Subterranean Termites In The Bay Area: What You Need to Know

Termite infested wood.

Living in the Bay Area means living with common household pests, and that means property owners at some time or another have had an issue with termites. No one wants to find termites in their home — that is one nasty word homeowners never want to hear, as termites can derail a home improvement project, cause a buyer to back out of a sale, and cause a lot of destruction without proper treatment. Termites cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to properties every year. They eat the wood that holds structures together, and that is not something any property owner wants to encounter. Termites are one of the biggest homeowners’ concerns we see at Bay Pest Solution Inc. Termites in a home or property are no small problem, so it is good to know what they can do and what signs of termites to look out for. 

What Are Subterranean Termites?

Termites are often a problem that property owners only find out about after major damage is done; they are tiny, sneaky, and silent bringers of devastation. All species of termite feed on cellulose-based plant materials, one of the main components of many building materials, and of course wood. Subterranean termites are the most destructive and most common kind of termites in the country. In California, subterranean termites are one of the two most commonly found species of termites in the Bay Area. Subterranean termites are attracted to moisture, living underground and chewing tunnels through wood, often without homeowners even knowing they’re in their home.

Subterranean Termites

Regardless of geographic area, subterranean termites are the most destructive species of termite, and they can do enough damage to cause a building to collapse. They are found in every state in the country except for Alaska, and attack a structure from the ground up. Although some may claim otherwise, there are, in fact,  subterranean termites in California. Some facts to know about subterranean termites include:

  • Subterranean termites are a creamy white to dark brown and have a long, narrow to oval shape.
  • They have six legs and average about 1/8 of an inch long.  
  • There are three different types of subterranean termites, and all have physical differences. Some have wings, some do not.  
  • A small colony of subterranean termites can have at least 60,000 termites.  
  • A mature colony can have upwards of two million subterranean termites.  
  • Colonies work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making them very efficient and extremely destructive.

Signs Of Subterranean Termites

Signs of subterranean termites in your home can be found both inside and outside. Keep your eye out for a few telltale things that indicate an infestation of subterranean termites:

One very common sign is the formation of mud tubes on the exterior of a property. Subterranean termites construct these tubes to prevent themselves from drying out as they travel from the moist soil to your structures. They can build these tubes even on concrete surfaces. 

  • Soft wood inside homes and businesses that starts to sound hollow if it is knocked on.  
  • Bubbling of paint or unevenness in appearance.  
  • Discolored, darkening wood, or blistering of wooden structures.  
  • Wings left behind on windowsills and other surfaces.
  • Piles of feces that look like sawdust, often near the nest.  

Prevent A Subterranean Termite Infestation  

Soil-to-wood contact is one of the most common causes of termites. Leaky pipes, moisture accumulating near the foundation, in basements, or in firewood and lumber all attract subterranean termites. Cracks in the exterior, poor airflow, and structures made with untreated wood can all be considered possible causes of termites. They thrive in humid environments, making their way from soil to wood, then back again, and need the moisture to survive. The most effective subterranean termite treatment is to prevent them from getting into your buildings. Some methods to try:

  • Control excess moisture. Because subterranean termites are attracted to moisture, it is very important to direct water away from your home. Focus on avoiding any moisture accumulation near the foundation of your home.  
  • Seal cracks near and in the foundation to keep subterranean termites out.  
  • Avoid any kind of soil-to-wood contact. Subterranean termites live in soil, and it will be very easy for them to feed on the wood. Wood that is in contact with soil will also start to rot, which will make it more vulnerable to being termite food.
  • Do not bury or store wood or firewood in your yard; use a trap or container to prevent contact with the soil.  

Get Professional Help  

The best way to protect your property from subterranean termites or to deal with a current infestation is to seek out professional help. Subterranean termite treatment options for an active infestation can be done in several ways. Bay Pest Solution Inc. is here to help; we offer inspection, treatment, and a warranty on our work. Our three-step termite busting barrier will keep your Bay Area home protected from these tiny yet mighty home invaders.

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