Termite pest control > Termite colonies and nests

Termite colonies and nests

The nests of some species of termites are in the earth and in dead and decaying wood. These more common and injurious species are of subterranean habit, timber and trees being attacked by the workers only through the ground.

The nests of some other less common species, however, are excavated in wood and trees by the winged forms, there being no workers and no underground life.

With the clearing of land and the consequent destruction of their natural breeding places in the dead trees, decaying stumps, and logs of the forests, termites become increasingly destructive to the woodwork and contents of buildings, telephone poles, fences, or any timber in contact with the ground, as well as to living vegetation, including not only fruit and shade trees, shrubs, and flowers, but also truck and field crops and, in California, grapevines.

The principal food of termites is cellulose, which they obtain from either dead or living vegetation.

Termites in the United States are mainly species of subterranean or wood-boring habit and are not so spectacular or common as the mound-making or tree-nesting termites of the Tropics. Very few termites in the U.S. have habits that make them conspicuous, or come above ground into the sunlight except during the annual colonizing termite swarm; hence they largely escape notice until they become injurious.