|Destructive Termites in Utah|
|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 Utah.
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 UTAH include American Fork, Bountiful, Brigham, Cedar, Centerville-UT, Clearfield, Clinton-UT, Draper, Farmington-UT, Holladay, Kaysville, Layton, Lehi, Logan, Midvale, Murray-UT, North Ogden, Ogden, Orem, Payson-UT, Pleasant Grove-UT, Provo, Riverton, Roy, Salt Lake, Sandy, South Jordan, South Ogden, South Salt Lake, Spanish Fork, Springville, St. George, Syracuse-UT, Taylorsville, Tooele, West Jordan and West Valley.
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
|Arid-land subterranean termites|
Identification of Swarmers and Soldiers: In locations below 4,000 feet the Arid-land termite swarms between January and March. Above 4,000 feet, they usually swarm in June and July. The swarmers are about 1/3” long with wings, and 1/5” long without wings. Their wings are almost whitish, with brown veins in the fore area. Swarmers are dark brown to black in color. The soldiers are 1/4” long, with jaws that are nearly straight. They resemble the jaws of the desert termite but are slightly thicker.
Biology and Habits: The Arid-land subterranean termite has been found living in sand dunes, as well as at altitudes above 7,000 feet in the Rocky Mountain states. It is also found in moist river low lands and along streams and canyons, but essentially it is a desert or prairie species. Arid-land subterranean termites naturally occur in deserts where they attack creosote and greasewood bushes as well as buildings and other timber structures.
|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.
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