|Destructive Termites in Virginia|
|Identification of the main destructive species|
|It is critical to identify the species of destructive termites to formulate
an appropriate control program. There are three main species of destructive
termites in Virginia.
CONTENTS: learn about these destructive species of termites - tips on identification of the timber damage caused - find out when these termites swarm in your local area and how to identify the swarmers, workers and soldiers - learn of their fascinating biology, life-cycle and behavioural aspects - and receive professional tips on how best protect your home from the world's best timber recycler .... subterranean termites.
|Eastern subterranean termites|
AREAS OF HIGH RISK IN VIRGINIA include Alexandria-VA, Arlington-VA, Blacksburg, Bristol-VA, Charlottesville, Chesapeake, Christiansburg, Colonial Heights, Culpeper, Danville-VA, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Front Royal, Hampton, Harrisonburg, Herndon, Hopewell, Leesburg, Lynchburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, Martinsville-VA, Newport News, Norfolk-VA, Petersburg, Poquoson, Portsmouth-VA, Radford, Richmond-VA, Roanoke, Salem-VA, Staunton, Suffolk, Vienna-VA, Virginia Beach, Waynesboro, Williamsburg and Winchester-VA.
Identification of Swarmers and Soldiers: Swarming generally occurs during the spring but occasionally a few smaller swarms may occur during the summer. Swarming most often occurs during the morning following a warm rain shower whereby the soil temperature is around 70°F.
|Identification of Timber Damage|
As`a result, infested timbers are often left as a thin shell with a honey-comb of layered hollow sections (as illustrated) packed with moist soil. These termites love a moist dark damp environment - it is essential for their survival - discussed in detail under Biology of Subterranean Termites - later on.
|Destructive nature of Eastern subterranean termites|
|The Eastern subterranean termite is a serious economic timber pest causing millions of dollars of damage throughout the areas where it is located. It is estimated that more than 1 in 5 homes in the high activity areas, been or will be attacked at sometime by these voracious little insects.|
|The life-cycle of subterranean termites|
|Biology of eastern subterranean termites|
As noted above, termites constantly groom and feed each other. A valuable technique for the termite controller is to instal and monitor a termite baiting system next to any live activity found in and around the premises where termite foraging is most likely to occur. Subsequent inspections (preferably monthly) may reveal dead or sick worker termites, they change colour to a mottle look, and spread of the termite bait to other termites leading to elimination of the colony.
The termite baits are designed to be non-repellant to the termites and has a unique delayed effect. Time enough to be passed onto the other termites in the colony including the queen, with a sufficient dosage leading to the elimination of the entire colony. This process is explained in detail in the Termite Control section of this website.
|If You find these termites do NOT disturb them|
Eastern subterranean termites have acute survival instincts. If they are
shaken up or disturbed, the termites often will abandon the associated area
and move on to secretly cause damage in other areas in the building. If
you find eastern subterranean termites in or around your property, it is
essential that you do NOT disturb them and promptly arrange for a professional
inspection and application of a termite bait to the live termites, if present
|Western drywood termites|
The Western drywood termite accounts for most of the drywood termite damage in southern California.
Colonies contain up to about 2,000 termites. Severe damage may be caused by the presence of multiple-colonies.It is easily transported outside these areas in infested furniture and other timbers. This termite lives in timber with moisture content of less than 12%.
Drywood termites are often distributed by human activity, commonly by transporting infested furniture, picture frames, and wood to new areas. It has failed to become established in such areas outside its normal southern and mostly coastal range.
Identification of Swarmers and Soldiers: Swarmers are about 1/2" long including wings Their wings are 3/8" long. The head and pronotum of the swarmer is an orange brown and its abdomen is dark brown. The front wing has 3 dark, heavily hardened veins in the front portion.
The forehead of the soldier slopes down gradually from top of head, head flattened to slightly rounded in side view, and head orange to reddish brown with the eye spot whitish. Soldiers have mandibles with unequal number of teeth on each member of pair, and antenna with the third segment greatly enlarged and club-like.
Identification of Timber Damage: Although the colony development is slow, severe structural damage may still be caused by the presence of multiple-colonies. Drywood termites eat across the wood grain and create chambers, or galleries connected by tunnels.
