Termites – There are Several Types

termites

 

There are three major types of termites found in the United States: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. Formosans are considered a type of subterranean. There are over 2,000 different species, which all have distinct scientific name.

They range from 1/4 to 1/2 an inch in length. The queens and kings are larger, capable of reaching over one inch long. The workers are typically soft-bodied and pale-colored. Flying termites, also called reproductives, have two pairs of prominent wings.

Each type has its own dietary preferences. Subterraneans prefer softwoods, but may invade most species of wood. Dampwoods generally stay close to the ground, but will choose moist, decaying wood anywhere it is found. Drywoods are often found in attics and require little moisture in the wood they eat.

They are detritivores, or detritus feeders. They feed on dead plants and trees. They get nutrients from cellulose, an organic fiber found in wood and plant matter. Wood makes up the majority of the pests’ diet, although termites also eat other materials such as paper, plastic, and drywall. Most species prefer dead wood, but some termites feed on living trees.

Commonly, they live in wooden structures, decayed trees, fallen timber, and soil. Habitats vary among species as some require different amounts of moisture. The pests are found in greater numbers in tropical regions where living conditions for termites is optimal. Subterraneans are the most abundant variety and can be found throughout the United States. Both dampwood and drywood species are generally more localized in the Southern states.

Subterraneans homes are usually formed in soil. Within these mounds, they build elaborate tunnel systems and mud tunnels through which they access above-ground food sources. Drywood termites live within the wood they consume and oftentimes infest walls and furniture. Subterraneans are constantly forging tunnels under your ground around your home.

When a colony has matured, winged, swarming termites can be seen around windows and doors. Winged ones are highly attracted to sources of light and are most active in springtime. After mating, these  locate a new breeding site and create another colony, spreading infestations throughout multiple locations in the case of drywood termites. The swarming season in the Southern states is normally in May.

We at Southern Pest Control have been controlling termites in South Mississippi for over 37 years. Our technicians are well trained to handle all your termite problems. Please call us at 800 527-9832 to give you a Free Estimate to control termites around your home. Also, you can visit our website at www.southernpestcontrol.biz to learn more about us and meet our team.

 

Termites in the Winter

termites in the winter

 

Termites in the Winter. We all are aware of termites around swarming season in May. We can see activity in our normally warmer months of the year. In the winter and wet months, they seem to disappear, leading many to believe that they either just stop working and hibernate or just die off under the snow or wet soil. Both of these seemingly obvious answers are far from the truth. Termites remain active throughout the year.

Termites do not have the ability to generate their own body temperature, they are also not reptiles but are cold blooded, meaning the temperature changes in the environment can affect their bodies directly. The termites that build nests in the ground are the ones that are thought to be dormant in winter. These termites handle the cold by simply digging deeper into the soil in search of warmth. Termites have been found at over 40 inches below their nests, deep into the ground. Their activity can slow down to an extent, but they do not by any means lie dormant. They still forage for food and can still damage wood in the winter. The extent of damages caused by termites in the winter months depends entirely on the type of termite, size of colony and proximity to wood. Three things are essential for the survival of termites – water, wood, and heat. All three of these may be easily found in your nice warmer home during the winter months.

During the winter months, termite activity is slowed down, but it does not mean it will stop altogether. The same things you should look for in the summer for infestation: mud tubes on walls or floors, sunken wood surfaces that seem like mild craters on the surface, shed wings of the insect in or around the house, and wood powder near minute pinholes on the face of the wood are still relevant in the winter. It is important to stay alert all year round to termites.

We at Southern Pest Control have been a leader for years in helping people like you avoid termite infestation and destruction in our Gulf Coast Region for over 37 years. Our trained professionals are aware of what to look for and how to treat your situation to avoid a major problem to your home. If you have any idea that termites might be a problem, please don’t hesitate to call us at 800 527-9832. Also visit our website at www.southernpestcontrol.biz to meet our team and all the services we offer.

