Termites are small insects that are very sociable. Even though they are very small, they live in large colonies, sometimes as many as 2 million individuals, which means they can cause a lot of damage.
Termites are one of the few animals that can digest cellulose in wood. This is the reason why termites are such huge pests. They literally eat the wood of human dwellings and furniture.
Since they are so tiny it is not easy to notice you have a termite problem until substantial damage has occurred. Although it is only the worker caste that causes the damage, this is the most numerous of individuals in the colony.
Knowing ways to prevent termites is, therefore, very important to avoid costly repairs afterward.
Important types of termites
Termite pests can be divided into one of three groups depending on where they occur. These are the drywood, dampwood, and subterranean termites.
Drywood termites, as the name implies, live in wood that does not have a lot of moisture in it. Unfortunately, this means they like living in the wood of your house, doors, and furniture.
Dampwood termites, similarly, prefer wood that is damp because of moisture. These are the type you find when you lift a fallen tree in the forest.
Subterranean termites live underground. They can be recognized by the mud tubes they build, which can often be seen extending up the trunk of a tree.
Strategies for preventing termites
Inspecting both outside and inside of a house is important in assessing if you have termite damage. Termites are such a pervasive pest that often a person needs a professional inspection done before even being able to sell their house.
Even if you do not plan on selling, regularly check for any signs of damage to wood. The presence of a bubbly appearance on wood is a clue that you have a problem. The termites feed inside wood so you do not notice the actual insects.
Mud tubes are a big indicator of subterranean termites being present. Some of these could enter structure from underneath if there are wooden floors. Similar to dampwood termites, they like moisture, which they get from living in the soil.
During your inspection you might see dust that looks a lot like sawdust. These is the droppings of drywood termites, which will accumulate near the structure they are eating.
Dangers of termite damage
The issue with termites is they damage structures silently and often, without people realizing it. This means that a structure can completely collapse after a while.
This is particularly dangerous if support beams of a wooden barn, for instance, become weakened and eaten up by termites. Destruction of wood can mean holes are made that allow other pests like rodents to enter a dwelling, adding to your problems.