TERMITE FACTS FOR COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT TERMITES.
Here’s everything you need to know about termites and how they might attack your home.
Q: HOW DO TERMITES EAT WOOD?
A: Termites have special enzymes, protozoa and bacteria in their guts that allow them to digest cellulose. Cellulose is the organic fibrous material in wood and plants. Sound delicious?
Q: HOW FAST DO TERMITES EAT WOOD?
A: The good news is, at the rate a single termite eats wood, based on some loose but reasonable assumptions, it would take one termite 3,144 years to eat the wood in a 1,000-square-foot home. But termites don’t live alone. That’s the bad news.
Q: DO TERMITES LIVE IN GROUPS?
A: The termite facts of life include living in a colony in a structured society. Colonies can range from a few thousand individuals to several million, depending on their species. There is a complex set of roles and hierarchy to a termite colony, including a queen who lays eggs, workers who do all the hard labor, and nymphs or immature termites who have lighter duties but still work in the colony.
Q: HOW MANY COLONIES LIVE TOGETHER AT ONE TIME?
A: In many parts of the country, there are several colonies per acre of land, but the colonies do not intermingle, they coexist. It is a peaceful arrangement, but if a termite from one colony violates another's nest or tunnels, they will be killed and removed immediately. The number of colonies in an area varies greatly between species and geography.
Q: WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON TYPE OR SPECIES OF TERMITES?
A: The most common species of termite in the United States is the eastern subterranean termite. They live underground in the soil and build mud tubes as a means of transportation.
Q: HOW MANY TERMITES LIVE IN A COLONY?
A: Termite colonies differ, but some consist of more than 15,000,000 termites, and the colony can survive for many years. Multiply the number of colonies living next to each other, and you can see how you might have a huge termite problem close by.
Q: HOW LONG DOES ONE SINGLE TERMITE LIVE?
A: Individual termite workers live about two years, and the total wood consumed each day just isn’t very much – after all, they are only about one-eighth of an inch long.
Q: HOW FAST DO SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES EAT WOOD?
A: The largest subterranean termite colonies eat about a pound of wood per day. Even when the amount of wood eaten in a day by a termite is multiplied by 1,000,000 termites, it may not seem like very much. The problem is that termites remain hidden when they attack a home. So days, weeks and years of chomping on wood add up. By the time they are finally discovered, severe termite damage may be present.
Q: HOW MUCH DAMAGE CAN TERMITES ALONE DO TO A HOME?
A: Because they slowly eat away at the wood inside your home, termites can cause extensive damage to a home and its structural integrity. How fast do termites eat wood? It depends on how many colonies exist inside the home.
Q: HOW MUCH CAN TERMITES COST A HOMEOWNER?
A: The termite facts, when it comes to cost of repairs, depend on how much wood they have eaten, how long the colony has been in existence in the home and where the damaged wood is located in the house. Repairs are usually much more expensive than original building costs.
Q: HOW MUCH MONEY DOES A TERMITE INFESTATION COST?
A: Again, this depends on the specific infestation. But often, repairs to the home can be in the thousands of dollars. It really depends on each individual case. An expert is the only person who can confirm the termite damage that has occurred and where repairs are needed.
Q: WHAT ARE THE AREAS IN A HOME THAT ARE MOST VULNERABLE TO TERMITE DAMAGE?
A: Any structure that is made of wood. Slab foundations, any wood that touches the dirt surrounding the home and inaccessible crawlspaces are especially susceptible to termites.
Q: IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO PREVENT TERMITE DAMAGE AT MY HOME?
A: Termite bait or liquid treatments are the best ways to prevent termites from getting into your home and causing damage. Other preventative measures include eliminating wood-soil contact and resolving any moisture problems; however, these measures will not keep termites from trying to enter.
Q: HOW CAN I CALCULATE THE COST OF A TERMITE INFESTATION?
A: Knowing termite facts is great start, but the key to avoiding the expense of severe termite damage in your home is to have an inspection by professionals, like Terminix®, who know the signs. Only an expert can identify the signs and create a plan to get the termites out for good.