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Termites and other Wood-Destroying-Insects (WDI)

Fighting, out of the red corner, weighing in at approximately 1mg. Causing the most damage to structural wood elements of a building, with control and damage costs of over $1.5 billion yearly across the nation.

Introducing - The Reigning! Defending! Pound-for-Pound King of Structural Damage! The Sub-terranean TERMITE!!

(crowd cheers!....NOT!)

Termite in boxing ring

You don't need PPV to see these guys in action. Termites are in every state in the U.S. except Alaska. New Jersey ranks

in the "moderate to heavy" activity rating. 

Termite activity in the United States

Termites can be very beneficial insects, in nature, they return dead trees back to the soil as nutrients for the earth.

But what happens when they come inside? 

Termites don't know the difference between a dead tree in the woods and the lumber inside your home.

Since termites are active year round, you always have to

keep an eye out for evidence of termite intrusion and damage. 

TERMITE CASTES AND FUNCTION

SWARMER TERMITE

swarmer termite

REPRODUCTIVE ADULT
WINGS OF EQUAL SIZE

WORKER TERMITE

Worker Termite

WHITE IN COLOR
CAUSES WOOD DAMAGE

MATURE QUEEN TERMITE

mature queen termite

PRIMARY REPRODUCTIVE
LAYS EGGS DAILY
LIFE SPAN 25-50 YEARS

SOLDIER TERMITE

soldier termite

DEFENDS THE COLONY FROM OTHER INSECTS

SECONDARY REPRODUCTIVE TERMITE

secondary reproductive termite

CAN REPLACE QUEEN TO EXPAND THE COLONY NETWORK

Photos courtesy of Internachi and Home Inspector Pro

Termite Inspections | USTA Home and Building Inspections specializes in identifying termite evidence within structures. 

Termite mud tubes
Termite mud tubes
Termite mud tubes

Here are some things to look for when purchasing a home. Check the basement for evidence of "mud tubes".

Look for initial signs of termite tracks called mud tubes. Because of their skin, worker termites will dry up when exposed, so they use these mud tubes to traverse from the soil to their food supply aka the lumber in your home.

Here is a live video from one of our inspection sites. This is very rare scene because termites rarely expose themselves. Here, we literally caught them in the act!

At the time of the inspection the floors were being repaired due to soft spots in the hardwood, and guess what those soft spots uncovered! Worker Termites! We don't always get to see live workers in action. The worker termites dedicate their entire existence for the upkeep, feeding and sanitation work of the colony. 

More Live video and  evidence of termite damage

Termite damage to wood
Termite window sill damage
Termite swarmer
Swarmer Termites on window sill

Last but not least about termites, lets not confuse them with ants.

Flying Ant diagram
worker ant

The segments or parts of an ant are easily distinguished by the pinch between segments. The Head, thorax, abdomen. The antenna also has a hard angle.

Wings of unequal size.

termite swarmer
Basic Termite Structure

The segments or parts of a termite are more continuous between the head,

thorax, and abdomen. The antennae are straighter or slightly curved.

Wings of equal size.

Other Wood Destroying Insects - WDI

Other yet still common wood destroying insects are Carpenter Ants, Carpenter Bees, Firewood Insects, Horntails  or Wood Wasps,

Powder Post and other lumber-damaging beetles. Here are some images and examples below of the type of damage caused by each.

Its important to note, what distinguishes Termites from other WDI is: Termites eat wood as their main source of food. Other WDI's simply nest and live in it. That's what makes Termites the number one problem amongst WDI's in the nation.

Black Carpenter ant
Carpenter Ant Damage

Here we have a carpenter and the the type of damage they create.

Unlike Termites, carpenter ants will chew clear through the wood.

Termites preserve outer layers of wood to contain the humidity within, it also helps them remain hidden. 

carpenter bee damage to fence

Here we have damage caused by carpenter bees, and an illustration of what a carpenter bee looks like. What separates a carpenter bee from any other is the all black abdomen.

carpenter bee damage sample

The most common wood destroying beetles are the Powder Post, Old House borer and the Common Furniture Beetles. You may see this type of damage in manufactured wood work such as oak floors or beechnut/birch furniture.

wood boring beetle damage
wood boring beetles
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