Wood Termite vs. Subterranean: What’s the Difference?

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drywood termitesSo you’re not a pro on termite species? Who cares? Well, you might if they start eating away at your house. And considering termites damage almost 600,000 homes in the U.S. each year, it’s good to know your species.

Preventing them from even getting near your home would be an even better idea. Knowing how to treat your home for termites can save both your home and your wallet. On average, Americans spend $2 billion annually to get rid of termites.

Based on which kind of termites you have, you’ll use different methods to fight them. Using a product for one kind of termite, won’t necessarily work on another.

Sometimes termites will have been chewing away at your home for years before you notice. Taking proper precaution can stop them in their tracks and save you loads of trouble and money.

But first, let’s highlight the differences between the two most prevalent types of termites in North America.

Let the games begin: drywood termites vs. subterranean termites, what’s the difference?

1. Nesting

A large difference between the two species of termites is how they nest. The subterranean termites’ nest in the ground. The subterranean termites use this method to protect themselves from predators.

This can create an open highway for varying attacks on your home. While subterranean termites make underground subway systems to get to your house, the drywood termites don’t need any ground soil or protection. They will arrive by air and don’t need much to stay alive.

Drywood termites make their homes in the wood they are attacking and will stay there until the wood is depleted and they can move onto their next victim. They use sneakier tactics than those of the subterranean. They are often not noticed until it is too late.

After all, an invisible flight arrival is a bit more inconspicuous than ground tunnels.

2. Meal Time

Let’s call the subterranean termites the picky child of the bunch. They are heavy eaters but are very selective about what they will and won’t eat. Subterranean termites prefer soft wood that is most commonly found in between grains.

Drywood termites will annihilate both the soft wood and the grains they encounter. By knowing their eating patterns you will be able to spot which kind of termite problem you have.

If you find clean destructions lines in your home that are sometimes surrounded by dirt or mud, then you may have subterranean termites visiting (or inhabiting) your home. If the damage seems a little more unruly and destructive, you are likely to be hosting a crew of drywood termites.

Drywood Termites are also extremely impolite and will leave fecal matter where they’ve chewed through.

3. Fecal Fun

Like any pest finder, fecal matter is usually the train that leads you to them. Even an insect as small as a termite leaves their matter wherever they please. But, each species has a different pattern for doing so.

Drywood termites create holes in the wood they are eating to push their fecal matter through. This creates what might resemble small piles of sand on the floor.

Subterranean termites leave behind a cardboard-like matter that is called “carton”. They are extremely resourceful insects and use this carton matter to line their muddy travel tubes.

4. Where Drywood Termites Can Be Found

Subterranean termites will certainly be the most common enemy. They make up for about 95% of all termite damage in the United States. They thrive on cellulose to survive, which is easy to come by in most countries with any kind of wooded territory.

Drywood termites are a little more specific as to where they like to reside. Drywood termites are often found in a narrow band that goes from the coastal part of North and South Carolina and bends all the way down the southernmost border in Florida.  The band continues to California and then swings back up to the Northwest.

5. Treatment

Subterraneans can be a complicated group to fight. If you are constructing a new home, consider pre-treating your soil with termiticide. Hire a professional termite fighting company who can perform the works on your land and home to prevent any future infestation of termites.

You can even monitor termites with a termite bait station system. You can have these installed by your local pest control company. Continue to monitor them with the bait program.

Also, consider a termite barrier treatment for your subterranean enemies.

If you know it’s drywood termites you’re dealing with, use treated lumber during your construction. Treated lumber will deter drywood termites from your home much like mosquito repellant does to mosquitos.

If you have wood already in place, consider using Timbor or Boracare for your exposed or untreated wood. If you’ve got a problem that has already advanced, you may need a complete tent fumigation (sorry).

Fight the Good Fight

Termites are a terrible thing to deal with. Once they’ve started they can be difficult, but not impossible to stop. Termites are a threat in most regions of the U.S., especially if you are using any kind of central heat in your homes.

Subterranean termite colonies are found in 12-14 groupings per acre of land. Any given home in the country can count on finding multiple colonies of termites around their home.

These buggers are very tough and have been around for over 250 million years. Their colonies are intricate and multiply very quickly. They are also able to adapt to changing environments on a regular basis.

However, if you’re thinking that a foundation of concrete slab will help your chances of deterring termites, think again. Termites only need a tiny sliver of space in any concrete slab at the foundation of your home to get a full VIP pass to your place.

The bugs need moisture to stay alive, and like vampires will die if exposed to any direct sunlight. Try keeping your basement areas dry and full of light in any way possible. This can help keep the termites from creating homes in what should only be your home.

When you’re ready to prevent termites from attacking, or if you need to fight off an already visiting army, click here to learn how!

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