Pest Name: Western Subterranean Termites
Scientific Name: Reticulitermes hesperus
Signs of an Termite Infestation
Mud tubes emerging up from the foundation. Not as common, but homeowners may also identify an infestation when the reproductives emerge in a swarm.
Characteristics and General Information
Western Subterranean Termites are some of the most structurally disconcerting insects in the Pacific Northwest. They exist in very large colonies underground and feed on cellulose, the hard structural component of wood. They build large tubes made of mud up from the soil, which allow them to travel to and from their food sources while remaining concealed. Three castes exist within a colony: reproductives, workers and soldiers. Appearance changes dependent on their caste. Workers and soldiers are creamy brown with long, narrow bodies. Reproductives, also known as swarmers or alates, are much darker in color and have wings when they emerge.
It is important to note that Western Subterranean Termites are very different from Dampwood Termites. Dampwood Termite reproductives emerge during the fall. They are large, reddish-brown in color and very clumsy fliers. They require wood with a very high moisture content to survive – much higher than that which can be accomplished inside a residential structure.
Since Subterranean Termites are cryptic in nature and often hard to find, an extensive treatment which targets all the locations where a colony could gain access into wood members of the structure is imperative to ensure the structure is fully protected.