Subterranean Termites In The Bay Area: What You Should Know

Subterranean termites on a piece of wood.

Of the three main classes of termites that live in the United States, subterranean termites are the most common both in population and in their likelihood to invade your home and property. Unfortunately, these termites, particularly problematic in San Jose and the greater Bay Area, are also responsible for billions of dollars in structural damage each year. The most destructive of the three classes, which also include drywood and dampwood termites, these termites can cause entire structures to collapse if they remain undetected for long enough.

Despite efforts to rid of subterranean termites on your own, it’s nearly impossible to do without professional help. Termites in the home can easily go unnoticed for many years, and by the time they’re detected, they’ve likely caused structural damage, at least to some extent. If left alone, subterranean termites will eat a home from the inside out.
Read on for more information about the habits of subterranean termites, how they can damage your property, and tips on prevention.

Habits Of Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites have narrow, oval-shaped bodies that measure one-eighth of an inch long and range in color from creamy white to dark brown or black. They live in large colonies, which are comprised of anywhere from 60,000 to one million termites. They live up to five feet underground and come above the soil to invade wooden structures. 
One of the telltale signs of subterranean termites is the mud tubes they create to bridge the gap between the soil and the wooden structure above, which look similar to stalagmites in caves.

How Can Subterranean Termites Damage My Property?

Subterranean termites feed on wood and other materials containing cellulose. Because they live in the ground, these termites are typically found in areas close to the ground, such as basements or crawl spaces or the walls of homes—though not always. They can also be found in outside wooden structures, such as sheds and barns. 
Subterranean termites can cause damage to your home by eating away at its structural components, including hardwood flooring, wooden support beams, and attics, as well as drywall or sheetrock. They can also damage and destroy belongings inside the home, such as wooden furniture. Because they feed on cellulose materials, they can destroy carpet fibers, books, and other paper products. All this destruction can cause a once beautiful and cozy home to be deemed dangerous and uninhabitable ultimately. 
What’s even more problematic is that typically, the damage caused by termites isn’t covered by homeowner’s insurance, leaving homeowners to cover the potentially extensive and costly damage. If the owner of a termite-infested home is looking to rent or sell, they’ll also face problems, possibly of the legal sort.

Subterranean Termite Prevention Tips

Termites are stealthy pests, as they can coexist in a home or on a property for some time without being noticed. However, there are a few tips that may help you to prevent an infestation. 

  • Remove all areas of direct soil-to-wood contact in and around the home. This includes getting rid of woodpiles, firewood, tree stumps, and scrap wood.
  • Check your home for water leaks. Subterranean termites can’t live without moisture, and a leaky pipe may be attracting them to your home.
  • Regularly clean out pipes and gutters to prevent termites, which prefer warm, dark, and moist hiding places, from moving in.

One of the surest ways to secure your home and property from subterranean termites is by enlisting the help of licensed pest professionals to conduct periodic home termite inspections. Call the Bay Pest professionals to learn about termite solutions available for your home or business.

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