The most destructive termite in the United States is the subterranean termite. This type of termite is responsible for billions in damage each year. Why are subterranean termites so destructive? Because they're sneaky. If you hope to protect your San Jose home from termite damage, you need to understand the sneaky nature of subterranean termites and learn ways to detect termite activity. You also need to know what attracts termites. There are some preventative measures you can take to reduce the risk of a termite infestation. Here is a quick guide to help you protect your property.

termites in driveway
termite eating wood

The Sneaky Nature Of Subterranean Termites

There are two ways termites will come into your yard; both are sneaky. Termite workers tunnel under the ground. They can tunnel as much as the length of a football field in search of food sources. If workers find food in your yard, they may establish a satellite colony near your home without you knowing it. Termite swarmers fly into your yard. A swarmer is only about ⅜ of an inch. If a couple of swarmers enter your yard (or even a few couples) you're not likely to see them. They're small; and, within a matter of minutes, they will shed their wings and tunnel into the ground to make a nest.

When termites establish a nest in your yard, they can stay for years without detection. This is because worker termites hate the light. They stay in their ground tunnels, or inside the wood they are feeding on. They rarely come out, except in dark, moist locations.

How do you detect sneaky termites?

Swarmers — It is difficult to see a couple of termites swarmers, but you should have no trouble seeing hundreds. Swarmers have white wings that are quite noticeable when termites swarmers are grouped together. Unfortunately, this is not an early sign of an infestation. It can take three or more years for a nest to begin to produce swarmers—that is three or four years for termites to damage your property.

Shelter Tubes — Subterranean termite workers create above-ground tunnels on surfaces. These tunnels protect the workers from the dry air, and keep them hidden from the light. Their aversion to light causes them to create tunnels in dark places, and their needs for moisture causes them to create them in damp areas. If you inspect your home for shelter tubes, you may need to get into crawl spaces, and underneath exterior structures.

Damage — You may be able to detect termite activity by recognizing the damage they do. Keep in mind that the majority of damage will be on the inside of wood. The only way to detect interior damage is to knock on the wood and listen to see if it sounds hollow. Visual damage can be found in areas where wood touches the soil. Inspect the posts on a wood fence where they meet the ground. Inspect underneath boards, plywood, wooden crates, pallets, etc. It is difficult to detect termite damage inside your home, until it is too late. Over time, termites can cause floors to sink down, walls to bulge, and doors and windows to stick. This takes years. If you begin to see changes, it is a good idea to have your property inspected by a licensed termite control professional.

Termite Prevention

  • Address wood to soil contact. When wood touches the ground, it gives subterranean termites a direct path into the wood of your property.

  • Pick up wood scraps. If you have wood on the ground, it can be an attractant. When termite workers come to feed on that wood, they can feed on your home at the same time.

  • Refrain from burying wood in your yard. Even if you bury wood far from your home, it can present a threat. That wood can be a staging area, and bring termites closer.

  • Reduce moisture. Subterranean termites are attracted to moist soil, and moisture is a catalyst for wood rot.

  • Clear yard debris. If you have piles of leaves, sticks, or wood, termites will be lured to your yard.

  • Seal cracks. If you have cracks in your foundation walls, subterranean termites can use them to gain faster access to the wood on the interior.

Termite Control

The best way to protect your Bay Area property from termites is to have a protective barrier installed in the soil around your home. We can assist you with this. Reach out to Bay Pest and request a free estimate. We know what is required to stop sneaky termites from damaging your property.


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