Termites are ancient insects that eat dead wood and cellulose products like fallen leaves and detritus. In a natural environment, when a tree is old or diseased and falls to the ground, termites and other wood-boring insects will eventually help to “process” the fallen tree, returning nutrients to the ground to continue the cycle. Unfortunately, termites do not differentiate between the wood of a fallen tree and that in your house. They will eat the first source of food they come to—and that’s bad for homeowners.
Termites live in colonies. The colonies are made up of primary and secondary reproductives, nymphs, workers, and soldiers. Unlike ants, if the queen is eliminated there are plenty of other reproductives that can take over the egg-laying responsibilities. Termites require a different approach for control measures. There are several types of termites that live in North Carolina, with the most common being eastern subterranean termites and occasionally West Indian powder post termites (dry wood termites). Subterranean termites live underground and need constant moisture to survive. They create protective humidity controlled tunnels while searching for food above ground, and naturally expand their range as the colony grows. Powder post termites are a type of “dry wood termite,” meaning they live aboveground in wood and need very little moisture to survive. Typically, they infest furniture related items brought into North Carolina. Our winters are cold enough to prevent them from living outside year-round.