Subterranean Termite Identification
There are several different groups in a subterranean termite colony that will work together to survive and forage for food. These groups include primary swarmers, secondary swarmers, worker termites, and soldier termites. They slightly vary in physical appearance and also have a role in the colony in order for the colony to mature and develop.
Primary and secondary swarming subterranean termites are also known as the reproductive termites because they are in charge of reproducing the offspring. Primary swarmers are black in color or a pale yellowish brown color. The secondary swarmers are almost white in color but have a more creamy appearance. Although the primary swarmers possess wings, the secondary swarmers are generally wingless or posses very short wings. The wings of the primary swarmers are a pale or a brownish color and have only a few visible veins. Workers and soldier subterranean termites make up most of the subterranean termite colony. They are creamy white in color and do not possess wings like the swarming termites do. They range in size from of an inch to 3/8 inch long. The only major difference between the two is that soldier termites have a head that is larger than the pronotum. Their heads are also a pale brown color. Furthermore, soldier termites have prominent mandibles that protrude out the front of their heads.
Many homeowners may be alarmed when they notice that there are winged swarming termites that come up from the ground that is close to their homes. However, even though this may not mean that you have a mature infestation that has invaded their house, finding a swarmer might be a red flag to begin looking into getting an inspection completed for subterranean termites. This is because it takes some time for subterranean termites to begin infesting wood and will spend time to establish their colony below the ground first. They live underground in huge colonies and will forage and breed underground as well. This is under normal circumstances and when they have established themselves, they may begin to move up the structure if there is moisture source that is available. They will begin to create mud tunnels to conserve moisture which can completely ruin the aesthetics of the house. Colony sizes are huge and under optimal circumstances, colonies can get over 7 million termites large.
In order to survive, subterranean termites must feed on wood and other cellulose materials. They are able to travel up to 100 yards to start establishing a colony near an adequate food source. Also, unlike drywood or dampwood termites, subterranean termites need consistent moisture source in their wood and also require ground contact because they will build their nests underground. The moisture source is provided by leaks, plumbing leaks, shower leaks, and etc.
Subterranean termites are able to cause the most extensive damage to wood and are considered the most destructive wood pest in the United States. The damage can be seen by the infested wood appearing layered with soil deposits inside the galleries and tunnels. Also, when the subterranean termite colonies are more established, they will create aerial nests and build mud tunnels that run up the structure to provide a damp space or to deposit water sources in the mud. These types of damages can ruin the aesthetics of a building, cause structural damage, and also create damages that are almost irreversible and costly to manage.
The first and most important part of subterranean termite control is to inspect and identify the termite species. There are several signs of infestation that people can use to identify the subterranean termite infestation. These include swarming termites, shed wings, mud tunnels, and damaged wood that has been infested.
After acknowledging that it is a subterranean termite infestation that has invaded your home or structure, there are several steps to eliminate the termites. This will involve both mechanical and chemical control. Mechanical control consists of altering the surrounding environment so that infestations are discouraged. This will mean maintaining the nearby trees, vines and other cellulose materials from touching the building. Also, wood pieces like fire wood and other lumber should be not stacked and piled near the building as well. Moreover, because subterranean termites require a moisture source, make alterations around the home that will eliminate the moisture from the wood. By installing crawl space vents, gutters, splash blocks, and etc, homeowners can eliminate possible moisture problems that can help discourage subterranean termites from infesting a building.
Chemical treatment is a method of control that is necessary to eliminate subterranean termites. Many homeowners and professionals will use a monitoring and baiting system to protect the house before a termite colony is established. By installing monitoring stations underground, they can detect any infestations before they begin to forage on the wood for food. Once the monitoring blocks detect a subterranean termite colony, they can be replaced with chemical bait cartridges that will kill the termites that forage on it. Also, there is a trench treatment control method that is done either without bait stations or in conjunction with the bait stations. An appropriately labeled termiticide is injected into the ground and the termiticide then creates a barrier under the structure. Many people choose to use non-repellent termiticides so that the subterranean termites can go about their daily routines without detecting the poison.
Read all product labels before any pesticides are applied. If you have questions on a termite control program for your house or structure, feel free to talk to a Pest Mall representative at 1-800-788-4142.
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Subterranean Termite Control Products – Pestmall.com