Termites are a group of eusocial insects that live in colonies organized by castes: the reproductives, the soldiers and the workers.
Termites eat cellulose and radiate foraging tunnels in the heart of the wood. The main species found in the US are:
- Subterranean (Rhinotermitidae): they live in the soil
- Drywood (Kalotermitidae): they do not require contact with soil
- Dampwood (Kalotermitidae, Hodotermitidae and Termopsidae): they live in wood with high moisture content
Concentration of termites in USA
Carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.) are large ants building their nests inside wood. They don’t eat the wood but workers cut galleries with their large mandibles to move from section to section of the nest.
Infestation is caused by insects laying eggs in cracks and crevices of exposed wood. These eggs become larvae that burrow into the wood to feed, which reduces the wood to dust. The main insects found are Old-house Borer, Powderpost Beetle, Deathwatch Beetle and False Powderpost Beetle. Their presence can be detected mainly by the exit holes as soon as they reach adulthood.
Wood decay fungi (brown rot and white rot)
These fungi digest moist wood, breaking down the wood fibers with their hyphae.
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