Get To Know Your Local Termites

Despite what you may feel when you get the bill for your recent termite extermination, termites actually provide an important service in the overall ecosystem. The same wood chomping tendencies that destroyed your patio also allow termite colonies to function as nature’s recyclers, helping break down dead trees and plant matter as well as aerate soil.

Yeah, yeah, not so comforting when your house has a big fumigation tent over it, but it does help to know that termites are not just on this planet to cause you migraines. In fact, they’ve been around for over 100 million years, mostly eating and eating…and eating.  There are actually over 2,500 types of termites in the world, including 17 different variations in California alone. However, termites are usually grouped into one of four categories: dampwood, drywood, subterranean, and mound builders. Mound builders do not occur in North America, but the other three groups can all be found in California.

Even though termites and humans rarely get along, let’s say hi to the termites of California.

Dampwood Termites

These little guys are big on the moisture. In fact, their particular ambrosia is moist wood. They can often be found in tree stumps, but if you happen to live in a wet environment, such as near the beach, they may just be willing to pay a visit to your humble abode.

Dampwood termites swarm between July and October but can also be found throughout the rest of the year.

Drywood Termites

The name pretty much gives it away. Drywood termites feast on any type of dry wood. They have a lot more versatility in their diet than dampwood termites and therefore get around a lot more. Drywood termites are the most common type of termite in Southern California, and the most likely to be snacking on your home. You’ve seen the house with big tents covering them. That’s drywood termites being killed.

These types of termites usually migrate to new structures during the fall seasons and can be identified by their fecal pellets, which have depressed surfaces and ridges. To the naked eye, termite fecal pellets will look like granular sand or even a salt and pepper mix.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean Termites like moisture, and they like to be underground (hence the “subterranean” part of their name). These guys usually nest in or near soil and tend to enter around foundations and attack structural support wood. This makes them extremely destructive. If you do happen to get a termite infestation in your home, pray that it is not of the subterranean variety.  (See our post about finding termites and looking for the mud tubes.)

Isn’t it nice to learn a little bit about the different kinds of termites that might one day terrorize your home? Alright, I know, I know; you just want to know how to get rid of them. Well, we at Best Rate Repair can provide you with some recommendations for honest, high-quality termite inspection companies. Once they’ve done their thing, we are more than happy to come out and provide an estimate on the wood damage repair.


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