Dealing With an Infested House - Advice For a Post-Tom DeLay DC:
There are various schools of thought on how best to get rid of an infestation of Eastern subterranean termites in your house. Basically it depends on the severity of the damage already done. Termites are persistent insects, chewing through the soft parts of the wood in your house, leaving behind a honeycombed shell of the great, sturdy place it used to be. Really, what termites are doing is creating a place where they can live and feed and wreak more and more destruction, taking the solid wood and transforming it into a moist, muddy network of tunnels and tubes. It's the best environment for termites.
A termite colony is a caste-driven society, with a king and, most importantly, a queen at the top. The colony depends on the queen for its survival, as she can lay 2000 eggs a day. The queen can live for up to 25 years. Do the math. That's a hell of a lot of vermin. The worker termites make up the largest caste, and they live up to that moniker, maintaining the tunnels, catering to the needs of the queen, gathering the food. Workers are essential to a well-run destruction wrought by the colony. Then there are the soldiers, with their mighty mandibles and sticky chemicals, always at the ready to kill and crush any ant that might attack the colony. Then there are the swarmers, the termites that leave the colony to find mates with which they can start new colonies. Destruction, you know, is a neverending project.
As revolting as all termites are, especially when you see them in their creeping, crawling swarms, the most disgusting by far is the queen termite. Its gooey white sac is often bloated with eggs, its progeny slipping out of her in a neverending spewing of slimy, larva-engorged mucus balls. She's so filled with the burgeoning termites, ready to be catered to and then set loose to eat and corrupt the stability of the very house that surrounds them, that she's an easy target, too fat to move, too single-purposed in her existence.
So the schools of thought on saving your house are this: if found early enough, before too much damage has been done, you may be able to get away with just killing the queen. However, most pest control experts would say that it's a fool's errand to pursue the queen alone and think that the infestation will be taken care of. Really, in the end, to be safe, to make sure your house isn't gutted from the inside, it's best to just kill the entire colony. Otherwise, they'll just find a new way to breed and destroy, breed and destroy. So wipe 'em out. You'll be happy you did. And you may discover that your house can remain standing longer than you ever expected.