Here in the Pacific Northwest there are actually two major types of termites: Dampwood termites and Subterranean termites.

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Termites Identification

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites cause the most damage of any termite species. These termites build distinctive tunnels, often referred to as “mud tubes,” to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. They eat wood 24/7, and can be voracious eaters. Over time, subterranean termites can critically damage a building structure, sometimes causing a total collapse. Subterranean termites threaten homeowners across the country, as they’re found in every state in the U.S except Alaska. Subterranean termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage each year. They also eat paper products, cellulose-based products, and a variety of other plant-based goods. Since subterranean termites build their nests underground, damaged wood usually has an accumulation of soil or mud within the tunnels of the wood they are eating. Since subterranean termites only eat the softwood, damaged wood appears to be layered, the result of the workers not eating the hardwood portion. In addition, subterranean termites feed “with the grain” rather than across the grain, as do drywood termites. The nest is usually found below ground, however when sufficient moisture conditions are available to support the above-ground nest, they an be above ground, or if the colony is old and well established.

Dampwood Termite

Dampwood termites are the largest termites in North America. Dampwood termites nest within wet wood and areas of high moisture content. Mostly found in the forests, they live in stumps and fallen trees. They are an important part of the ecological system. Swarm season is in late August or September and usually in the evenings. Fortunately they are not often a major threat to homes. When Dampwood termites are encountered in a house structure, there is always going to be a bigger problem such as a leaky roof, plumbing issues such as a burst pipe, or rotted food somewhere. It should be noted that dampwood termites can live in decorative stumps or logs in the landscaping surrounding a well-built home without threatening it in any way so long as moisture issues are monitored .

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Termites Control Methods

Subterranean Termite Prevention and Control

Start with reducing all soil-to-wood contact around your house. Remove all lumber, wood, plants, mulch, paper, cardboard, etc., from around the foundation. Create a space between mulch and your home. Keep plants a few feet away from your home. Monitor for moisture from pipes and improper drainage. Try to keep your crawl space dry and without cracks by annual inspections. Subterranean termites thrive in humid environments. Subterranean termites are unable to live unless surrounded by enough moisture. Subterranean termites need to move through wood or soil in order to get inside houses, having wood touching the foundation of homes makes those buildings susceptible to infestation. Any fissures in home foundations or gaps in siding offer termites the opportunity to come inside. Call a professional as soon as you think you have termites and have them assess the issues.

Dampwood Termite Prevention and Control

Dampwood termite extermination and/or termite control is accomplished by solving the moisture problem. However if you do not know what you are doing you can make the issue worse. A professional can assist in spotting issues and recommend professional assessments of the damage as well as apply the pesticides needed to handle the pest.