Among the most successful insect groups on Earth, termites have colonized most significant landmasses except Antarctica. These highly-specialized insects live in colonies that range in size from a few hundred to several million individuals.
Close to 3,100 — and counting — species of termites are known. And the majority of them can wreak havoc on your household furniture by consuming the wood and injuring your crops and plantations. If left unattended, the swarmers can feast on your investments to emotionally and financially drain you. Per some estimations, a whopping $2 billion is spent to control the termite menace in the U.S. every year.
How Big Are Termites, Really?
The awful crawlies never sleep. Termites work 24 hours to build some of the largest possible insect colonies. The mounds in tropical areas can go as high as 30 feet. They are easily confused with ants. But unlike ants, you will rarely see termites scurrying across your home.
Termites feed on cellulose sources and wood and can rarely survive outside. A termite infestation is much quicker and more damaging than an ant. Read on to learn about different types of termites and their sizes.
Types of Termites and Their Sizes
Simply put, the caste system of these eusocial insects and their species define the size of these plowing pests. Termites can range from 4 to 15 millimeters up to 10 centimeters in length. Their life cycle plays a significant role as well.
The type of termites can have far-reaching consequences on homeowners. A few are more voracious eaters than others, causing massive mayhem in a shorter span.
Therefore, it is essential to quickly recognize the termite species and map out the most powerful strategy to eliminate them. It’s also key to be able to differentiate between flying ants and flying termites. You should trust a professional partner like Budget Brothers to do the complex job of termite identification and eliminating termite infestations.
This large-sized (up to 1 inch) tropical species loves humidity and free water. They thrive under moist conditions. Wooden fixtures exposed to rainfall, plumbing faults, roof leaks, and living trees (used as part of the structure) are their favorite spots. Dampwood termites pose a serious threat to wooden beams supporting your homes. The high-cost damage is almost unnoticed till it becomes critical.
With a size ranging from ¼ inch to 1 inch, this species can chew through almost any wood (not just dry wood) or cellulose source. The excavators thrive on furniture, attic frames, structural crevices, and wall painting frames. These invaders can quickly multiply to spread the infestation to new locations in your home.
The eastern subterranean termites are known to build galleries in the form of (tunnels called mud tubes) to reach their food source. They build underground colonies and chew away the wood inch by inch to weaken the entire structure, sometimes causing a collapse. The ¼ to ⅛ inch-sized destructive pests get attracted to moisture and possess the capacity to attack both interiors and exteriors of your habitat.
Also called ‘Super termites,’ this ½ inch pest is considered the most aggressive. Formosan termites are known to build nests inside the wall of the structure. The voracious species can even chew through the wooden floorings or wallpapers if left undetected.
Termite Role and Size
The pesky crawlers are social insects and termite colonies work under a threeway caste system. Here’s some insight when trying to identify termites:
- Workers: About 90% to 98% population in the termite colony consists of workers. The wingless, eyeless, completely white-in-color caste is responsible for caring for young termites, building tunnels, and searching for food. Worker termites feed the soldiers and maintain the structure of the colony.
- Soldiers: They make up 2% to 4% of the colony. Characterized by strong bodies, large mandibles, and large dark heads, soldier termites fight to defend the territory from predators.
- Reproductives: Responsible for the colony’s growth, the reproductive termites consist of termite king and termite queen. They look for opportunities to raise new settlements as well. The queen can live up to 50 years and lay termite eggs several times during the day.
What to do After Finding a Termite
Be vigilant and act fast to seek expert advice. A do-it-yourself approach can make matters worse and cause the infestation to spread. Reach out to trusted professionals like the Budget Brothers for an in-depth root cause analysis.
Look for Termite Damage
Knock and check for hollow sounds on the wooden fixtures. Buckling and rotting wood and cracking foundation are other signs. Look for windows and doors which have recently felt stuck or challenging to open and close. Sagging ceilings or swelling floors, damage under wallpapers, bubbling paint, narrow mud tubes along the corners, discarded wings, and frass (droppings of termite) may indicate existing damage.
Prepare your Household/Residents
First and foremost, do not touch or try treating a termite infestation yourself. If they aren’t completely eliminated, termites typically will only grow in numbers. Do not use insect-killing sprays in panic. It will only make the pest exterminator’s job difficult at later stages.
Call the Experts at Budget Brothers
It is not wise to deal with an anti-termite treatment at home, especially if you are still determining the species and colony size. Reach out to experienced professionals like Budget Brothers and opt for an effective, safe, affordable pest control solution.
Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Elimination has been an Arizona leader in pest control for over 25 years. Reach out to our team of trained and experienced professionals for fast, friendly, and safe termite extermination.