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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Stoddard

All About Eastern Subterranean Termites and Treatments

Updated: Sep 28, 2023


Subterranean termites are the most damaging bugs in Flagler County and Volusia County, Florida. Hundreds of people from these areas hit the internet and search for, call "pest control near me," every year to tackle these destructive termites. Thousands of termite swarms occur yearly in thousands of homes and properties.


Subterranean Termites will find and destroy any wood or cellulose-based materials they can readily access. Subterranean termites prefer to live underground, seeking cellulose in wood. It can be hard to detect them and tricky to get rid of them since they are so small and tend to be hiding behind the walls rather than in visible locations. It is critical to eradicate the destructive subterranean termites before they cause significant structural damage to your home or business.


Termites cause tremendous damage to homes. If you live in Daytona Beach, need Palm Coast Pest Control, New Smyrna Beach, Deltona, and the surrounding Volusia and Flagler Counties of Florida. These Subterranean Termites cause billions of dollars of extensive damage every year in Florida alone. Suppose you have a house or business in Daytona Beach, Florida, or one of the towns mentioned in this pest control blog post. In that case, you have a high chance of encountering a subterranean termite or Drywood termite concern at some point and will require a termite treatment company. Having an annual WDO inspection to check the property by a trained pest control company specializing in termite treatments is also a great idea.


There are thousands of different termite species globally, with many termite species in the United States. The three most problematic in Florida are Formosan, Eastern Subterranean, and Drywood termites.


What Do Eastern Subterranean Termites Do?


Subterranean termites play a role in the ecosystem but can also be a concern for homeowners and property managers. Here's what they do:

Ecological Role:

  1. Decomposers: Subterranean termites are crucial in breaking down tough plant fibers, recycling dead and decaying trees, and converting cellulose into organic matter that enriches the soil. This decomposition process helps in nutrient cycling.

  2. Soil Aeration: Their extensive tunneling activities help in aerating the soil, which can aid in improving soil structure and increasing water infiltration.

Interaction with Human-made Structures:

  1. Wood Consumption: Subterranean termites primarily feed on cellulose, a major component of wood. As a result, they can cause significant damage to any wood-containing structure, such as homes, furniture, and other wooden items.

  2. Mud Tubes Construction: Subterranean termites build mud tubes to protect themselves from open air and predators and maintain a humid environment. These tubes are made of soil and termite excretions and are often a clear sign of a termite infestation. They are typically found extending from the ground up the side of a foundation or across other structures to reach a food source.

  3. Swarming: Mature colonies produce winged reproductive termites that swarm during specific seasons to find mates and establish new colonies. The presence of these swarmers, especially indoors, can be a sign of an active termite infestation nearby.

  4. Economic Impact: Subterranean termites are responsible for billions of dollars in damage worldwide each year. The damage they cause to structures can be severe, often requiring expensive treatments and repairs.


Eastern Subterranean Termite Behavior

These termites create colonies in the soil and then move from underground into a building by constructing mud tubes, sometimes referred to as shelter tubes. Subterranean Termites can gain entry in as little as a 1/8-inch opening.


Like Formosan termites, some types of subterranean termites may consist of a million workers in a single colony. Subterranean termites in numbers like this would be enough to infest a neighborhood.


These Subterranean termites locate food by fanning out in various directions, searching for wood or cellulose materials to ingest. Once a worker termite finds a food source, it uses chemical pheromones to communicate with the other termites to signal a designated feeding site.


The leading supplier of the colony is looked after by Subterranean Termite workers. The Termite Workers feed the king, queen, and soldiers. The king and queen produce new termites while the workers eat wood and feed the others.


Soldier termites help to guard against ants and other invaders. Ants, a natural predators of Termites, will readily attack colonies of termites by dismantling heads and consuming the termite bodies. Soldier termites have sharp mandibles, which they will readily use for defense. However, ants are quicker, stronger, and have a body much like armor than termites, resulting in the termites' demise.


Tips For Preventing Termites


Termite prevention is crucial as these pests can cause significant structural damage to buildings. Here are some tips to help prevent termites from infesting your property:


Eliminate Moisture:

  • Termites are attracted to moisture. Ensure that your home's foundation has proper drainage to prevent water accumulation.

  • Repair any leaking faucets, water pipes, and exterior AC units.

  • Keep gutters and downspouts clean and ensure water is directed away from your house.

Wood-to-Ground Contact:

  • Avoid direct wood-to-ground contact, which can provide termites with easy access to food and moisture. This includes wooden portions of the house, door frames, and deck posts.

  • Store firewood, lumber, or wood debris away from your home's foundation.

Seal Entry Points:

  • Regularly inspect your home's foundation for cracks. Seal any that you find to prevent termites from sneaking into your home.

  • Seal openings around water and gas lines.

Regular Inspections:

  • Periodically inspect your home for signs of termites, such as mud tubes, bubbling paint, hollow-sounding wood, or visible termites.

  • Consider having a professional pest control company perform an annual termite inspection.

Treat the Soil:

  • Pre-treatment of soil during construction can help prevent termite infestation.