Their gallery and tunnel walls are velvety smooth, and no soil is present. Generally, there are faecal pellets present. They are hard, less than 1/32" long, elongate-oval with rounded ends. One of the unusual distinctive signs of their faecal pellets is that they have 6 concave sides.
Evidence of infestation include swarmers, shed wings, piles of pellets, termite plugs that seal all openings in infested wood, and surface blisters caused by older, enlarged galleries very close to the wood surface.
Biology and Habits: Drywood termites are considered non-subterranean termites, as they do not live in the ground, require no ground contact, and do not build mud shelter tubes.
They are more likely to be in a structure made completely of wood with poor workmanship demonstrated by poorly fitted corner joints. The termites typically inter the ends of wood and seldom enter the sides of the section in question.
Their colonies are located in the wood they eat and are generally small in size when compared to subterranean termite colonies. The colony usually numbers about 3,000 individuals after over 10 to15 years. A distinctive indication is no presence of a worker caste and the nymphs perform all tasks typically done by workers.
After the mating flight, they seek cracks or knotholes in nearby wood and chew a small tunnel which they close then excavating a chamber after which they mate. After 3 year to 4 years the colony may consist of up to 1,000 members.
The first swarmers may be released when the colony is approximately 4 years old. Swarming typically takes place about midday on sunny, warm (80°F) days, with the peak of the swarm occurring shortly after a sudden rise in temperature. It typically occurs during September and October. Swarmers usually number in the dozens, occasionally the hundreds. Night swarmers are attracted to lights.
Swarming drywood termites fly into structures and infest wood directly. When swarming, they often reinfest the same structure. They typically first infest exposed wood such as window/door frames, trim, eaves and attics. They do so by finding a protected crevice or other area, such as the joint between 2 pieces of wood, where shingles/paper overhang timber or moulding, etc., and then attack the wood.
|West Indian powderpost termites|
West Indian powderpost termites are sometimes discovered in other states after being transported in furniture or other timbers.
West Indian powderpost termites infest the structural timbers of buildings, furniture and other dry timbers having less than 12% timber moisture content. This termite species require no ground contact and obtain their required moisture intake from the timber they infest.
West Indian powderpost termites are sometimes called "powderpost" termites or "furniture" termites due to their small faecal droppings and the fact that they commonly attack timber furniture. The average moisture content of seasoned timbers in service in the United States is 8-12%, except along the coastal plains where the moisture level can exceed 12%.
Identification of Swarmers and Soldiers: Swarmers are about 7/16-1/2" long including the wings, with the head width being 1/32-1/16". The head and body are pale yellowish brown to pale reddish brown and the wings are hardened and pigmented. The veins are pale yellowish brown in the outer half of the wing.
The front wings have 3 dark, heavily sclerotized veins in the front half of the wing. The median vein is un-sclerotized and runs midway between sclerotized veins above and unsclerotized area below. The area ends near the wing tip even if branched along its length and is not hairy. The tibia have spines lacking along their length, apex has 3 spines.
The head of the West Indian powderpost termite soldier is short and thick in front, the front surrounded by a flange and the front part nearly black. Mandibles re-curved under front of head, with an unequal number of teeth on each member of pair. The tibia lacks spines along length.
Identification of Timber Damage: The most obvious sign of infestation is the piles of tiny faecal pellets ejected through temporary holes in the infested timber. The faecal pellets are hard, elongated and oval with rounded ends, and have six concave sides.
West Indian powderpost termites eat across the wood grain and make chambers or galleries connected by tunnels. Other signs of infestation include the presence of swarmers or their shed wings, piles of faecal pellets, termite plugs which seal all openings in infested wood, and surface blisters caused by older enlarged galleries very close to the wood surface. Occasionally they may build shelter tubes constructed of pellets cemented together to bridge over to an adjacent piece of wood.
Biology and Habits: West Indian powderpost termites do not live in the ground. They obtain all the moisture required from the timber they infest. They do not require contact with the ground and do not build mud shelter tubes.
Their colonies are located in the wood they eat and are small in size, containing perhaps a few thousand termites. It is commonplace to have multiple colonies in the same building.
West Indian powderpost termite infestations tend to be localised in buildings, in doors, window trims, fascias, even picture frames. They eat the springwood as well as the summerwood. The cavities they excavate in timbers are clean and smooth, and do not contain any mud packing, in contrast with subterranean termites.
|Learn about professional Termite Control ...Click on Termite Control|
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