Sometimes there’s trouble afoot, and sometimes there’s trouble underfoot.
In Southern California, drywood termites are the most common home-destroying pest, but subterranean termites (Reticulitermes hesperus) can eat homes at almost 80 times the rate of their above-ground brethren.
This intrepid productivity comes from the fact that most subterranean termites (or “subs”) are part of the motivated worker caste, whereas drywood termites have more division between the reproductive, warrior, and worker roles. And all these working subs have the same goal in their little bug brains: to eat your home.
Subterranean Termite Characteristics
Like their name implies, subs live off the moisture in dirt. However, once springtime rolls around (usually between February and May) they seek out wooden structures in which to eat, mate and create colonies. They attack homes from the ground, preferring structures where the wood touches earth, but they’ll find their way into any structure through fissures, crevices, and even slabs and plenum-type foundations on modern-style homes.
Mud Tubes and Tunnels
Perhaps the most telling (and shiver-inducing) characteristics of a subterranean termite infestation are the mud tunnels they build to access your home. These are often found underneath houses, in crawlspaces, where the subs just need that extra alley-oop to reach the wood. These mud tubes also provide shelter from weather and other exterior forces.
As convenient as these mud tunnels are for the termites, however, finding them underneath your house is as jarring as coming upon an alien cave system, except the stalagmites are full of bugs. Not only do hanging mud tunnels evoke the most visceral imagery of an alien invasion, but they provide the access points for the subs to enter your home… so, in this case, the alien invasion analogy isn’t too far off.
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Subterranean Termite Entry Points
As subterranean termites generally enter your structure from underneath, there are plenty of conducive entry points around your home, including:
- Earth-to-wood contact
- Foundation cracks and seams
- Excessive ground moisture
- Wood debris in yard
- Irrigation hitting the structure
- Faulty grade to foundation
- Leaky plumbing fixtures
Warning Signs of Subterranean Termite Infestation
Subterranean termite infestations are commonly discovered from a network of mud tubes, but they also leave behind other signs, including:
- Swarmers arriving early in the spring
- Wings broken off near windows
- Wood damage
Subterranean Termite Treatments
Keeping Your Home Free From Subterranean Termites
Looking to ensure your home isn’t conducive to subterranean termites? DIY subterranean termite prevention practices include:
- Check the grade of your soil near your foundation. If water can pool around your home, add dirt and slope it away.
- Ensure your gutter downspouts are positioned away from your foundation. If need be, add downspout extenders to push water farther away from your home.
- Have foundation cracks repaired when you can. Keeping water away from your foundation will prevent these cracks from growing larger.
- Remove logs or wood debris in your yard, as these are perfect breeding grounds for termites.
- Reduce earth-to-wood contact around your home as much as possible. Keep things like wood siding, door frames, and window frames at least 6 inches above the ground.
- Seal any leaking plumbing fixtures both indoors and outdoors.
Staying up to date on home repairs is crucial to safeguarding your structure from these wood-chomping insects.
Subterranean Termite Detection and Inspections
Annual or biannual termite inspections from Lloyd ensure termites stay far away from your home. With more than eight decades of experience treating pest problems in Southern California, our pest control experts will survey your property with a careful eye, monitoring conducive conditions for subterranean termite colonies and taking swift action to prevent these insects from moving in. Early detection is critical to the structural integrity of your home, so don’t skip out on your yearly inspection by our professionals.
Call Lloyd Today to Protect Your Property From Subterranean Termites
Keep subterranean termites from unearthing themselves underneath your Southern California home. Call Lloyd Pest Control today for comprehensive termite prevention and control that ensures your property stays damage-free.