If you've invested in a property in San Jose, it is important that you understand the threat subterranean termites can present. These insects can secretly feed on the wood of a man-made structure for years without offering any noticeable warning signs. This is why they're so destructive. Today, we're going to discuss just how sneaky subterranean termites are and provide you with some tips to help you protect your property.

termite up close
termite on decayed wood

Why You Won't See Subterranean Termites Coming

There are two ways a subterranean termite will come into your yard. It will fly or it will tunnel. If a termite flies into your yard, it is a swarmer termite. These termite alates are the reproductive females and males from a mature nest. Their job is to create new nests. If a termite tunnels into your yard, it is a worker termite. These termites are the only termites in a colony that consume food, and they are the termites that will present a threat to your property. Workers may also create a location for a satellite colony.

Swarmers — If one of these termites flies into your yard, you probably won't see it. While hundreds or thousands of swarmers grouped together is easy to see, it is very difficult to see a couple of swarmers that have broken away from the swarm and decided to establish a nest in your yard. A swarmer is only about ⅜ of an inch long. You'll have a very hard time seeing one crawling in your grass or crawling on your property. But if a swarmer lands on your skin and you know what it looks like, it could give you an important warning sign. Swarmers are recognizable by their long white wings that stack on top of each other. These wings create a stretched teardrop shape.

Workers — If these termites come into your yard, they'll do so by tunneling. A worker termite can travel the length of a football field in search of food. That's quite a distance for workers to travel back and forth between the colony that sends them. This can cause the workers to create a satellite colony, and a satellite colony can be turned into a main colony if conditions separate it from its source. When this happens, you won't know it. You'll just have more termite workers hatching near your property, and a lot more damage being done.

What Happens After Termites Get Into Your Property

Subterranean termites come up from the ground and feed on the inside of wood. They rarely expose themselves to light or to the air. They prefer to stay in utter darkness and within their moist tunnels. Your property can have millions of termites without any visible warning signs. But there are ways to detect termite activity if you take the time to do so.

Quick Tips For Subterranean Termite Detection

  • Inspect your property for shelter tubes. These are above-ground tunnels made out of soil and termite saliva. Keep in mind that these tubes are not likely to be in obvious places. Termite workers create them in dark, damp locations, or on surfaces that are shielded from the sun. You'll have to get into crawl spaces, under your deck, or get low and look up at surfaces within your property. A mud tube can be nothing more than a line of mud the width of a pencil.

  • Inspect your property for swarmer wings. When swarmers mate, they shed their wings. These wings may be found on the ground, on surfaces, or caught in spider webs. They're tiny, so you'll have to look closely to see them.

  • Inspect your property for worker termites. While you won't be able to see workers in your property, you may be able to detect them inside wood sources around your yard, such as in stumps, logs, wood piles, stacks of cardboard, and other termite food sources. Look underneath these sources where they touch the soil or cut into them to find workers.

How To Prevent Termite Damage

There are a few ways to protect your property from termites such as addressing wood-to-soil contact, removing wood sources from your yard, and sealing potential entry points in your exterior, but the best way to safeguard your property investment is to contact Bay Pest. We offer industry-leading termite control in the San Jose. Reach out to us today to get your protection in place. 


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