Understanding the Difference between the Colony Size of Drywood Termites vs. Subterranean Termites

Most people here in San Diego think of termites and just want to make sure the little pests never get into their home. But unfortunately we live in a state where termites thrive. However, it is important for homeowners to understand that two different types of termites actually live in California. These two types of termites – drywood termites and subterranean termites – have different habits and different colony sizes. In this article, we’ll review the different colony features of each type of termite, which affects how much damage they can do to your home over time.

Why Is Colony Size Important?

The uncomfortable truth that most of us would like to ignore is that termites are almost everywhere in California. In fact, if your house is older than five years and you haven’t recently had a termite inspection, there’s a good chance termites are living in your home. Just because you have termites in your home doesn’t mean you have a major problem right away (though you should definitely get an annual termite inspection). That’s because termite colonies grow at different rates depending on what type of termites are in your home. The bigger the colony, the more damage it can do, and the more quickly you have to take care of the problem!

Drywood Termite Colonies

On the surface, drywood termites may seem like they are the more dangerous type of termite. These little guys don’t need moisture to survive, which allows them to live right inside the wood in your home. They get enough moisture from the cellulose (wood) they eat. Though drywood termites are not the houseguests you want to have, they are actually less destructive than subterranean termites. This is mostly because they live in smaller colonies that grow at a slower pace. Now don’t get us wrong, left untreated drywood termites will cause a serious amount of damage.

It’s been estimated that drywood termites grow to colonies the size of 10,000. Now once that specific caste has grown to its capacity these termites will swarm and create a new sub colony. If left untreated, this swarming process will repeat year after year. If you are seeing termites flying around your home, that means you have a caste or even several caste that have reached its capacity and is damaging your home. You’ll want to have regular termite inspections to provide you with different options to prevent that from ever happening.

Subterranean Termite Colonies

Drywood termites are living in the minor leagues compared to subterranean termites. These termites can cause way more destruction than their drywood peers, mostly because their colonies can get so big. Subterranean termites must live in the soil. The only way for the subterranean termites to travel throughout your home is by creating what is called mud tubes. These tubes not only provides the moisture they need to survive but it also protects them from predators.

A queen in a subterranean termite colony enjoys about seven to ten years of peak egg production, and she doesn’t slack off. A healthy subterranean termite colony can grow to be the size of 1,000,000.00 termites! Don’t forget for one minute that termites eat 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Think of one million termites munching away on your home day and night, and you’ll start to understand why subterranean termites cause more damage to homes in the United States than storms and fires combined. Just like drywood termites, when one caste reaches its capacity, they will swarm and make another sub colony; meaning if left untreated we are talking about a serious amount of damage caused to your home.

The primary reason to get termite inspections every year is to look out for both drywood and subterranean termite colonies. You’ll want to get rid of all termites as soon as your inspector finds them so that you never have to see how much damage a colony of one million plus, termites can do!

Make sure you schedule a yearly termite inspection so you can stop these colonies in their tracks. If you live in San Diego County, you can count on the inspectors at Best-Rate Termite. We are reliable, respectful, and thorough and will help you protect your home from every kind of termite.