Subterranean termites are the species of termites that we encounter in Virginia. They feed on wood and nest under the ground, passing through safety canals built above the ground to search for food. Termites are very dedicated so they work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If left unchecked, they can cause extreme destruction and structural damage to a home. There are a few different stages of their life cycle, but the three most common ones you see are the worker, soldier, and swarmer.
Termite workers are white and yellow with bodies that slightly resemble an ant. These are the termites that can cause serious damage to your home. Soldiers look similar to workers but they have big pincers that are used to protect the colony from unwanted invaders. Lastly, the swarmers, are the winged termites that are sent out in the Spring in search of a place to start a new colony.
Termites like moisture so keep sprinklers from splashing the side of your house. Keep soil from accumulating at the base of the foundation and keep brush and plantings away from air vents. The lumber that is used to repair damaged wood next to the soil or concrete should be pressure treated. A metal termite shield can be installed at the foundation of the home during construction. This will cause the termites to build on the outside of the foundation where they can be easily detected.