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How To Tell If Your Richmond Property Has Termites

March 15, 2022 - Termites

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The type of termites that attack properties in Richmond are called subterranean termites. They are the most destructive termites in the United States and cost U.S. property owners billions of dollars each year. The primary reason why these insects are so destructive is that they're incredibly difficult to detect. Let's take a look at four ways you can detect these destructive wood-eating pests, why you may not be able to see these warning signs and why professional pest control in Richmond is needed.

Shelter Tubes

When subterranean termite workers attack your Richmond property, they are likely to make above-ground mud tunnels called shelter tubes. You won't see them crawling up the side of your foundation walls to get to the wood of your home. You'll see these tubes (unless the termites have found wood-to-soil contact). These tubes are often created in dark, moist spaces, such as in the void under a back deck. This is why they can go undetected.


A termite swarmer is about ⅜ of an inch in length. It isn't much to look at. You can have one land on your skin and brush it away without realizing it. We hope you do realize it. That little swarmer is a warning sign that there is a mature nest on your property or nearby.

  • Swarmers are dark-colored with long white wings.
  • The wings are stacked on top of each other.
  • The wings go past the end of the termite's body.
  • Both termites and ants have two sets of wings, but ants have a smaller hindwing, whereas a termite's wings are all the same size. 

It is difficult to catch termite swarmers because, typically swarms don't last for more than thirty minutes. These winged termites find mates quickly and then disappear into the ground.

Wood Damage

Most of the damage subterranean termites do is on the inside of wood. You can have a million of these insects eating the wood of your home and not know it. Over time, the damage will begin to be undeniable. Floors will begin to sink. Walls will begin to bulge. Windows will stick or begin to open and close without resistance. If you want to detect wood damage early, you need to look at wood that is in damp, dark areas, and especially wood that touches the ground. Look for stacked trenches in the wood. If you find trenches, be aware that carpenter ants create smooth tunnels and subterranean termites create tunnels that are gritty. This is because they bring soil up into their tunnels. Since visible trenches are just exposed tunnels, you can tell a little bit about what insect is making them by feeling them.

Worker Termites

There are many ways you can uncover worker termites in your yard. You may attempt to do this directly, or you may happen upon them. When you move wood debris or excavate soil, you have the chance of seeing worker termites. But don't blink, or you might miss them. Worker termites don't like the light, and they will disappear into the soil or into a dead piece of wood faster than you can say, "Was that a termite?" Here are a few things you should know:

  • Worker termites are only about ⅛ of an inch long.
  • Worker termites look a little bit like maggots. Keep in mind that maggots don't have legs, and they don't crawl around.
  • Worker termites can look like pale ants. Look to the waist of the insect to tell the difference. Termite workers are fat at the waist.

Cobalt Pest Control Will Keep Termites Out Of Your Richmond Home

Don't wait to see warning signs of subterranean termite activity. If you live in Richmond, reach out to Cobalt Pest Control to get started with proactive termite damage prevention. It is the best way to protect your investment from these extremely destructive and secretive insects. Reach out to us today to learn more about our home pest control services.