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By Abigail McLain /

The most common species of termites in Nashville are the Subterranean Termites.

Subterranean termites eat mostly the springwood and leave the lining‚Äźcontaining summerwood which they cannot effectively digest. Hence, damaged wood appears to be layered. Also, the soil is typically found in the galleries. A typical mature colony may consist of 60,000 to over a million workers. Sixty thousand workers can/may eat 1/5 ounce or 5 grams of wood each day. At this rate, such a colony could completely consume 2 1/3 linear feet of a pine 2"x4" board in 1 year. However, there may be several colonies associated with a single building.

Eastern subterranean termites have 3 castes: worker, soldier, and reproductive (primary and secondary). Colony founding via alates or swarmers proceeds with the swarmers associating in pairs, breaking off their wings, and burrowing into the soil. Here they mate and only a few eggs are produced the first year. When the queen is mature she will produce about 5,000-10,000 eggs a year. The queen may live for many years and workers may live 1-2 years.

Several years are required before the colony reaches the typically mature size of 60,000 or more workers. Under ideal conditions, a few alates/swarmers may be produced after 3 or 4 years. Swarming typically occurs during the spring but it may be followed by one or more smaller swarms until winter. Swarming occurs during the daytime, typically during the morning of the day following a warm rain.

Eastern subterranean termite colonies are usually located in the ground. Location is usually below the frost line, but above the water table and rock formations. Mud tubes are built to cross areas of adverse conditions between the colony and food sources. They can enter structures through cracks less than 1/16" (1-2 mm) wide. However, if a constant source of moisture is available (like leaky pipes), colonies (called secondary colonies) can exist above ground and without ground contact. Also, true aerial colonies (no ground contact ever existed) are known to exist.

If you have Subterranean Termites in your Nashville home, call Nashville Pest Control, 615-622-2584. We will make sure your home is termite-free.