Termites are one of our most ancient insects
and are related to roaches. Fossilized termites have been found, aged at some 55
million years old.
They actually eat wood and do more damage to wood structures in the United
States than fires and windstorms combined.
The Romans referred to these insects as "Termes" which aptly means woodworm.
The reproductive termites are winged.
Termites are sensitive to touch, odor, taste, and pressure due to tactile
sensory hairs and specialized sense organs.
Termites live in colonies, are social insects and divide their work among
specialized members. They have a rigid caste system which are the reproductive,
the worker and the soldier.
Queens are believed to live up to 25 years and can lay up to 8,460 eggs a day.
A queen weighs at least 100 times as much as a worker or soldier.
Termites live in darkness, in narrow passageways, where the temperature, the
moisture and probably the oxygen pressure to some extent are under their
Each colony is distinct from any other colony of termites, and when two colonies
meet the members will slaughter each other.
Termites can be distinguished from ants by noting that they do not have a
narrowly pinched waist as ants do.
Termites can detect vibrations through their legs and when alarmed, the soldier
termites rattle their heads against the tube walls, thereby initiating
vibrations which instantaneously warn the entire colony.
There are three main types of termites that we control. They are dampwoods,
drywoods, and subterranean.
The dampwood termite is the largest of the
three. It requires damp wood to feed on.
They are usually found in logs and damp or decaying wood.
These termites are found in the West and are most widespread on the Pacific
Although swarming may occur throughout the year, the dampwood usually swarm from
July through October.
Drywood termites can live in dry wood as their
name suggests. They are mainly found in the southern regions of Northern
California. They are usually found in the Bay Area.
Drywood termites are usually detected by the piles of pellets that collect below
holes in walls and or windows.
They are smaller than dampwoods and larger than subterranean termites.
Swarming occurs in June and July in Northern California and September through
October in Southern California.
Subterranean termites are the most common
termites that we deal with. 1 in 20 homes is infested every year by them.
Subterranean termite colonies are usually located in the soil from which the
workers build mud tubes to the wood in structures on which they feed. However,
on occasion an above ground colony is found.
Subterranean termites can be identified by seeing their swarmer (winged
termites), or by seeing mud tubes attached to the wood.
Soil treatment with long residual insecticides
to provide a chemical barrier is the most commonly used control or prevention
method for subterranean termites.
Drywood termites are usually controlled by whole house fumigation or local
treatment such as microwave.