Termites are pale-colored insects that live in large colonies and feed on wood. Termites resemble ants in their appearance, manner of living, and social organization, but are not closely related. Termites mostly feed on dead plant material, generally in the form of wood.
They can be very destructive to wooden buildings and structures.
Termites prefer to tunnel inside of wood and can cause extensive damage
without appearing readily on the wood surface. Mud tubes are typically
built to enable movement across a less hospitable surface such as
masonry walls or wood that was just not so nice to penetrate.
Experts estimate that termites damage more than 600,000 homes in the
United States annually. In fact, termites cause more damage to U.S.
homes each tornadoes, hurricanes, wind and hail storms combined.
Unlike weather-related damage, termite damage is not covered by homeowners insurance.
Each year, U.S. residents spend an estimated $5 billion to control
termites and repair termite damage. According to the United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA), control methods and repairs for
damage caused by Formosan termites – the most destructive species of
subterranean termite – account for more than $1 billion of this total.