Where Do Termites Live?


Termites may be at the top of the list for a homeowner’s worst nightmare. They can evade detection for years, quietly munching away at a home’s substructure while safely tucked out of sight. Unless your home is made completely of steel and concrete, it’s at risk of being eaten by termites, who live on dead plant material, including the wood in your home.

Commonly known as the “silent destroyer,” termites are detritivores (they eat cellulose-based materials) with mouths perfectly designed for tearing both dead and living wood apart. They are similar in appearance to ants, but are more closely related to cockroaches, though far more destructive. Because there are several types of termites indigenous to every temperate zone in the United States, as well as the rest of the world, there is really no place you can build a house that is not in danger of being invaded by this insect and its voracious appetite.

Where Termites Live

In northern Australia, termites are known to build giant columns that reach upwards of well over 10 feet high. There are also mound building termites in Africa, as well as South America. These mounds–giant termite castles–are composed of intricate tunnels which serve as air ventilation shafts for the colony nesting underground. While you won’t typically see gargantuan termite mounds in America, the point to keep in mind is that these industrious vermin live anywhere in the ground that is in close proximity to a source of cellulose material. Shipworms, the scourge of ancient ship builders and sailors, are even considered a type of ocean dwelling termite.


Termite Control

Termites have been around for over 100 million years. Their tenacity for existence may be rooted in their social behavior, as they work together for the benefit of the colony. Once they’ve invaded your home, they won’t stop eating, until they are completely annihilated or convinced to give up and move on.

Prevention is the first step to controlling the costly damage of which they are capable. Inspect your home frequently, especially around areas like the foundation, basement, or anywhere that might get wet or has exposed wood (like the beams in your attic). Keep wood and leaves away from your house, and make sure rain water is properly diverted away from its foundation. Use a termite-killing spray around the exterior base of your home.

While there are kits and insecticides for anti-termite DIY projects, if you’ve discovered termite damage in your home, it’s best to call a professional. They are trained to detect and eliminate termites effectively. Just remember that termites are great at hiding, until the damage they’ve caused becomes visible, and costly.

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