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Termites in Virginia

Types of Virginia Termites

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are the most commonly encountered and most destructive termites that live in Virginia. As their common name implies, these pests begin and build their colonies underground. This habitat provides what they need for survival and colony growth – moisture, protection, and food.

A subterranean termite colony consists of specialized groups called castes. These castes include workers, soldiers, a king and queen, and reproductive swarmers called alates. Workers gather food and feed that food to the other members of the colony. Soldiers defend the colony against predators, while the queen produces eggs.

Swarming Termites in VA

The reproductive swarmers are the winged female and male members of the colony that fly to mate and begin a new colonies of termites. In general, the peak swarming period in Virginia is March through June on warm days after rainfall. The appearance of swarmers on the outside or inside of a home often is the first sign of a problem. Since these pests are attracted to light, they often fly to areas around windows and doors. So, it is a good idea to inspect windowsills and other areas around patios and exterior doors.

What Attracts Termite Colonies

Termites eat cellulose, a component of woods and plants. The continuous feeding and need for cellulose is why termites damage construction wood, paper products, and other items that contain cellulose.

Another requirement for survival is moisture. Termites dehydrate easily, so when they leave a moist soil environment, they depend on their crafted mud tubes to retain moist conditions wherever they forage. In this manner, they remain connected to other colony members in the below-ground nest, so the termite workers can return to the subterranean colony, replenish their body’s moisture content and provide food to other members of the colony.

Sometimes a subterranean termite colony is established above ground. Generally, above-ground colonies, otherwise known as secondary colonies, result when there is an above-ground source of moisture that substitutes for the need to return to the below-ground location. Some examples for why these nests are built include leaks in a roof and leaking pipes.


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