different types of termites

Different Types of Termites

Termites are social insects that feed mainly on materials that contain cellulose like wood, plant materials and paper. There are different types of termites classified according to their habitat and feeding behavior. These different types of termites are dry wood termites, subterranean termites and Formosan termites.

Dry Wood Termites

Dry Wood termites are the easiest to distinguish ecologically and behaviorally among the different types of termites. Dry wood termites live on the surface, above the ground, oftentimes on the wood structure where they get their nutrition. Colonies of dry wood termites thrive in trunks of trees, tree stumps or wooden parts of houses or buildings.

The extent of damage caused by dry wood termites is just like the two other types of termites. However, since they live above the ground, their activities are more obvious and they are identified and controlled early. Signs of infestation by dry wood termites are the presence of dry and powder like pellets scattered around wooden structures in your homes. These pellets are fecal materials excreted by dry wood termites or part of the wood they are feeding on.

Subterranean Termites

A second type of termites is the subterranean termites which are regarded the most destructive among the three different types of termites. As their name implies, subterranean termites live underground. They are not easily noticed by homeowners and by the time their activities are observed, the damage they have created is so massive and irreparable.

Furthermore, subterranean termites consume a great amount of wood and other cellulose materials. Scientists have observed that a worker subterranean termite may consume an average of 15 pounds of wood in one week. Subterranean termites infest a house by creating tunnels underground. Their colonies or nests are situated underground and worker termites forage around adjacent areas to search for food sources. They also create mud tubes as pathways to their food.

Subterranean termites are also observed to chew on wooden foundations of houses and buildings. They also like to eat wooden furniture but not as much as dry wood termites which feed mostly on wooden furniture.

Formosan Termites

The last type of termites is the Formosan termite. Among the three different types of termites, the Formosan termite is the only organism that is not originally from United States. This species was transferred to the country from East Asia through infested timber that was shipped to US after World War II. The termites continued to reproduce and were transferred to different places to form new colonies. The infestation grew out of control and the government had to coordinate extensive pest management procedures throughout the country.

Much like the subterranean termites, Formosan termites also prefer to live underground, protected from harsh environment conditions on the surface.

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