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Morse Termite and Pest Control
P.O. Box 1155
Clovis, CA 93613
(559) 325-9400
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Home > Termites and Inspections > Subterranean Termites

Subterranean Termites

Biology and Control in a Nutshell


In a hurry? Here's a very brief look:

  1. Subterranean termites live underground.

  2. They get into your house through cracks or other openings in the foundation or floor slab. They can also construct their shelter tubes over the surface of the foundation or pipes.

  3. They can do a lot of damage if not controlled.

  4. Control involves the use of mechanical barriers, baits or liquid treatments. Baiting can be very expensive and control is often uncertain. Liquid treatments are less costly, and take effect much more quickly. Liquid treatments do require some preparation and involve some minor disruption while the work is being done.

  5. Controlling termites is not a do-it-yourself kind of job.

  6. We can't make them to stay away forever. Any work that is done needs to have a plan for follow-up included. (The only thing worse than having to buy a termite job is having to buy another termite job for the same house!)

  7. We take the time to do the work right! And our prices are very reasonable.

  8. We'll provide a free estimate for service. Just call our office at 325-9400 for an appointment.

Want to know more?
(For more detail about each topic click the link in the title.)

Life Styles of the Hidden and Vulnerable

Subterranean termites have a lot in common with ants. They are about the same size as common Argentine ants; they build nests in the soil like ants; and they live in colonies where the workers go out and get the groceries while the queen stays at home and lays eggs. This is where the similarities end.

Termites can't survive out in the open air. A termite's shell (an insect's skin) is so thin it does a poor job of retaining the insect's body moisture. As a result, if a termite is exposed to the open air for very long it will simply dry out and die.

Even the winged reproductives (swarmers) released each spring can only live a little while outside of the soil. The swarmers in the customer's windowsill at the left had emerged shortly before the customer called. Most of the swarmers were dead (from dehydration) before this picture was taken a couple of hours later.

This is why subterranean termite colonies are underground and their "trails" are in the form of underground tunnels. They actually burrow through the moist soil. These underground colonies can be really big! (Feeding territory may reach the size of a football field.) Their main food source is dead wood, which they can chew up and digest. They carry the food back in their stomachs, digesting it as they go, and then regurgitate it to the other members of the colony.

To learn more about the life and biology of subterranean termites click the following link ...
Subterranean Termite Biology

Sneak Attack from Down-Under

Termites usually feed on buried, dead tree roots and dead wood on or near the surface of the soil. Your house starts it's life pretty well protected from termites. A concrete or block/brick foundation will slow them up for quite a while. (As long as it was built to comply with local building codes.)

But, termites are persistent and they are opportunists. Given some time they will find cracks in the slab, plumbing entries, gaps behind stucco siding...or any of the other tiny openings that the people in our business have learned about. Once they find the openings and squeeze through, they promptly find the wood in the house. And then...well, you know the rest.

The picture at the right is of a door. The door was rarely used and was concealed behind the customer's drapes. The customer opened the drapes one day and noticed the paint looked "funny". When she touched the paint it broke away. All that was left was a thin paint "shell" where the termites had eaten the wood away from inside.

To learn more about how termites can attack buildings click the following link . . .
Subterranean Termite Attack

Controlling an Underground Movement

So, how do we stop termites? Click the link below to learn more . . .

Subterranean Termite Control

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