Types of Termites
Subterranean termites live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas above ground that contain up to 2 million members. They build distinctive “mud tubes” to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air. Termite colonies are organized into castes depending on tasks — workers, soldiers and reproductives. Cream-colored Worker subterranean termites are 1/8 to 3/8′s of an inch in length. Soldier subterranean termites are of a similar body length, but are distinguished by their powerful mandibles. Solider termites have cream-colored bodies and brown heads. Reproductive subterranean termites are approximately one inch long.
These social insects infest dry wood and do not require contact with the soil.
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.
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 termite are about 1/2 inch in overall length, including their wings.
(Source: National Pest Management Association, Inc. January 2010.)
Let’s Talk Termites
Termites are very common in Arizona. The most common termite is what’s called the desert subterranean termite They live in underground colonies of up to two million members, where moisture is prevalent. They build distinctive “mud tubes” to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air.
How to Prevent Termites
Termite prevention with a granule termiticide often costs as little as $20 per year for a 2,000 square-foot home! This odorless concentrate acts like a bait: the termite picks up the chemical, does not realize he has picked it up, takes it back to the termite colony, and ultimately destroys the colony.
How to Treat Existing Termites
The process is also surprisingly easy, and the products are safe around pets and children, do not injure the ground water table and are virtually odorless. Best of all, they last up to nine years.
You can treat dampwood termites by removing any moisture from infected wood. (It’s not unusual for wood rot to be confused with termite damage.)
The only other termite of significance is the drywood termite, which is easily treated with an odorless foam injection.
If you are unsure whether what you see is actually termite activity, feel free to bring in a sample (i.e. wood, tubes) to any one of our stores, and our staff can identify the termite for you.