4 minutes to read | Updated for 2019
What’s In This Guide
The words “subterranean termites” are enough to strike fear in the heart of any homeowner. Equipped with a cast iron stomach that digests cellulose materials, these insects can chew their way through dense wood, layers of paint, concrete and brick.
Termites have been part of the earth’s recycling system for a long time. A fossil termite dated to approximately 200 million years ago attests to the adaptability of this unwelcome guest. Two hundred years ago, termites invaded a stack of oak wood timbers being seasoned in a shipyard in France. One of Napoleon’s best warships was scrapped because its timber was riddled with termite tunnels.
The genus Reticulitermes is the principle termite pest in all areas of the Northern hemisphere, including Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, India, Southern Russia, Korea, Japan, China and the United States. Their unique distribution provides an insight into the nature of these insects and their special adaptation for tolerating or evading cold weather while exploiting patterns of surface wood.
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