Let our experts handle your termite control needs.
Here at Applied Pest Management, Inc. we make it a priority to be sure our customers can have all of their pest control needs taken care of. Paratex Termite is the department that handles our termite/bird/bat and small animal control. Our contact information is the same, so if you need a termite inspection, give us a call. We can do treatments and repairs as well. We offer free limited inspections, and escrow inspections. Prices vary due to the nature of these types of services, but feel free to call us for a quote. Please refer to our Bird/Bat section for more information on these services.
* Difference Between Termites and Ants
* Feeding Habits
* Communication in the Colony
* Evidence of Termite Infestation
* How Old is the Damage?
* Inspection for Subterranean Termites
Subterranean termites are ground-inhabiting, social insects that live in colonies. A colony or nest of subterranean termites may be up to 18-20 feet below the soil surface to protect if from extreme weather conditions. These termites travel through mud tubes to reach food sources above the soil surface. The mature termite colony has three castes: a) reproductives (king and queen), b) soldiers, and c) workers. The colony reaches its maximum size in approximately 4 to 5 years and may include 60,000 to 200,000 workers. New colonies are formed when winged males and females from a parent colony emerge in flight or swarm.
The winged reproductives are dark brown to brownish black and have two pairs of equal size wings that extend well beyond the body. Swarms are common in spring and fall, especially after a rain. After a flight, the winged males and females return to the ground and shed their wings. The wingless males and females pair off and search for sources of wood and moisture in soil. The royal couple digs a chamber in the soil near wood. Enters the chamber and seals the opening. After mating, the queen starts laying eggs. The queen may live up to 25 years and lay more than 60,000 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs are yellowish white and hatch after an incubation of 50 to 60 days.
Full-grown workers are soft-bodied, wingless, blind and creamy white. In early stages, they are fed predigested food by the king and queen. Once workers are able to digest wood, they provide food for the entire colony. The workers perform all the labor in the colony such as obtaining food, feeding other caste members and immature, excavating wood, and constructing tunnels. Workers mature within a year and live from 3 to 5 years.
Soldiers are creamy white, soft-bodied, wingless and blind. The head of the soldier is enormously elongated, brownish, hard and equipped with two jaws. Soldiers must be fed by workers because they cannot feed themselves. They are less numerous in the colony than workers and their only function is to defend the colony against invaders. Soldiers mature within a year and live up to 5 years.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TERMITES AND ANTS
Flying ants and swarming termites are often difficult to tell apart. Termites have relatively straight, beadlike antennae while ants have elbowed antennae. Termites have two pair of wings (front and back) that are of almost equal length. Ants also have two pair of wings but the fore wings are much larger than the hind wings. The abdomen of the termite is broadly joined to the thorax while the abdomen and thorax of the ant are joined by a narrow waist called a pefiole.
Subterranean termites feed exclusively on wood and wood products containing cellulose. Termites have protozoa (microorganisms) in their intestines that provide enzymes to digest cellulose. Although termites are soft-bodied insects, their hard, saw-toothed jaws work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, a piece at a time. Termites often infest buildings and damage lumber, wood panels, flooring, sheet rock, wallpaper, plastics, paper products and fabric made of plant fibers. The most serious damage is the loss of structural strength. Other costly losses include attacks on flooring, carpeting, art work, books, clothing, furniture and valuable papers. Subterranean termites do not attack live trees.
COMMUMCATION IN TILE COLONY
Termites communicate primarily by secreting chemicals called pheromones. Each colony develops its own characteristic odor. An intruder is instantly recognized and an alarm pheromone is secreted that triggers the soldier to attack. If a worker finds a new source of food, it lays chemical trail for others to follow. The proportion of termites in each caste within the colony is also regulated chemically. Nymphs or immatures can develop into workers, soldiers or reproductive adults depending on colony needs.
Sound is another means of communication. Soldiers and workers may bang their heads against the tunnel creating vibrations perceived by others in the colony and serving to mobilize the colony to defend itself. Mutual exchange of foods enhances recognition of colony members.
EVIDENCE OF TERMITE INFESTATION
* Wood damaged by termites always has remains of mud tubes attached to wood galleries or tunnels in an irregular pattern. The tunnels may contain broken mud particles with fecal materials. In the case of an active colony, white termites may be found in infested wood.
* The presence of flying winged males, females or their shed wings inside the building indicates an infestation.
* The presence of mud or shelter tubes extending from the &ound to woodwork or foundation walls also may indicate infestation. Workers travel periodically via shelter tubes to their nest to regain moisture and perform feeding duties. Each mud tube is approximately the diameter of a lead pencil.
HOW OLD IS TILE DAMAGE?
Based on normal feeding activity, it takes 3 to 8 years to cause appreciable damage. There have been some predictions that, under ideal conditions, a termite colony of 60,000 workers may consume a one-foot length of 2” x 4” pine in 118 to157 days. In Nebraska, the extent of damage may be different because of reduced feeding activity during the cold season.
INSPECTION FOR SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES
Termite damage may be located by probing wood with a screwdriver, ice pick or knife. Start inspection in the basement and use a bright flashlight. Look for mud tubes and the activity of swarmers. If necessary, get help from a professional pest control operator or advice from an experienced entomologist. A qualified professional inspector should inspect the exterior and interior surfaces of the foundation, particularly construction where wood is on or near the soil. Mud tubes are solid evidence of termite activity.
Other sites requiring inspection are: a) wood construction in basement and crawl space (if present); b) sills, joists, support posts, basement window frames, wood under porches; c) hollow blocks, cracks in cement or brick construction and expansion joints; and d) scrap wood on ground, old tree stumps, fence posts and exterior frames of basement windows. The inspector should be able to determine if termites are active or not, how old the damage may be, and if chemical treatment is necessary.
Call us today for an inspection appointment!