas. Most subterranean termites are pale white in color, and may also be known as “white ants”. They flourish in areas with a warm climate, particularly in tropical regions, being a significant species of decomposition of wood and plant material. A common habit among these termites are the creation of soil tubes, that connect the termites to and from an exposed area.
Subterranean termites feed on wood or any other items that contains cellulose, including paper, fiberboards and even some fabrics.
Why do I have them?
Arkansas is home to three types of termites that, in their natural environment, aerate the soil and break down decaying materials. Unfortunately termites do not know the difference between a tree and your wooden walls. One particular type, the Formoasn Termite is not considered ‘established’ in Arkansas, though they are well known in neighboring states such as Texas and Louisiana. Simply living in an area with termites or living near a wooded environment puts you at risk for an infestation.
Are these pests dangerous?
Termites are of little concern to your health and in many cultures they are even considered a delicious snack! However, termites can cause extensive – and potentially dangerous – damage to the structure of your home or other building, and it is not uncommon for Formosan termites to also cause damage to concrete, brick or plastic. They have also been known to fell trees – a potential risk if your home just happens to be in its path.
How do I know if I have them?
You may be unlucky enough to happen across their destructive habits in your home, come across individuals in the colony or even find a nest. Soil tubes are also a tell-tale sign that you have termites – these little dirt tunnels may appear on your walls. Termite damage may not be realized for many years, and just because it’s not seen, doesn’t mean it’s not there. A trained pest control professional can give you a through home check to make sure you do not have any termites. The most frequently damaged structures include doors, window frames and wooden floors.
How do I prevent Subterranean Termites?
Preventive measures are always a good way to begin, especially if building a new home. Wood can be pressure-treated and the soil surrounding your home can also be chemically treated to create a barrier. Individuals in a colony can also be exterminated using baits such as feeding stations.