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There are two kinds of termites commonly encountered by the homeowner in Southern
California, Subterranean and the Drywood termites. There are others, but these
two culprits are the most prevalent. Let's begin with the former.
This insect is named for it's underground nesting site. They
enter your house through construction defects such as cracks in concrete slabs
and improperly sealed earth fill porches. Any void or separation in a concrete
foundation can allow entry. The homeowner is generally confronted with the swarming
phase of these cute little creatures in the spring. Subterranean swarmers are
often confused with ants. They are black in color with transparent wings longer
than their body length. The ants can be black in color but the wing structure
is different and they have a distinct waist or segmented body parts that the
termite lacks. Another indication of infestation is mud tubes, which are protective
structures, built by the termites in above ground situations. They are the color
of the soil and will usually be found at baseboards or on a foundation wall advancing
toward the wood members of your house. If you break these open you may see the
worker termites. They are small cream colored insects resembling larva or fly
maggots. Workers are the ones that do the damage.
Treatment of the Subterranean is almost always a localized effort
utilizing liquid termicides after determining the point of entry. Placement of
bait stations is becoming more popular and can be used in conjunction with targeted
treatments. As always a diligent inspection is the first order of business.
Please visit our Resources page
for more on Subterranean termites.