Termite Identification & Prevention

What are termites?

Termites are a type of wood-eating insect. One of the most common species living throughout the United States, including Kansas and Missouri, is the Eastern subterranean termite. As their name suggests, these termites nest underneath the ground. In nature, termites are beneficial insects. They help to reduce the amount of dead wood and other cellulose debris found on the ground. It is only when termites accidentally enter homes and other structures that they become destructive.

a termite infestation outside of a home in olathe missouri

Termites live together in large social colonies and divide themselves into different castes - workers, soldiers, and reproductives (which include both kings and queens). Each caste is responsible for doing a job that helps the colony to function.

Workers are the largest group in the colony. They have a soft creamy white body. Workers have no wings, are blind, and grow to be about 1/4 of an inch in length. They are responsible for gathering food for the entire colony.

Soldiers look very similar to the workers, except that they are a bit larger and have an elongated yellow head, large, strong jaws, and short legs. They use their strong jaws to defend the colony and depend on the workers to feed them.

Reproductives, called “swarmers”, are the biggest members of the colony in size, and they are the only members that are winged. They are dark brown to black and are approximately 1/4 to a 1/2 inch in length. Swarmers emerge from a mature colony to find a mate and start a new colony.

Are termites dangerous?

Termites are dangerous; not because of any direct harm they cause to people, but because of the extensive structural damage they can cause. Termites are responsible for creating more than 5 billion dollars worth of damages to properties across the United States each year. When termites invade homes, they feed on the structural wood and cause extensive and costly damage. Additionally, this damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.

Why do I have a termite problem?

Termites live and nest underground. When workers are out foraging for food they often accidentally enter into homes and other buildings through small cracks in the foundation or exterior walls. Once inside, they quickly locate structural wood and are especially attracted to wood that has been damaged by water. They then tunnel through to gather food for their colony. Determining that you have a problem with termites can be difficult because it can take months or even years for signs of their damage to become apparent. In most cases, the wood looks okay from the outside, but the inside is full of tunnels.

Where will I find termites?

It is rare to see an Eastern subterranean termite out in the open because they live their entire lives under the ground or inside the wood they are feeding on. The swarmers are those most likely to be seen by people. When they swarm from the colony, it is common to see piles of winged termites on the ground around homes and other structures.

Workers find their way into homes through cracks in the foundation or through wood that is in contact with soil, such as deck posts, wood shingles, door frames, and porch steps. Termites travel from their food source to their nest through underground tunnels or mud tubes that they create. Inside of homes and other structures termites travel behind walls, underneath the flooring, and above ceilings to feed on things like structural supports, beams, flooring, wooden trim, and sub-flooring.

How do I get rid of termites?

To eliminate wood-eating termites from your home or property, partner with a professional pest control expert. At Augustine Exterminators we offer the advanced modern methods needed to solve your unique pest problem and prevent future infestations. Our certified specialists provide homeowners with effective termite control services. To learn more about the residential and commercial pest control services we provide throughout the Greater Kansas City area, call Augustine Exterminators today!

How can I prevent termites in the future?

Termites are a problematic pest to guard against. There are some steps you can take to make your Kansas City Metro property less attractive to these destructive pests.

  • Leave a stone barrier between any soil and your home’s foundation.

  • Remove fallen trees, tree stumps and decaying leaves from your property.

  • Limit the amount of mulch on your property or remove it altogether.

  • Limit wood-to-soil contact on your property.

  • Remove water damaged wood from your home.

  • Fix leaky pipes, faucets, or fixtures in your building.

  • Clean gutters regularly to prevent water from seeping into your home’s walls.

  • Use dehumidifiers and air-conditioners to reduce moisture levels in your home.


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