Termites are divided into three major termite groups: Subterranean, Drywood and Dampwood. However, in Louisiana the most common species is subterranean.
Subterranean termites will appear dark-brown, or black in color, and will grow to about ¼ to ½ inch in length. The swarming subterranean termites will have two pairs of wings that are nearly equal in length. The worker termites will be ¼ inch or less in length and will be pale colored or nearly translucent. Also, take note that workers and soldier termites do not have wings.
Subterranean termite nests are usually found below ground. If they’re found above ground it is because there are sufficient moisture conditions. A subterranean colony above ground will be older and more established.
Because subterranean termites build their colonies underground, the damaged wood will usually have an accumulation of soil or mud. Since they only eat the softwood, damaged wood will appear layered, because the workers do not eat hardwood.
Subterranean termite infestation is most likely to occur when temperatures are warmer and rainfall is heavy. This is when established colonies will send out a swarm of winged termites to establish new colonies. Swarms consist of both male and female termites and are often mistaken for carpenter ant swarmers. The noticeable difference between the termite and ant swarmers are the wing size. Carpenter ants wings will be two different sizes, while termite wings will be equal in size.
Formosan termites are a type of subterranean termite which are the most aggressive and destructive timber pests found in the United States. If you live within 500 miles of the Gulf Coast, your home is at risk for Formosan termite infestation. The swarmers usually come out in huge numbers during late spring or summer, following a warm day with heavy rain.
Formosan termites are typically 1/25 of an inch, including wings, and are a pale yellow-brown color. These termites can sometimes establish secondary colonies in upper-level buildings since there’s no need for soil contact if there is a nearby moisture source. These sources include faulty plumbing lines or broken roof tiles. Formosan termites can cause serious structural damage to your home within 6 months of establishing a colony.
How to Prevent Termite Infestations
If you are moving to a new home in a high-risk area, you should consult a professional about termite-proofing your home. Even if no infestation is present, your home may be in a high-risk area and susceptible to future infestation. Our Pest Control Professionals can help make recommendations that can to prevent termite infestation.