April 27, 2017
5 W’s and an H about Termite Swarm Season
Termite swarm season is the time of year when winged termites or ‘swarmers’ leave their colonies to find a mate and reproduce. This… Read More
Termites are silent destroyers that cause over $5 billion in property damages each year in the United States!
There are three different divisions or castes of subterranean termites in a colony:
Workers are white, approximately 1/8” long, and wingless.
Soldiers are slightly larger than the workers, wingless, and white or beige and have large brown heads with chewing jaws.
Reproductives are the largest members of the colony. These 1/2” long-winged termites are responsible for enlarging the colony through mating and reproduction.
Subterranean termites are active throughout the year with swarming in the spring.
Subterranean termites live and feed in the soil, but they will also nest in wet wood. They are attracted to wood or other items that contain cellulose for food and they are attracted to light.
Subterranean termites live underground. They come above ground for food and may be detected by the presence of mud tubes, which they use for traveling purposes.
These silent destroyers are very destructive to wood structures but CBS homes are not immune. With wood structures, they can tunnel into your home from their nest and attack any wood structure that they happen to find. With concrete block homes, they can tunnel between the blocks to reach the wood in your attic. They can literally eat you out of house and home, and most of the time without you knowing until it’s too late.
Formosan colonies are the largest colonies of the subterranean termites. Can be up to 6-7 million members in a colony. Just like the native subterranean termites, there also are three different castes in the Formosan subterranean termite colony. While these castes share the same responsibilities as the castes in the native subterranean termite colony, Formosan colony members have a few physical differences:
Workers are small, white or off white and approximately 1/8” long.
Soldiers are light brown with and oval shaped orange-brown head and are a little larger than the workers.
Reproductives are yellowish-brown, 1/2” long and are sometimes winged.
Formosan subterranean termites are active year-round in Florida with an increased level of activity in the spring months when they swarm to start new colonies.
Formosan subterranean termite swarmers are attracted to light and are often discovered near windows, light fixtures, in spider webs near lighted areas, and on windowsills. These termites also feed on wood and cellulose, which can be found in plants.
Formosan subterranean termites build nests that are made up of chewed wood, soil, saliva and fecal material. These nests can be both above and below ground. The nests are typically located away from the structures that they are feasting on and can be difficult to locate.
Formosan termites are the most destructive species of termites in Florida. Formosan subterranean termite nests are much larger than that of a native subterranean termite. While native subterranean termite nests have members in the hundreds of thousands, Formosan subterranean termite nests can have nests in the millions. Their sheer numbers make them a danger as an invasive pest. They are the most destructive termite in the world. These destroyers are known to eat through such things as:
Foam insulation boards
Thin lead and copper sheeting
Asian subterranean termites do resemble their cousins, the Formosan Subterranean termites in some ways, but not in others. They have huge underground colonies, and their sheer numbers and size far surpass their Formosan cousins. They also build large mud carton nests in the walls of structures. The Asian Sub Termite has 3 distinctive castes in their colonies.
The reproductives lay the eggs. Each colony only has one pair of primary reproductives and these darker and larger termites can live for up to 20 years and lay 1,000 eggs each day, which is how their colonies get so large, so fast. They are the only ones who have eyes, the rest of the termites are blind.
The soldiers defend their nest from invaders. This blind caste of Asian sub termites has a larger sized jaw and head to help block the tunnels of the colonies from intruders. They produce a rattling sound which is something that they do to warn off nest-mates by banging their heads against the walls of the tunnels. If the colony is large enough and the environment quiet enough, this sound can be heard in infested buildings.
The workers work for their colony. They dig tunnels, care for the young and gather food. These small milky white termites have saw-tooth mandibles that allow them to take small bites of wood and carry it back to the nest. These are the ‘destroyers’ themselves.
Asian subterranean termites are active year-round in Florida with an increased level of activity in the spring months when they swarm to start new colonies.
Swarmers of Asian subterranean termites are attracted to lights. These destructive pests like to live in dark, humid and moist areas that offer them cellulose for food.
Asian subterranean termites build their nests underground or in walls of buildings and can be found throughout South Florida.
Asian Subterranean termites are extremely destructive. These termites breed quickly and quietly. The queen can lay up to 1,000 eggs each day which causes the colony to grow very fast. They eat cellulose that’s found in wood. Wood structures in buildings and wood products like playground equipment and fences are on their menu.
Drywood termites are small and have three separate castes within their colonies. However, unlike the subterranean termites the workers, soldiers, and reproductives are not easily distinguished.
Drywood termites are a year round concern in Florida with an increase of activity in the spring and early summer when they swarm.
Drywood termites are attracted to dry wood.
Drywood termites live in the wood that they are infesting. They can be found in wooden playground sets, in woodpiles, in wooden furniture and in the wooden framework of buildings.
Drywood termites are slow eaters compared to other termites, but when they get done there is almost nothing left. These termites build extensive cities within the wood that they are inhabiting and just like the subterranean termite will literally eat you out of house and home. Drywood termites can also often infest the contents of a home like the furnishings, furniture and don’t need any contact with the soil.