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Termites can be one of the most if not the most destructive insect known to man. It’s estimated there can be over a million termites in one single colony. If left untreated, termites can also so thousands of dollars of damage to a home.
Subterranean termites are by far the most common type of termite, and have been estimated to cause over 90% of all termite damage in the US. They are the most destructive insect pest of wood, causing more than $3 billion of damage each year in the United States. To make matters worse, most
homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover termite damage. This variety of termite is found throughout the United States with the exception of Alaska and is especially common in the southern and pacific coastal states. While subterranean termites are often found in homes, they actually live in the soil, and return to the soil after feeding on a home. Subterranean termites require
moisture to live and will always return to their colonies in the soil.
Subterranean termites typically follow the grain of the wood, feeding primarily on the soft spring wood. Damage by subterranean termites is often not noticed because the exterior surface usually must be removed to see the damage.
Drywood termites are social insects that live in colonies in sound, dry wood. Each colony consists of offspring termites which are larger than local, southwestern subterranean species. Drywood termites tend to cut across wood grain destroying both the soft spring wood and the harder summer growth.
Drywood termites often establish nests in roof materials and wooden wall supports accessed under eaves. However, despite being capable of surviving on low wood moisture they are also found in wood associated with a water source such as a leaky pipe or water heater.
Formosan Subterranean Termites
The Formosan subterranean termite is often nicknamed the super-termite because of its destructive habits. This is because of the large size of its colonies, and the termites’ ability to consume wood at a rapid rate. A single colony may contain several million (compared with several hundred thousand termites for other subterranean termite species) that forage up to 300 feet (100 m) in soil. A mature  Formosan colony can consume as much as 13 ounces of wood a day (ca. 400 g) and severely damage a structure in as little as three months. Because of its population size and foraging range, the presence of colonies poses serious threats to nearby structures. Once established, Formosan subterranean termite has never been eradicated from an area.