Termites in May

 

 

termites

 

Entomology departments often receive more calls about termites than any other household insect. Subterranean termites are serious pests; whose control is best left to professionals. Termites and termite management services can be confusing, however, and there are more options available today than ever before. Some of the most common termite questions raised by homeowners are answered below.

  • Why worry about termites?
  • Why are infestations often discovered during March – May?
  • How will I know if my home is infested?
  • Will the chemicals harm my family or pets?

Q: Why worry about termites?

A: They cause billions of dollars in damage each year. They primarily feed on wood, but also damage paper, books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners and filtration systems. Termites can injure living trees and shrubs, but more often are a secondary invader of woody plants already in decline. While buildings may become infested at any time, termites are of importance when buying or selling a home since a termite inspection/infestation report is normally a condition of sale. Besides the monetary impact, thousands of winged termites emerging inside one’s home are an emotionally trying experience — not to mention the thought of termites silently feasting on one’s largest investment.

Q: Why are infestations often discovered during March – May?

A: Spring typically is when large numbers of winged termites, known as “swarmers,” emerge inside homes. In nature, termites swarm to disperse and start new colonies. Triggered by warmer temperatures and rainfall, the winged ones emerge from the colony and fly into the air.

The swarmers then drop to the ground, shed their wings, pair off with a mate, and attempt to begin new colonies in the soil. Few swarmers emerging outdoors survive to start new colonies. Swarmers emerging indoors are incapable of eating wood, seldom survive, and are best removed with a vacuum. They do, however, indicate that an infestation is present.

Q: How will I know if my home is infested?

A: Discovering winged ones indoors almost always indicates an infestation warranting treatment.

People often confuse winged termites with ants, which often swarm at the same time of year. They can be differentiated by their straight antennae, uniform waist and wings of equal size. (Ants have elbowed antennae, constricted waists and forewings that are longer than the hind wings.)

The swarmers are attracted to light and are often seen around windows and doors. The swarmers emerging from tree stumps, woodpiles, and other locations out in the yard are not necessarily cause for concern, and do not necessarily mean that the house is infested. On the other hand, if winged termites are seen emerging from the base of a foundation wall or adjoining porches and patios, there’s a good chance the house is infested also and treatment may be warranted.

Other signs of infestation are earthen (mud) tubes extending over foundation walls, support piers, sill plates, floor joists, etc. The mud tubes are typically about the diameter of a pencil, but sometimes can be thicker.

They construct these tubes for shelter as they travel between their underground colonies and the structure. To help determine if an infestation is active, the tubes may be broken open and checked for the presence of small, creamy-white worker termites.

If a tube happens to be vacant, it does not necessarily mean that the infestation is inactive; termites often abandon sections of tube while foraging elsewhere in the structure.

Termite-damaged wood is usually hollowed out along the grain, with bits of dried mud or soil lining the feeding galleries. Wood damaged by moisture or other types of insects (e.g., carpenter ants) will not have this appearance. Occasionally termites bore tiny holes through plaster or drywall, accompanied by bits of soil around the margin. Rippled or sunken traces behind wall coverings can also be indicative of termites tunneling underneath.

Oftentimes there will be no visible indication that the home is infested. Termites are cryptic creatures and infestations can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Termite feeding and damage can even progress undetected in wood that is exposed because the outer surface is usually left intact. 

Q: Will the chemicals harm my family or pets?

A: Termiticides are tested extensively for adverse effects on health. Before a product can be used, numerous studies are conducted by the manufacturer and independently evaluated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Based on the current body of knowledge, registered termiticides pose no significant hazard to humans, pets or the environment when applied according to label directions. Despite the negligible health risk from a properly performed termite treatment, people with lingering concerns should consult their physician. Most of the newer liquid products have essentially no odor. Clients who are still apprehensive may want to consider having their home treated with baits.

When termites become a concern to you, you should call a professional that is skilled in identifying termite problems in your home and how to protect your home from these unwanted pests.