  • Consider perimeter treatments using termiticides for existing buildings.

Use Treated Wood:

  • Use termite-resistant or pre-treated wood for structures or additions, especially for those in close contact with the ground.

Maintain Landscaping:

  • Regularly prune shrubs, trees, and other vegetation to ensure they don't touch your home's exterior, as this can provide a pathway for termites.

  • Avoid using wood mulch right up against the foundation. If you use it, monitor it for signs of termite activity.

Monitor Ventilation:

  • Ensure crawl spaces, basements, and attics are well-ventilated and dry. Termites are less likely to inhabit these areas if they are dry.

Bait Stations:

  • Consider installing termite bait stations around your property as a proactive measure. These stations can help detect and control termite activity.

Consult with Professionals:

  • If you're uncertain about potential risks, consult with a professional pest control company. They can provide expert advice and may recommend treatments or preventive measures.

By taking these steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of a termite infestation and potentially save thousands of dollars in damage repairs.


Termite Castes Explained

A caste means a social ranking, or it can mean a social insect system. Termite colonies usually consist of a king, a queen, soldiers, workers, larvae, and eggs. Termite Eggs hatch into larvae. Nymphs become worker termites. Soldiers feed on cellulose.


Alates is the name given to reproductive winged termites, which are future Termite kings and queens. Knowing how to identify the difference between ant and termite swarmers is important. These new Termite queens will lay eggs to begin a new cycle of termite families. On average, it may take up to a total of eight years on average to complete this whole cycle. You can see swarming activity in southeastern Florida between late February and late May or June. I have seen termite swarms as early as December, depending on certain weather conditions. Subterranean termites have several different castes (worker, soldier, and reproductive), and each has its own distinct appearance:


Worker Subterranean Termite Description

  • Size: Typically between 1/8 to 3/8 inch (or about 3mm to 9mm) in length.

  • Color: Creamy-white and lacks wings.

  • Appearance: Soft-bodied, and they resemble small, pale ants or larvae.


Soldier Subterranean Termite Description

  • Size: Roughly the same size as workers but can be distinguished by their larger heads and powerful jaws.

  • Color: Creamy-white body with a slightly darker, orangish-brown head.

  • Appearance: They have strong, well-defined jaws (mandibles), which they use for defense, primarily against predators like ants.


Reproductives (Alates or Swarmers) Identification:

  • Size: Usually between 1/4 to 1/2 inch (or about 6mm to 12mm) in length.

  • Color: Dark brown to black.

  • Appearance: They have two pairs of long, nearly equal-length wings that break off easily. The wings are a key distinguishing feature, especially during swarming events when these termites leave their colony to mate and establish new colonies. After mating, they shed their wings.

Generally, subterranean termites are often mistaken for ants, especially the flying varieties. However, while both winged ants and termite alates have two pairs of wings, termite wings are of equal length, and ant wings are not. Additionally, termites have a broad waist between the thorax and abdomen, whereas ants have a pinched waist.

If you suspect you've encountered subterranean termites, especially within or near your property, it's advisable to consult with pest control professionals to confirm their presence and take necessary action. It is very common for Flying Ants to be confused with flying termites.


How to Tell The Difference Between Flying Ants and Flying Termites



Best Termite Treatment Method For Subterranean Termites

A Trench and Treat termite treatment method with a superior product is the best-known science-backed treatment method for Subterranean termites. Professional Pest Control Companies drudge a trench up to 6 inches wide and up to 6 inches deep, depending on the product used. A liquid termiticide is then strategically applied to the Trench. Locations with stones, weed barriers, roots, or other places that may prohibit a trench will have treatment by rodding methods.


Locations with concrete or asphalt around the property require drilling through the slabs. The liquid termiticide is applied through the termite treatment holes. After the completed application, the termite treatment holes are then patched with appropriate plugs.


Fipronil and Imidacloprid, found in many premium liquid termiticides, can stay active in the soil for up to 10 years, backed by science. This treatment method has the most backing, is the most thorough, and provides the most protection of a home since these science-based treatments bind to organic material such as the soil in the Trench and do not leach or break down for an extended amount of time.


There are millions of subterranean termites in Volusia County homes located in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, and Palm Coast. Subterranean termites can destroy buildings at an alarming rate. Inland towns of West Volusia, such as Deltona, Debary, and Sanford, are also not spared when it comes to Subterranean and Drywood Termites.


Florida homeowners have performed renovations only to find that termites have silently been destroying their homes. Termite damage can be inconvenient, time-consuming, and expensive to fix; therefore, we always recommend having a WDO inspection performed at least once a year and keeping a termite policy on your home since termite colonies can remain unnoticed for multiple years until they start swarming.


Termite Bait Stations for Termite Eradication

Imperial Pest Prevention, in some instances, uses Trelona bait stations with an annual baiting system. These systems are not as effective as the Trench mentioned above and treatment methods for treating termites. These Termite Bait Stations are primarily used on homes surrounded by concrete around, homeowners who do not wish to drill holes around a home's perimeter, or those homes with certain landscape restrictions. Bait stations are installed 8 to 10 feet apart from the structure being treated.


