|Destructive Termites in North Carolina|
|Identification of the main destructive species|
|It is critical to identify the species of destructive termites to formulate
an appropriate control program. There are two main species of destructive
termites in North Carolina.
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 NORTH CAROLINA include Albemarle, Apex, Asheboro, Asheville, Boone-NC, Burlington-NC, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Clayton-NC, Clemmons Village, Concord-NC, Cornelius, Durham, Eden, Elizabeth-NC, Fayetteville-NC, Garner, Gastonia, Goldsboro, Graham, Greensboro, Greenville-NC, Havelock, Henderson-NC, Hendersonville-NC, Hickory, High Point, Holly Springs, Hope Mills, Huntersville, Indian Trail, Jacksonville-NC, Kannapolis, Kernersville, Kings Mountain, Kinston, Laurinburg, Lenoir, Lexington-NC, Lumberton, Matthews, Mint Hill, Monroe-NC, Mooresville-NC, Morganton, New Bern, Newton-NC, Pinehurst, Raleigh, Reidsville, Roanoke Rapids, Rocky Mount, Salisbury-NC, Sanford-NC, Shelby, Smithfield, Southern Pines, Statesville, Tarboro, Thomasville-NC, Wake Forest, Wilmington-NC, Wilson and Winston Salem.
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
|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.
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