- Identification of Timber Damage
Eastern subterranean termites eat mainly the springwood of susceptible timbers, most often leaving the summer wood sections. Timbers infested by Eastern subterranean termites usually have layered sections packed with moist soil in high activity areas.
- Biology and Habits
Eastern subterranean termites swarm in large numbers over a wide area to find a mate from another colony nest to start up a new colony. A suitable location for nesting should provide a constant moisture source and a readily available timber food source close by.
Colony nest development is slow in the first few months, with the egg-laying capacity of the new queen termite peaking after a few years, producing up to 10,000 offspring a year. The queen may live for many years and workers up to two years.
Several years are required before the termite colony reaches the typically mature size. In some locations an Eastern subterranean termite colony can contain several million termites foraging over a wide area (up to 12,000 square feet) and actively feeding on trees and freestanding poles as well as buildings and other timber structures.
The colony nests of Eastern subterranean termites are usually located in the ground below the frost line, but above the water table. They typically construct mud galleries or "shelter tubes" across hard objects in order to gain access to timber food sources.
Eastern subterranean termites constantly search for new food sources. They are known to enter buildings through cracks in concrete flooring or to travel under parquetry or tile flooring through gaps of less than 1/16" wide. The space between the foundation and the first mortar joint is often enough space for termites to enter a home.
Where moisture regularly collects inside the wall or other cavities of a building, say from faulty plumbing or broken roof tiles, the Eastern subterranean termite can develop a subsidiary colony nest which may not require contact with the ground to ensure it's survival. This is particularly prevalent in areas of high humidity where wood moisture content is above average.