There are four types of termites that live in Baton Rouge:
- Subterranean termites
Some termites are native to the state of Louisiana and have been here for as long as we can remember, while others were introduced into the state over time. Termites are often referred to as “silent killers” because they live quietly within homes and other structures, eating away at wood. It’s often not until the damage has been done that homeowners realize that they have a termite problem.
Let’s discuss the four types of termites and what you should know about each one.
Dampwood termites are generally found in damp and decaying wood that lies on the ground. These termites do not build tubes in the mud, but they do eat across the grain in the wood as other termites do. Dampwood termites are larger than other species and their colonies are initiated by a pair of winged swarmers that lay eggs in the wood.
Depending on the surroundings, dampwood termites can have small or large colonies, although they generally stay on the small side. Preventing sources of moisture is the most effective way to avoid dampwood termites, such as by fixing plumbing leaks and not leaving pieces of wet wood near your home.
Drywood termites do not require moist soil to survive; they instead thrive off sources of food, such as dead trees, hardwood floors, structural timbers and furniture. In fact, these termites will feast off all types of dry wood in the home, such as bookshelves and rocking chairs. Their colonies are rather small, and they rely on immature termites to carry out the workload.
It’s easy to overlook a drywood termite infestation in Baton Rouge because their colonies can be so small. In order to avoid an infestation, it’s important to use treated wood, reduce the amount of wood lying around the home and keeping the home well sealed with no gaps or holes.
Formosan termites are relatively new in termite the world, but they are the ones causing some of the most extensive damage. The species originated in East Asia, where they were a threat to many large forests. That same threat extends to the U.S., primarily the southern states such as Louisiana. Formosan termites eat wood just as other termite species do, but they also build tunnels in the mud.
This species is sometimes referred to as “super termites” because of their ability to do major damage in a short amount of time. In fact, a healthy colony can eat up to one pound of wood in one day! Preventative measures include using treated wood and sealing wooden structures.
Subterranean termites live underground or in moist areas above ground. Their colonies are large and invasive and include up to 2 million members. These termites build mud tunnels to help protect them from open air. Subterranean termites have a very efficient work order that includes workers, soldiers and reproductives, which allow them to be very destructive in what they do. What makes them a major threat to Baton Rouge homeowners is that they enter the structure of the home from underground and begin biting through the wood.
All Termites are a Threat
No termite problem should be underestimated. Termites have highly organized work orders that enable them to do the damage they do. Louisiana is home to all four types of termites because of the moist climate and abundance of trees, so homeowners should be aware of the various signs of a termite infestation lurking within the home.
It’s estimated that termite infestations cost the U.S. approximately $3 billion each year, and there are a variety of methods for eradicating termites once they are found. However, all four types of termites in Baton Rouge can be prevented by keeping wood off the ground and away from the home, using treated wood for structures and repairing all sources of leaks that can create moisture problems in the home.