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Termites

Damage

Termites are wood destroying insects that nest underground and seek sources of wood for food. If that wood is an old dead tree, it isn’t a problem. When it is the structural framework of a home or building, you have an expensive—even dangerous—termite infestation problem. Once termites make their way into a structure they chew their way through wood, creating pencil sized tunnels that destroy the structural integrity of foundation beams, sills, floor joists, weight bearing walls and eventually all the wood in a building if the termite infestation is left unchecked. A mature termite colony can contain more than 2 million individuals. As colonies grow they can split up into secondary colonies with new Queens. These new colonies can then feed and grow and all of a sudden you have more than one colony potentially attacking your location.

 

General Facts

There are three different types of termites: ¬Ědamp wood, dry wood, and subterranean. Damp wood termites generally live in areas that are heavily forested, whereas dry wood termites live in extremely dry wood and are rarely found in the US.

Termites are social insects that live in hierarchical colonies led by a king and queen and populated by castes of soldier termites, Soldier Termite with Workersworker termites and immature termites in various stages of development. Members of each caste look different and play specific roles in a termite infestation site.

Workers make up the majority of the colony population. They care for eggs and feed and tend to the other caste members. They are the smallest members of the colony, are rarely seen, and soft white, almost translucent bodies. Workers do the construction of the colony, leading to the destruction of homes and buildings. Soldiers defend the colony. They are white like workers but have a large, hard head with two large mandibles they wield as weapons against intruders. Winged reproducers help spread the population of termites and establish new termite infestation sites. They will swarm in large numbers and assist the king and queen in egg laying, colony growth and in establishing new colonies.

The king termite mates with the queen to increase the size of the termite infestation. Each termite colony typically has one king termite. The queen termite is responsible for the colony growth. She is responsible for laying thousands of eggs over a lifespan that can reach ten years. Colonies that top several million termites may have secondary queens who also produce eggs.

Of termites found in the U.S., the subterranean species is the most prevalent termite infestation and is the most damaging in Long Island and New York. Dampwood termites live in heavily forested areas, primarily in the south and pacific coast, and are termites in the United States are dampwood, drywood and subterranean. Dampwood termites commonly live in heavily forested areas of the country as they prefer wet wood; while, drywood termites, much more rare in the United States, prefer extremely dry wood. Subterranean termites require moist environments, live mainly in the soil and are the most destructive species.

 

Control

Getting rid of termites is not easy because of the size and location of the underground colonies. Termites can forage far below the soil for food and will create underground colonies with a series of tunnels and passageways. The termites will mark food sources with a pheromone trail so the other members of the colony can follow a path. The most effective termite control solution is based on careful inspection, observation, and follow up. The final treatment needs to successfully eradicate the entire colony, stopping termite foraging at its source.

Prevention Tips: Although it is impossible to completely prevent termites from entering the typical home, the following steps will help in preventing future infestations:

  • All wood-to-soil contact must be eliminated
  • Maintain proper drainage around your property, as moist soil will attract termites
  • Keep wood structures, fence posts, wooden sheds, decks, play sets, firewood piles, and other wood sources at least 10 to 15 feet from the home.
  • Termites will be attracted decaying mulch, if possible remove mulch annually and replace it with new mulch.
  • Shrubs & Trees root removal. When these plants are removed, the decaying root system will attract termites.