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Meet the Termites. Destroying Your Home is a Family Affair

termite

In Chevy Chase and the surrounding area, spring is peak season for Maryland’s most prolific termite species: the Eastern subterranean termite. Each year this tiny nightmare causes billions of dollars of property damage in homes nationwide. But far from just swarming in and having a wood-eating free-for-all, termites are organized. Here’s a glimpse at their unique caste system – and some quick ways to identify “who’s who” in the termite nest:

The Queen

The termite queen has one job: to reproduce. She spends her entire life (of 25 years or more) laying literally hundreds of thousands of eggs. You’re not likely to see the queen, but if you ever do, you’ll know it: she’s far larger than her worker termite counterparts, and looks like a giant caramel-colored caterpillar.

The King

The job of the king is also simple: fertilize the eggs laid by the queen. He lives in the nest’s “central chamber” with the queen and, like her, is fed and attended to by the workers. The king is slightly larger than the workers and has a dark external skin.

The Workers

The workers are the real enemy. These wingless creatures spend all their time gathering food (wood), digging out tunnels (through wood), caring for the colony’s young, and enlarging the colony nest (by clearing out more wood). These destructive wingless creatures are the size of a match head and possess a thin external skin that is off-white and translucent.

The Soldiers

Always on the lookout for invading enemies, the soldiers are usually the first to be seen when you uncover an invasion in your home, swarming out to attack while the workers busily work on fixing the problem. Soldier termites have giant orange heads topped with a giant pair of pincers.

The Swarmers

Swarmers are essentially the next generation of kings and queens, so spend their time letting the wind carry them along until they find a mate and begin their own colony. Seeing a swarm in the springtime is a dangerous sign – it means there’s a colony hard at work nearby.

Working together, a family of termites can successfully do thousands of dollars of damage to your Chevy Chase home. Luckily, at Green Pest Services, our team is also at the ready. If you suspect an infestation, don’t hesitate to contact us today.