We at Southern Pest Control have been providing termite protection for many families in the Gulf Coast area for over 35 years. Please give us a call at 800 527-9852 to have one of our skilled technicians come give you a Free Estimate to have your home protected from termites. You are also welcome to visit our website at www.southernpestcontrol.biz to meet our team of trained professionals.

Types of Termites

termites

 

There are three major types of termites found in the United States: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. Formosans are considered a type of subterranean. There are over 2,000 different species, which all have distinct scientific name.

They range from 1/4 to 1/2 an inch in length. The queens and kings are larger, capable of reaching over one inch long. The workers are typically soft-bodied and pale-colored. Flying termites, also called reproductives, have two pairs of prominent wings.

Each type has its own dietary preferences. Subterraneans prefer softwoods, but may invade most species of wood. Dampwoods generally stay close to the ground, but will choose moist, decaying wood anywhere it is found. Drywoods are often found in attics and require little moisture in the wood they eat.

They are detritivores, or detritus feeders. They feed on dead plants and trees. They get nutrients from cellulose, an organic fiber found in wood and plant matter. Wood makes up the majority of the pests’ diet, although termites also eat other materials such as paper, plastic, and drywall. Most species prefer dead wood, but some termites feed on living trees.

Commonly, they live in wooden structures, decayed trees, fallen timber, and soil. Habitats vary among species as some require different amounts of moisture. The pests are found in greater numbers in tropical regions where living conditions for termites is optimal. Subterraneans are the most abundant variety and can be found throughout the United States. Both dampwood and drywood species are generally more localized in the Southern states.

Subterraneans homes are usually formed in soil. Within these mounds, they build elaborate tunnel systems and mud tunnels through which they access above-ground food sources. Drywood termites live within the wood they consume and oftentimes infest walls and furniture. Subterraneans are constantly forging tunnels under your ground around your home.

When a colony has matured, winged, swarming termites can be seen around windows and doors. Winged ones are highly attracted to sources of light and are most active in springtime. After mating, these  locate a new breeding site and create another colony, spreading infestations throughout multiple locations in the case of drywood termites. The swarming season in the Southern states is normally in May.

We at Southern Pest Control have been controlling termites in South Mississippi for over 35 years. Our technicians are well trained to handle all your termite problems. Please call us at 800 527-9832 to give you a Free Estimate to control termites around your home. Also, you can visit our website at www.southernpestcontrol.biz to learn more about us and visit our team.

 

 

When Does Termite Season Begin and End?

 

 

termites

When Does Termite Season Begin and End?

Termite season does not have a set beginning and end. Termites are active year round. The season when termites are most visible – through swarms, discarded wings and droppings – is March to November.

In warmer climates like ours, termites remain consistently active year round. In cooler climates, termites typically are less active during the winter months (November – February). While termites in these areas may slow down during the holidays, their continued activity means that they can cause damage at any time. So, it is important to stay prepared always.
The period termites are visible depends on where you live. Subterranean termites do not forage for food when the soil is too hot or cold. Depending on which state you live in, you may experience moderate temperatures for a few months a year – or almost all year.

The weather is not the only factor impacting activity. Termite activity also depends on the degree of shelter a colony receives in its nest. Drywood termites located inside a warm home are not as exposed to temperature variations, so seasonal weather changes will not impact them as much. Similarly, subterranean termites may create nests up to 18 inches below ground and away from the cool air, or forage in more protected areas of their nest during the winter months. An environment with a regulated temperature like a basement can provide the perfect shelter from the cool weather. Remember Formosan termites do not have to return to the ground if they can locate a consistent moisture area in your home, which makes it impossible for your ground protection chemicals to help rid you of these termites.
While termites typically are not visible year round, they can damage your house any month of the year. Regardless of the season or the outside temperature, if you see signs of termites, contact your pest control professional. A qualified termite specialist is trained to identify signs of a termite infestation, even when activity is not very visible to you.

We at Southern Pest Control have been protecting homes here in the Gulf Coast area for over 35 years. Please visit our website at www.southernpestcontrol.biz to meet our team and learn more about us.