The size of your property defines the number of termite treatment stations needed. Every station is installed 12 to 18 inches away from the foundation and 10 to 12 inches deep in the soil. Before each Termite Treatment Station is installed, we ensure there are no obstructions, such as underground irrigation water lines.


Trelona Termite bait stations are installed anywhere termites may forage, such as near woodpiles, tree stumps, or falling tree limbs and branches. Other conducive areas include high moisture locations like irrigation systems, gutter downspouts, and AC units.


Each station contains a compressed termite bait cartridge formulation of cellulose and Noviflumuron, an insect growth inhibitor. Noviflumuron stops subterranean termites from molting and developing. Disrupting the termites' development in this way leads to the whole colony declining and dying.


Subterranean Termite Liquid Treatment Vs. Bait Stations

Subterranean termites are notorious for the extensive damage they can cause to structures, and managing them effectively is crucial. There are two primary methods of treatment and control for these pests: liquid treatments and bait stations. Each method has its own set of advantages and drawbacks.


Subterranean Termite Liquid Treatment:

How It Works:

  • A liquid termiticide is applied to the soil around and beneath a structure to create a treated zone.

  • Termites passing through this zone either die or carry the termiticide back to the colony, potentially poisoning other termites.

Advantages:

  • Immediate Effect: The barrier acts quickly, killing termites on contact or soon after they traverse the treated zone.

  • Proven Track Record: Liquid treatments have been used for many years and have a well-established history of effectiveness when applied correctly.

  • Protective Barrier: When applied correctly, it creates a continuous barrier around a structure, preventing termites from entering.

Drawbacks:

  • Disruption: The application might require drilling into slabs or foundations, which can be invasive and disruptive.

  • Environmental Concerns: The chemicals used can be potent, and environmental concerns may be associated with their use.

  • Limited Residual Effect: Over time, the barrier can break down or be disrupted, requiring re-treatment.

Bait Stations:

How It Works:

  • Bait stations are strategically placed in the ground around a structure.

  • Termites feed on the bait, which contains a slow-acting poison, and carry it back to the colony, eventually leading to the death of the colony.

  • Some systems are designed to signal when termites are active within the bait station.

Advantages:

  • Less Invasive: No need to drill into a structure's foundation or floor slab.

  • Environmentally Friendly: Typically uses less toxic chemicals than liquid treatments, and the bait is only toxic to termites.

  • Colony Elimination: Targets the entire colony, not just the termites in the immediate area.

  • Monitoring: Some systems allow for continuous monitoring, alerting property owners to termite activity.

Drawbacks:

  • Slower Action: Bait stations might not provide immediate relief from an active termite infestation since it takes time for the termites to find the bait, consume it, and distribute it throughout the colony.

  • Maintenance: Bait stations require regular monitoring and maintenance to ensure they remain effective.

  • Initial Miss: Termites might initially miss the bait stations, making them less effective if not properly placed or if termites don't encounter them.


Hybrid Termite Treatments

Imperial Pest Prevention may recommend a trench and termite treatment alongside bait stations for homes currently infested with termites. If your home has unique needs, Imperial Pest Prevention will customize a special treatment for your specific needs. Contact us if you suspect termites or other wood-destroying organisms in your home. Imperial Pest Prevention is a full-service pest control company that provides tent fumigation, termite spot treatments, Termite trench and treat methods, and termite bait station services.


Why Choose Imperial Pest Prevention for Termite Treatments?


  • Expertise and Experience: With years in the industry, Imperial Pest Prevention has a team of skilled professionals well-versed in the habits and habitats of termites. Their knowledge ensures that treatments are thorough and effective.

  • Advanced Treatment Methods: Utilizing the latest technology and methods, Imperial Pest Prevention ensures that termite colonies are targeted at their source, providing long-lasting protection for your property.

  • Eco-Friendly Solutions: Committed to the environment, Imperial Pest Prevention offers treatments that are not only effective against termites but also safe for your family, pets, and the ecosystem.

  • Customized Plans: Understanding that every property is unique, the team offers customized treatment plans tailored to your property's specific needs, ensuring maximum protection.

  • Affordable and Transparent Pricing: With no hidden costs and competitive rates, Imperial Pest Prevention offers a combination of quality and value. Their clear pricing structures ensure you know what you're paying for.

  • Reliability and Trustworthiness: Imperial Pest Prevention has built a reputation based on trust and reliability as a recognized name in the community. Their commitment to customer satisfaction ensures that your termite concerns are addressed promptly and effectively.

  • Comprehensive Guarantee: Confidence in their service quality means that treatments come with a guarantee. Should termites reappear within the covered period, they'll be back to address it at no extra charge.

  • Educative Approach: Beyond just treatments, Imperial Pest Prevention believes in educating clients on termite prevention, helping them understand and minimize future risks.

Choosing Imperial Pest Prevention means investing in peace of mind, knowing that your home or business is in expert hands, protected from the destructive potential of termites. Updated 9/28/2023



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