Termite Facts

  • A queen termite can lay 4 eggs a minute and can live up to 50 years.
  • A termite colony can have as many as a million termites.
  • It would take 2-3 years for a single colony to destroy an entire house.


With over 12,000 species of termites known to man, the upper east coast is more familiar with the subterranean termite which lives underground and feeds on cellulose materials such as wood or wood fibers. Subterranean termites are known to number from a few thousand to several million in a single colony. Subterranean termites are found in every state in the U.S.A. with the exception of Alaska, and where termites and humans converge, termites are sure to leave a trail of devastation in their wake.


Known as the most damaging wood-destroyer in all North America, the termite beats out floods, fires, and storms in overall damage caused to homes in the U.S., almost every year. The termite had two different stages that you may identify. The ones you would see in the soil, in damaged wood, or in a termite tube are white transparent in appearance hence the name “white ants” used in Australia and parts of Europe and about a quarter to half-inch in length. During the spring you may seeing the swarming termite that looks like an ant with wings. You can tell the difference between the termite swarmer and a flying ant by looking at the body and wings. Ants will have three body sections, the termite will have only two, and the head and a cigar shaped body. The ant will have two sets of wings of different length. The termite will have two sets of wings of equal length and they are longer than the body.

The species we have on the east coast is a subterranean one, meaning they live underground and cannot survive (except in very special circumstances) long above ground before they dehydrate and die. This is why they build little tubes of mud on your foundation, cinderblock, dry or pressure-treated wood, drywall, paneling, almost anything, to get to the wood they wish to eat. The tunnels act in many ways: humidity control, defense against attacking insects, keeping out light, and to concentrate pheromones.

Termite workers come into your home through cracks and crevices at your basement or garage expansion joint, inside your cinderblock wall, from under and behind your attached slabs (like back patio and front porch), behind brick veneer or just cracks in floor or walls and they are seeking edible cellulose in moist conditions preferably; and moist conditions doesn’t mean “soaking wet” just above 15% is all they need and 20-30% is ideal and a lot of basements and crawlspaces out there fit that bill. The signs are most often “not” evident to homeowners and the Dept. of Agriculture recommends that you have your home inspected once per year.

American Pest Control provides inspections like these at no charge and will even send a once annual e-reminder if you submit your email address to our “free inspection club”. Treatment can consist of use of a single tool such as a termiticide like “Termidor” or bait stations, but ideally a combination of the two to give your home a comprehensive, environmentally sound solution to your termite problem. We can and would love to help with that.

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