Termites

Formosan Termites

Originally from China, Formosan termites are the most voracious, aggressive and devious of over 2,000 termite species known to science. Formosan termites are a subterranean species of termite. Swarmer Formosan termites are about 1/2 inch in overall length, including their wings.

Pest Facts

Color: Yellowish brown
Legs: Six
Shape: Long, narrow, oval
Size: 1/2 inche
Antennae: Yes
Flying: Yes
Region: AL, CA, FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA

Habits

Formosans are organized into huge underground colonies, and build intricate mud nests inside the walls of a structure.

Habitat

Formosan termites are the most aggressive subterranean termite species. Formosans are organized into huge underground colonies, and build intricate mud nests inside the walls of a structure.

Threats

Because of their aggressive nature, Formosan termites are difficult to control once they infest a structure. Prevention is key.

Formosan subterranean termites are difficult to control once they have invaded a structure. For that reason, prevention should be the first line of defense. If a Formosan colony is found within a structure, quick action is required to minimize potential structural damage. When the soil of an infested structure is treated to stop their entry, the individuals already in the structure may form an independent nest above ground and avoid the treated soil.

Prevention:

Avoid water accumulation near your home’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard. Most importantly, eliminate wood contact with the soil. Maintain a one-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building.

  • Use wood pressure treated with preservatives that make it more resistant to termite attack.
  • Correct any sources of excess moisture – leaky plumbing, air conditioning condensation, poor drainage, inadequate ventilation – to deny the termites an additional moisture supply.
  • Contract with a professional pest control company to regularly inspect your home to detect a termite infestation and then treat it accordingly.
  • Eliminate all wood-to-soil and rigid foam board-to-ground contact.
  • Remove any wood debris.

Control options:

  • Place a termiticide barrier in the soil between the termites and the wood structure.
  • If the structure is already infested, locate the carton nests for localized treatment, or fumigate the entire structure.
  • Above ground bait stations may also be necessary if the structure is already infested.
  • Control aerial colonies by correcting excess moisture conditions and by fumigation or installation of above-ground termite baiting stations.
  • Remove cartons and locally treat those areas with appropriate products.

Subterranean Termite

Family Rhinotermitidae

Pest Facts

Color: Worker: Pale, cream colored. Soldier: Light colored with brown head. Supplementary Reproductive: Light colored. Primary Reproductive: Dark brown/black.
Size: Worker: 1/8- to 3/8-inch in length. Soldier: Body is similar to that of the worker, but large, deck head with powerful mandibles. Supplementary
Behavior: This termite is known to swarm in spring, but small flights can occur at any time of the year. Swarming is the visible means that termites use to establish new colonies. As the colony grows, specialized castes are produced for the different tasks required. One caste produced is the workers. Another caste is the soldiers. And a third caste is the reproductives. Primary reproductives swarm and start new colonies. They are called alates or swarmers. Although thousands of primary reproductives may be produced each year, they all leave the nest. Supplementary reproductives, on the other hand, can become reproductive only in the colonies in which they were born. They assist the primary king and queen in population growth of the colony.

Habitat

Subterranean termites live in colonies in the ground, building vertical tunnels that look like mud tubes above ground level so that they can search for food. Because subterranean termites will die if exposed to air for an extended period of time, the tunnels provide protection from the open air, allowing workers to carry food to the nest. Subterranean termites can form tunnels through cracks in concrete, so slab homes are not exempt from these termites. They need to stay in contact with the soil in order to survive, unlike drywood termites that only need low moisture.

There are several things a homeowner can do which can help prevent termite infestations or make them easier to detect.

  • Store firewood away from the house.
  • Make sure at least four inches of the foundation can be seen all around the home. Siding should not extend into the soil. Mulch and soil should not touch the siding.
  • Make sure water drains away from the foundation to ensure water does not accumulate. Rain gutters are ideal; however, the downspout should direct the water away from the home.
  • Roof or plumbing leaks can allow termites to survive above ground in a house. These should be corrected as soon as possible.

Formosan Subterranean Termites

Formosan subterranean termites are difficult to control once they have invaded a structure. For that reason, prevention should be the first line of defense. If a Formosan colony is found within a structure, quick action is required to minimize potential structural damage. When the soil of an infested structure is treated to stop their entry, the individuals already in the structure may form an independent nest above ground and avoid the treated soil.

Prevention:

  • Use wood pressure treated with preservatives that make it more resistant to termite attack.
  • Correct any sources of excess moisture – leaky plumbing, air conditioning condensation, poor drainage, inadequate ventilation – to deny the termites an additional moisture supply.
  • Contract with a professional pest control company to regularly inspect your home to detect a termite infestation and then treat it accordingly.
  • Eliminate all wood-to-soil and rigid foam board-to-ground contact.
  • Remove any wood debris.

Control options:

  • Place a termiticide barrier in the soil between the termites and the wood structure.
  • If the structure is already infested, locate the carton nests for localized treatment, or fumigate the entire structure.
  • Above ground bait stations may also be necessary if the structure is already infested.
  • Control aerial colonies by correcting excess moisture conditions and by fumigation or installation of above-ground termite baiting stations.
  • Remove cartons and locally treat those areas with appropriate products.

Dampwood Termites

Description

As the name suggests, dampwood termites infest wood with a high moisture content. Dampwood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species. Bodies of king and queen dampwood termites range in size from 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch long and have two pairs of wings that are equal in size and shape and extend beyond their abdomen. Nymphs range up to 5/8 inch and worker dampwood termites are up to 3/4 inch.

These social insects infest dry wood and do not require contact with the soil. They form colonies of up to 2,500 members. Unlike subterranean termite species, drywood termite colonies do not have a worker caste. The work is done by immature termites before they reach adulthood.

Pest Facts

Color: Brownish
Legs: Six
Shape: Long, narrow, oval
Size: 3/4 – 1 inch
Antennae: Yes
Flying: Yes
Region: WA, OR, CA, NV, ID, MT, FL

Habits

Dampwood termite colonies, like drywood termites, have no worker caste. The nymph dampwood termites take care of the kings and queens of the colony and feed the soldier caste.

Habitat

Because of their need for excessive moisture, dampwood termites are not often found in structures. Drywood termites infest dry wood, like that found in attic framings.

Threats

Dampwood termites do not usually infest structures because of the low moisture content of wood in structures. However, care must be taken to avoid attracting dampwood termites to a structure.

Prevention

Drywood termites can be avoided by making sure firewood and scrap wood is stored at least 20 feet from the home. Because drywood termites form new colonies by gaining access to wood through small holes, seal all cracks and crevices in a structure.

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