Formosan Termites

C. formosanus
Color: Yellowish brown
Legs: 6
Shape: Long, narrow, oval
Size: 1/2 inch in length
Antennae: True
Region:

Originally from China, Formosan termites are the most voracious, aggressive and devious of over 2,000 termite species known to science. Formosan termites are a subterranean species of termite. Swarmer formosan termites are about 1/2 inch in overall length, including their wings.

Habits
Formosans are organized into huge underground colonies, and build intricate mud nests inside the walls of a structure.

Habitat
Formosan termites are the most aggressive subterranean termite species. Formosans are organized into huge underground colonies, and build intricate mud nests inside the walls of a structure.

Threats
Because of their aggressive nature, formosan termites are difficult to control once they infest a structure. Prevention is key.

Prevention:
Avoid water accumulation near your home's foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard. Most importantly, eliminate wood contact with the soil. Maintain a one-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building.

 

Dry wood Termites

Family Kalotermitidae
Color: Light brown
Legs: 6
Shape: Long, narrow, oval
Size: 3/8" to 1 inch
Antennae: True
Region:

These social insects infest dry wood and do not require contact with the soil.

Habits
They form colonies of up to 2,500 members. Unlike subterranean termite species, dry wood termite colonies do not have a worker caste. The work is done by immature termites before they reach adulthood.

Habitat
Dry wood termites infest dry wood, like that found in attic framings.

Threats
Dry wood termites can infest structures and cause significant damage.

Prevention:
Dry wood termites can be avoided by making sure firewood and scrap wood is stored at least 20 feet from the home. Because dry wood termites form new colonies by gaining access to wood through small holes, seal all cracks and crevices in a structure.

Subterranean Termites

Family Rhinotermitidae
Color: Creamy brown
Legs: 6
Shape: Long, narrow, oval
Size: 1/8
Antennae: True
Region:

Subterranean termites live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas aboveground that can contain up to 2 million members. They build distinctive "mud tubes" to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air. Termite colonies are organized into castes depending on tasks -- workers, soldiers and reproductives. The characteristics of a subterranean termite are dependent on the termite's role in the colony. Cream-colored Worker subterranean termites are 1/8 to 3/8's of an inch in length. Soldier subterranean termites are of a similar body length, but are distinguished by their powerful mandibles. Solider termites have cream-colored bodies and brown heads. Reproductive subterranean termites are approximately one inch long.

Habits
Subterranean termites live underground and build tunnels, referred to as mud tubes, to reach food sources. Like other termite species, they feed on products containing cellulose. Subterranean termites swarm in the spring -- groups of reproductive termites go off to start new colonies.

Habitat
Subterranean termites need contact with the soil to survive and live underground. They can build tunnels through cracks in concrete.

Threats
Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species. They can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time.

Prevention:
Avoid water accumulation near your home's foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard. Most importantly, eliminate wood contact with the soil. Maintain a one-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building.

 

Damp wood Termites

Family Hodotermitidae
Color: Brownish
Legs: 6
Shape: Long, narrow, oval
Size: 1/2" - 5/8"
Antennae: True
Region:

As the name suggests, dampwood termites infest wood with a high moisture content. Damp wood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species. Bodies of king and queen damp wood termites range in size from 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch long and have two pairs of wings that are equal in size and shape and extend beyond their abdomen. Nymphs range up to 5/8 inch and worker damp wood termites are up to 3/4 inch.

Habits
Damp wood termite colonies, like dry wood termites, have no worker caste. The nymph damp wood termites take care of the kings and queens of the colony and feed the soldier caste.

Habitat
Because of their need for excessive moisture, damp wood termites are not often found in structures.

Threats
Damp wood termites do not usually infest structures because of the low moisture content of wood in structures. However, care must be taken to avoid attracting damp wood termites to a structure.

Prevention:
To avoid damp wood termites, make sure downspouts and gutters are diverted well away from the structure, and avoid prolonged contact between a structure and large areas of moisture, such as ponds or snow drifts.