Roger E. Gold, Harry N. Howell Jr., Grady J. Glenn and Kimberly M. Engler**Professor and Extension Specialist in Urban Entomology, Research Associate, Associate Research Scientist, Program Specialist-Urban IPM; The Texas A&M University System.
Subterranean termites are the most destructive insect pests of wood in the United States. They cause billions of dollars in damage each year and have a negative impact on a family’s most valuable possession— the home.In nature, subterranean termites are beneficial because they break down cellulose into usable nutrients. The biomass resulting from this process is recycled to the soil as humus. Subterranean termites are, therefore, considered important in our ecosystem.Problems occur when termites attack the wooden elements of homes, businesses and warehouses built by humans. The presence of termites is often not readily noticed because their activity is hidden behind wallboards, siding or wood trim. Homeowners in all areas of Texas should watch for subterranean termites and take precautions against infestations. To minimize damage from termites, it is helpful to know the description, life cycle and signs of infestation of termites as well as preventive and control measures.