Complete Guide to Eastern Subterranean Termites

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Eastern subterranean termites are common in Tennessee and can damage structural timber in homes or buildings. Damage typically results from years of unknown infestations. Use this resource as a guide to understand eastern subterranean termites avoid structural damage to your home or business.

Eastern Subterranean Termites – An Overview

Subterranean termites are social insects and live in large colonies with thousands or even millions of termites. These termites are a serious concern to homeowners with older homes. Over time, a colony of termites can cause severe damage to wooden structures.

Identification & Appearance

The physical appearance of eastern subterranean termites depends on their role in the colony caste system. Termite colonies are comprised of workers, soldiers, and reproductives. Each has their own distinct role and appearance.

Reproductives are the termites you see most often because they leave their nest to mate. They have black bodies with translucent wings and measure 10-12 mm long.

Inside the nest, you’ll find the soldier termites. These caste members measure about 6 mm long, are wingless, and have large yellow heads with long, black, pinching mandibles.

Also inside the nest are workers. These termites are similar in size to soldiers, wingless, creamy white in appearance, and sterile.

Diet

Eastern subterranean termites feast on wood and cellulose. In nature, this may include tree stumps, fallen tree limbs, and decaying wood.

In a home or office building, termites feast on structural wood, wood fixtures, and paper products. Typical termite colonies can consume up to five grams of wood in 24 hours

Habits & Habitat

Termite colonies need locations with high levels of moisture because they’re constantly at risk of dehydration. That’s why many eastern subterranean termite colonies live under the ground.

Their nests involve intricate networks of tunnels made of mud and saliva. Tunnels are the diameter of a pencil and can extend 150-300 feet from the colony’s nest. If a tunnel is ruined, workers labor to repair the damage and sustain their environment.

To keep the colony alive and thriving, temperatures around the nest must stay between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (including humidity levels).

Patterns in Reproduction

Following spring rainfall, mature reproductive eastern subterranean termites leave their nests in swarms to mate. These winged insects go in search of nesting sites where wood touches moist soil.

Once they select a site, termites lose their wings and search for a mating partner. When a female selects her partner, they burrow into the moist soil for mating.

After mating, the female becomes known as the queen and starts laying her eggs. The male termite becomes the king and the pair live together for the rest of their lives.

Damage Caused by Eastern Subterranean Termites

While termites are a valuable component of many outdoor ecosystems, they can create extensive damage to older homes and structures with wooden beams.

In many cases, termites aren’t discovered until the damage is evident. Their reclusive nature causes termite infestations to go unnoticed for years resulting in potentially thousands of dollars of damage.

Managing Termite Infestations

If you discover a termite infestation, call pest control experts to remove the nest and infestation before repairs are made.

You can help keep termites from invading your home by removing wood debris (including stacked firewood) from nearby and repairing water-damaged wood right away. Make sure your basement, cellars, and crawl spaces have adequate drainage and seal any visible cracks in the foundation.

At Inman-Murphy Termite & Pest Control, we offer the experience, tools, and eco-friendly solutions to eliminate termite infestations in homes or office buildings. If you’re experiencing termite issues, get in touch today for a free estimate.

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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is President of Inman-Murphy Inc., one of the fastest growing pest control companies in Memphis, TN.

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