termites:

In by Mark Goodman

Insects that superficially resemble ants in size, general appearance, and habit of living in colonies. Subterranean termites establish themselves in buildings by entering from ground nests after a building has been constructed. If left alone, they will eat the woodwork, leaving a shell of sound wood to conceal their activities. Their damage may proceed so far as to cause collapse of parts of a structure before discovery. There are about 56 species of termites known in the United States. The two major ones, classified by the manner by which they attack wood, are ground-inhabiting or subterranean termites (the most common), and dry-wood termites, which are found almost exclusively along the extreme southern border and the Gulf of Mexico in the United States.

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