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Early Termite Signs & How to Treat & Get Rid of Eastern Subterranean Termites in Taos, NM

The most common termite species found in New Mexico is the Eastern subterranean termite. An Eastern subterranean termite colony can consume five grams of wood each day. They will eat cellulose material like structural wood, wood fixtures, paper, books and cotton. They are most destructive to Douglas fir and other wood used in construction. They will destroy the inner sections of the wood, eating mainly the spring wood and leaving the harder summer wood behind. This will leave wood extremely weak and can destroy billions in property every year. Termites can greatly devalue a home with the damage they cause.

Eastern Subterranean Termite Family Caste

Subterranean termite colonies are slow to grow and can take years before signs of damage are seen. When a colony reaches maturity, it can number 20,000 to 5 million workers, with an average of about 300,000. The queen of the colony will add 5,000 to 10,000 eggs each year it is active. Colonies are typically found in the ground below the frostline. Secondary colonies can be found above ground. Colonies are made up of groups of termites that have specific jobs. The king and queen of a colony can live for 10 to 30 years and workers only live for a couple of years. The workers are a creamy white color and soldiers have elongated yellowish heads with large jaws. They are the same size as an adult worker, about 1/4 inch. Termites can be mistaken for ants. To tell the difference you’ll need to look their waists. Ants have narrow wasp-like waists and termites have a broad waist. The workers are the ones that feed on wood and cause all the damage.

Eastern Subterranean Swarmers

Termites can enter through cracks the are smaller than 1/16 of an inch wide. During fall, termites create nests inside structures. They will usually swarm on warm Spring days after a rainfall. It is essential for termites to live in moist, dark and damp environments. Optimal soil temperatures are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Homes in active areas are 1 in 5 more likely to have been or will be under attack from termites.

Early Signs of Termites

You will know you are dealing with termites if you see them swarming or other signs. These signs include cracked paint on wood surfaces, mud tubes on exterior walls and frass. Frass is a fine powdery refuse or fragile perforated wood produced by termites. The dirt-colored tubes are built to protect the paths they take between the earth and the wood they are eating. Their discarded translucent wings are another sign. The kings and queens will shed their wings when they swarm. Because workers are always in their nests, it is very hard to find them. Eastern subterranean termites need to be treated by professionals that can positively identify them.

Termite Control

Early detection means more options with treatment and less damage. Termite inspections are a great way to protect your home. If you own a home in New Mexico, contact Bugman, Inc. to schedule an inspection and come up with a treatment and prevention plan.

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