All termite species are divided into three groups known as subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. Subterranean termites are aptly named for strictly maintaining an underground habitat where moist soil provides them with constant hydration. Drywood and dampwood termites, on the other hand, do not make contact with the ground soil; instead, these two groups of termites dwell in colony-nests that are entirely contained within single above ground wood items, such as logs, fallen branches, tree stumps, and of course, woodwork. Subterranean termite colonies see workers leave nests in order to gather food sources consisting of any type of plant material that decays slowly, mainly wood. Subterranean termite workers frequently encounter housing foundations where they build airtight mud tubes in order to access indoor structural wood without succumbing to the desiccating effects of outside air. Drywood and dampwood species only infest homes as reproductive swarmers (alates), which take flight annually. Unsurprisingly, subterranean termite infestations account for more than 80 percent of all termite infestations reported in the US each year.
While Texas is home to species belonging to all three termite groups, the eastern subterranean termite is the most widespread and destructive species in the state. Due to their need for significant amounts of water, subterranean termite workers infest only properly moist, and preferably, decayed structural wood sources. This makes structural wood located in bathroom wall voids and floor voids particularly vulnerable to subterranean termite attacks. Structural wood that has become saturated with moisture due to plumbing leaks, pipe condensation and flawed rainwater drainage systems often sustain subterranean termite damage, making annual termite inspections important. Obviously, structural and exterior cosmetic wood that makes ground contact provides subterranean termite with direct access to a home’s timber frame. While modern housing codes prohibit builders from allowing structural wood to make contact with the ground soil, dirt-filled porches remain one of the most commonly attacked wood constructions on residential properties.
Do you have a dirt-filled porch on your property?