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Termite Species: What are the Different Kinds of Termites?

Termites have bred on Earth for at least the past 250 million years. And there are different kinds of termites—depending on your location and climate. Also, where termites build a colony depends on their types of specie and their ability to survive in warmer or colder environments. Read on below to learn more about the different termite species.

Drywood Termites – Just as the name implies, drywood termites dwell in dry wood like trees, houses, furniture, and other wooden structures. Unlike other termite species, they don’t require contact with the soil in order to live. Drywood termites can also endure dry conditions for long periods of time, as they obtain moisture from the wood they consume, and the metabolism they use to process the wood. As such, they can usually be found in warmer climates that don’t reach freezing points during winter. Drywood termites generally aim for the wood in your home’s structural timbers, frames, furniture, and hardwood flooring. Unfortunately, you might not readily detect the damage for several years because these types of termites are slow workers. But since they live above the ground, their activities are more evident, making them easier to identify and control. A clear indication of dry wood termite infestation is dry and powdery pellets scattered around wooden structures in your household. These pellets can either be their fecal matters or wood particles they are feeding on.

Subterranean Termites – Also known as “ground termites,” subterranean termites dwell in the soil underground, and burrow up to the surface in a complex system that enables them to access nearby food supplies. Sometimes, they can even reach to roughly 130 feet in earnest search for wood. The most destructive and aggressive specie of termite, subterranean termites can insatiably consume as much as 15 pounds of wood and other cellulose materials weekly. They prefer soft, spring wood fibre, which means their damaged wood has a honeycombed appearance, with only the grain left behind. Unlike drywood termite colonies, subterranean termite colonies can house thousands of workers, and create mud tubes as pathways to their food sources.

Formosan Termites – Originated in East Asia, Formosan termites are also subterranean type of termites, and deemed to be the most destructive specie. They can easily be distinguished from other subterranean termites by their slightly bigger size and brownish-yellow bodies. While most subterranean termites generally need soil contact to get moisture for survival, Formosan termites are capable of building cartons (nests inside the colony made of chewed wood, soil and unprocessed cellulose) to preserve water source for the colony until they can discover a more stable water supply. Formosan termite colonies are usually bigger than subterranean ones, amounting to hundreds of thousands of members. The size difference and not the eating speed of Formosan termites allow them to cause considerably more serious damage than other types of termites.

Dampwood Termites – Around 1 inch in size, dampwood termites are the largest specie of termite. They don’t have worker caste, and the nymphs assume all the responsibilities typically done by the workers. And while dampwood termites don’t require soil contact to survive, they need wood with high moisture composition. As such, dampwood termites generally proliferate in cool, humid areas near the coast—and can endure even extreme flooding. They can be found in damp or rotting wood in logs, dead trees and stumps, and woods that are in direct contact with soil or kept near water. Dampwood termites may plague buildings, utility poles and wood stacks if these have wood-to-ground contact, and areas dampened by water leaks; however, infestations in structures are uncommon. The best solution to eliminate dampwood termite is to reduce the moister in their environment.

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