Subterranean Termites

Along with drywood termites, subterranean termites are the main insect responsible for damage to structures. If left undetected, subterranean termites can tunnel up from the soil along the foundation and damage the wood structure of your home. Thrasher Termite & Pest Control is expert in subterranean termite identification, treatment, and damage repairs. We consistently receive the highest ratings in customer satisfaction and are the #1 termite company recommended by real estate professionals. Make Thrasher Termite & Pest Control your first call when you suspect subterranean termites.

Subterranean Termite Identification

Subterranean termite colonies live live underground in a network of chambers and tunnels used for storing food and raising their young (larvae). Since these colonies are underground, they are often impossible to locate. However, mud shelter tubes are a telltale sign that subterranean termites have invaded your home.

In order to protect themselves from desiccation and predation from ants while foraging above ground, termites build long tubes out of mud and fecal material. Termite workers travel back and forth inside these tubes between the soil and the structure above ground. These mud tubes are called exploratory tubes. Termite exploratory tubes are very easy to see and are one of the best ways to identify a potential termite infestation. Once a source of wood has been located, the termites establish larger, more permanent utility or working tubes. The utility tubes are highways running from the underground termite galleries directly to the food source. –Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension

subterranean termite mud shelters--Thrasher Termite Pest Control Santa Clara and San Diego Counties

Subterranean Termite Mud Shelters, or Tubes

subterranean termite tube Thrasher Termite & Pest Control

Subterranean termite tubes can look like hollow sesame sticks. They are about the same size and same color.

Subterranean Termites are about 1/8 inch long.

Subterranean Termites are about 1/8 inch long. Subterranean termite swarmers have a black body and grayish wings. They look similar to winged ants.

Controlling Subterranean Termites

Thrasher Termite & Pest Control has found the most success in controlling subterranean termites by applying a perimeter soil treatment. Unlike drywood termites, subterranean termites cannot survive without contact to the colony in the soil. The perimeter soil treatment is like an underground chemical moat around a house that prevents subterranean termites from the colony from accessing the house. Any termites left behind in the wood or the mud tubes can’t reach the colony and perish.

Subterranean Termites in Fences

Don’t rely on pressure treatment to protect your fence from termites. The best way to ensure your fence is not destroyed by subterranean termites is to eliminate wood to soil contact. Subterranean termite colonies live in the ground. Worker termites cannot last long outside of their soil or wood tunnels. Keep wood away from the soil to thwart subterranean termites. Attach fence posts to concrete piers set above the soil surface. Keep soil, leaves, and mulch away from fence posts and the base of the fence.

This advice will keep subterranean termites away from your house: keep soil, leaves, and mulch below the concrete footer of your house, and definitely away from any wood siding. Do not attach wood fences or gates to your house. Every three years, order a complete termite inspection of your home from a licensed pest control company such as Thrasher Termite & Pest Control. For more information about subterranean termites in fences (and photos!) read this.

Subterranean Termite Damage

Further Reading

Why You Shouldn’t Paint Before Termite Fumigation

Put down that brush! Don’t paint or refinish your floors right before your property is fumigated for termites.
You also don’t want to install anything that uses adhesive products with cure time, such as engineered wood […]

What is Cellulose Debris and Why It’s on Your Termite Report

Termites gobble up cardboard like a teenager with a bag of Doritos.
The 2 x 4s that make up the structure of your home offer plenty of termite food, but wood scraps, cardboard, newspapers, and other […]

Soaps, Detergents, and Termite Fumigation

Thrasher Termite & Pest Control, Inc. was recently asked if it was okay to use soap and detergent that remained inside a house during a termite fumigation.
Our answer: No problem. Lather up!
Preparation instructions for termite fumigation do not include […]

Termite Inspections Include Fungus but not Mold

Why do Termite Inspections Identify Fungus but not Mold?
Thrasher Termite & Pest Control is licensed to conduct inspections for wood destroying organisms (WDOs). Mold does not destroy wood, therefore we’re not trained or licensed to identify […]

The Surprising Reason Termite Inspectors Never Mention Rat Poop

The Surprising Reason Termite Inspectors Never Mention Rat Poop.
You’d think it would be easy to identify rat poop. Poop looks like…poop. When that poop is a certain size, it is a fair conclusion that a rat […]

How Long Does Pressure Treated Wood Last?

At Thrasher Termite & Pest Control, we pull out a lot of subterranean termite damage from homes, but frankly we were surprised by the amount of subterranean termite damage found in this six-year-old pressure treated fence […]

Exposing the Orange Oil Bait and Switch

Avoid the Orange Oil Bait & Switch
Oranges advertised for 5 cents each sound like a great deal until you get to the store and discover the offer is for a single candied orange slice. Called […]

Subterranean Termites Live the High Life

Subterranean Termites Feast on Second Story Home
Subterranean means under ground, however we recently identified subterranean termites living the high life, as in the ceiling of a two-story home. Because of the location and the cooperation of the […]

5 Essentials of Townhouse Fumigation

Townhouses and condominiums are excellent candidates for fumigation when drywood termites are found. So then, why are so few townhouses, condos, and other multi-unit structures fumigated? It’s difficult enough for an HOA to get residents to agree upon […]

10 Things Termite Companies Won’t Tell You

Termite inspection reports are packed full of great information; but there are ten things that most termite companies will avoid telling you…
1. We can’t find anything. Give us any home to inspect and we will […]

Savvy Buyers Turn Termite Repairs into a Free Remodel

How would you like a bathroom remodel included with the purchase of your house?
Most sellers balk at offering to remodel a house they are trying to get rid of; however the termite report (or Wood […]

No One Likes a Soggy House Except for Fungus

How to Find, Identify, and Eliminate Moisture Conditions
Termite inspection reports often list “moisture conditions” as problem items. What exactly are moisture conditions and why are they a problem?

First, why you should care. Moisture in and […]

Keep Fungus From Feasting on Your Home

Did you know that two species of fungi rank in the top five of wood destroying organisms (WDO)? Wood destroying fungi basically decompose wood studs, framing, floor joists, sub-floors, mudsills, and attic members, thereby destroying […]

Failed Termite Fumigation or Filtering Frass?

How to Tell Whether a Drywood Termite Fumigation Failed
It’s rare, really, really rare that a drywood termite fumigation fails to kill all the drywood termites currently infesting a structure. So why might someone continue to […]

Buy “As-Is” but Live “All-Better”

Now that California buyers are again competing for housing, we’re seeing many “as-is” offers. “As-is” means that the buyer is accepting the property with all its defects, including dry rot, termite damage, fungus, beetles, and […]

Subterranean Termite Damage Looks Like This

Subterranean Termite Damage Revealed
Most termite damage is invisible because termites are only interested in chewing through wood. Subterranean termite damage is no different, but they way they attack your home is very different from the […]

How to Identify Drywood Termite Droppings

How to Identify Drywood Termite Pellets
Drywood termite pellets, termite droppings, or termite frass…whatever you call it you don’t want to find it in or around your house. How do you know whether that little dry […]

California Aeration Plan Protects Homeowners

People driving by a tented house may wonder what the huge tube running up the side of the tent is for. The tube, or duct, is one component of the CAP protocol for flushing fumigants […]

Termites are Swarming–Protect Your Home Now

Termites are swarming in California and our phones are ringing off the hook! Here’s a quick video about termite swarms.

Buyers Beware – And Order Your Own Termite Inspection

Do you really want to trust the seller’s termite guy? We recently inspected a house at the request of the buyer’s agent. What we discovered was so different than the findings in the seller’s termite […]