Termites have been around for at least 200 million years and their colonies eat non-stop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week; causing billions of dollars worth of property damage. Termites have wings that they shed once they have found a good place to build a nest.
The “subterranean” termite is the infamous termite that does so much damage to homes. They send troops out of the ground nest lying somewhere beneath the home and it is these worker termites that tunnel through the timber and framing of homes and, over time, cause significant destruction. They can destroy building foundations, wooden support beams, plastic plumbing pipes, sub-flooring, insulation… even swimming pool liners and filtration systems! Termites can also injure or destroy living trees and shrubs.
Eastern subterranean termites are highly destructive to douglas fir and other common building timbers. They can rapidly eat out the internal sections of structural timbers – devouring mainly the spring wood, and preferring to leave the harder summer wood sections. As a result, infested timbers are often left as a thin shell with a honey-comb of layered hollow sections.
A subterranean termite infestation begins when warm temperatures and heavy rainfall trigger an established colony to send out a swarm of winged termites. Swarms consist of winged, reproductive males and females. Subterranean termite colonies are usually active for three to five years before winged reproductives appear. The presence of winged termites in your home is a sure sign of infestation.
After mating, swarmer termites land and shed their wings, leaving them in piles that resemble fish scales. If these piles are present on windowsills or spider webs in your home, you are most likely experiencing a termite infestation.
Subterranean termites eat cellulose material of all kinds, including books, picture frames and older, woolen carpets in addition to wood. To reach aboveground food sources, worker termites construct elaborate mud tunnels indoors and outside.
Winged, reproductive termites are frequently mistaken for flying ants, but are smaller than ants and have straight, rather than bent, antennae. Termite swarmers have four wings that are all the same size. Ant swarmers have two large wings in front and two smaller wings behind. If there are piles of wings on windowsills of your home, check to see if they are all the same size. They could be termite wings.
Drywood termites form colonies of up to 2,500 members. These colonies don’t have workers. Younger termites, called “false workers”, do all the work for the colony.
Drywood Termite colonies are usually found in dry wood and they do not require moisture or contact with the soil. They look very similar to subterranean termites, but they are vastly different in their behavior and physiology, because they obtain water solely from their own metabolism, they do not need to maintain contact with the soil or with an external source of moisture. There is often little external evidence of their presence.
Drywood termites can build nests and dig tunnels in buildings. These tunnels cause major damage because the wooden support beams can become weak and make the building lean or fall down.
These are some of the largest termites in North America, perhaps the world, but thankfully they only attack wood that is so wet and moist that rot (wood decay fungus) is likely to set in. Found in wood that is laying on the ground, partially rotted. Homes only encounter these termites when there is some excessive moisture condition such as a chronic roof leak, a chronic pluming leak, or excessive moisture in a substructure crawlspace (standing water, lack of ventilation, etc.) Dampwood Termites swarm – that is, they send out their winged-reproductives, in the late summer.
The Formosan termite is rarely found North of 35° N latitude.
Formosan termites are the largest, most aggressive and destructive timber pests in the United States. It is known to cause major structural timber damage to homes and buildings within a few months. These termites live in huge colonies that are divided into three groups: workers, soldiers and reproductives.
Formosans live in huge underground colonies (up to 300 feet long), and build mud nests inside the walls of a building. They can also live in boats and buildings. Major swarms of this termite occur in May and June, but small flights can occur at any time of the year. Swarming is the primary way the termite naturally spreads after it has been transported to a new area. Spread by swarming is slow mainly because these insects are poor fliers.
Some indications you may have a termite infestation include the following:
Eliminate Moisture Problems
Remove Food Sources
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Operated by Benett Pearlman, the Regional Director of the New York State Pest Management Association, Positive Pest Management specializes in commercial, residential, and industrial properties. We’re in the trenches everyday, trouble shooting on site and committed to permanently solving all your pest problems in a cost-effective manner.
When it’s time to select a pest control company for bed bugs, termites, carpenter ants or other pest removal needs, Positive Pest Management is the best choice you can make. We have the experience and the expertise you need to exterminate any kind of pest problem. And we have a real passion for pest removal. That keeps us a leader in the industry.
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