Protecting Your Home from Subterranean Termites


Tips for Homeowners

Of all the termite species that can attack your home, subterranean termites are by far the most destructive. These pests eat wood 24 hours a day, and they have been known to cause catastrophic damage to structures, sometimes causing them to collapse completely.

Since it can be difficult to know if you have a termite infestation until the damage has been done, you’re better off keeping these pests from getting into your home in the first place. Fortunately, that isn’t as difficult as you might think. All it takes is to follow some basic tips and keep an eye out for signs of an infestation.

What Are Subterranean Termites?

First of all, let’s go over exactly what subterranean termites are. Subterranean termites are tiny burrowing insects that build underground tunnels known as “mud tubes” to reach their food sources. They are roughly 1/8 of an inch long and have rectangular heads and small jaws that are capable of chewing through wood. As we said before, they eat through wood constantly and can do thousands of dollars to a home.

Why Are They Hard to Find?

As their name suggests, subterranean termites make their homes underground. When they make their way into a home, they are most likely to stick to dark, moist areas that are usually out of sight such as a basement or crawlspace. They are also very tiny, so you’re not likely to see them crawling around your home.

What Kind of Damage Do They Cause?

A single subterranean termite won’t cause a lot of damage on its own, but these insects live in colonies that number in the thousands. Even a small colony can eat one foot of a two-by-four piece of wood in five to six months, and a larger colony can cause catastrophic damage to a home in a matter of years. The damage caused by a termite colony might not show in less than three years, but by then it may be too late. Worst, multiple termites attacked many homes at once, often from different directions. Termites damage over half a million homes every year, and consumers pay billions of dollars to remove infestations and repair that damage.

Some of the signs of termite damage in your home include soft wood in your home that sounds hollow when tapped, darkening wood structures, bubbling paint, and small piles of termite feces that resemble sawdust. You might also see the mud tubes that they use to get around if you look for them outside your home.

How to Control Termite Infestations?

While the best way to control a termite infestation is prevention, that clearly isn’t an option once you have termites in your home. Professional termite exterminators such as can help you get rid of termites by placing barriers at points of entry and traps that contain termiticide. This is a poison that should kill the termites and eliminate the colony that has made its way into your home. Once the colony has been eliminated, you’ll need to take steps to keep any more termites from getting into your home.

What Are Some Effective Termite Control Tips?

1. Eliminate Any Dead Wood

The best way to keep subterranean termites out of your home is to make it less inviting to a colony. First of all, remove any dead wood that you have lying on the ground near your home. Store firewood and wood mulch away from your home. Also, clear any dead trees. These are incredibly inviting food sources for termites. Also, since they are technically outside your home, it will only be a matter of time before you have worker termites making their way into your house.

2. Keep Your Home Dry

Next, avoid having too much moisture in your home or near your foundation. Remove any sources of standing water. Also, any moisture that you find in your home should be dried up immediately. Invest in a dehumidifier for your home to keep humidity levels low, especially during the spring and summer.

3. De-clutter

If you think you’ve had termites in your home, it’s time to de clutter to make it more difficult for the insects to hide. Remove any damaged wooden structures. If they can be salvaged, leave them out in the sun for at least three days. Termites don’t like heat, so the summer sun might kill off any that might be lingering in your furniture.

4. Call the Experts

Finally, contact a pest control service to take a look at your home. You might not need baited termite traps if you don’t have an infestation. However, a pest control service can still help you seal up potential barriers in your home. Plus, remove anything that could be a tempting food source for termites. They can also inspect your home for signs of an infestation since the sneaky little pests might not make themselves known for a few years.


Subterranean termites are among the most destructive pests that you can have in your home. They may work slowly, but they are persistent and difficult to remove. If you suspect that you have a termite infestation, contact a pest control service near you. A pest control specialist can determine if you have a problem. Also, they advise you what you can do to fix it.