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Tours Of The Historic Wyatt Buildings Have Continued Despite A Termite Infestation

Tours Of The Historic Wyatt Buildings Have Continued Despite A Termite Infestation 

The town of Waxahachie, Texas contains many historical landmarks, the most notable of which is the Wyatt building. The Wyatt building and the nearby Calaboose building became infested with termites last summer. The construction of the Wyatt building, which is the oldest standing structure in the city, took place over a five year period from 1865 to 1870. The Calaboose building was originally used as a jail for imprisoning individuals convicted of minor crimes. Construction of the Calaboose building occurred during the year of 1888. While the Calaboose building has remained in the same spot since its construction, the Wyatt building has been moved twice order to avoid demolition. The two buildings are now under the control of a historical preservation group called Historic Waxahachie Inc. Although the buildings have become infested with termites, their doors are still open to the public. Luckily, the termite damage that has already occurred in the buildings is not substantial, but this could soon change if renovation efforts are not commenced soon.

Until renovations begin in the two buildings, guided tours will continue. Despite the termite damage that the buildings have sustained, Chelsea Klepfer, the executive director for Historic Waxahachie Inc, claims that the buildings have been maintained regularly to ensure public safety. According to Klepfer, if it were not for the regular efforts to maintain the antiquated structures, irreparable termite damage would likely have occured. Despite Klepfer’s claims, this is not the first time that termites have been found in the Wyatt building.

Last summer the Wyatt building was treated for termites, and all reports indicate that the treatment successfully eradicated the offending termites. However, only months later, some parts of the building must be replaced due to termite damage. Some parts of the building will be replaced as soon as next week, such as interior and exterior areas where termite-damaged wood can be seen. Klepfer states that one of these wooden areas was likely damaged by squirrels and not termites, but this claim may be regarded as dubious by some pest control professionals. An upcoming festival in Waxahachie known as “oddfest” will see numerous tourists flood into the Wyatt and Calaboose buildings in order to take tours while learning about the building’s rich history.

Would you feel comfortable visiting a historical structure that is infested with termites?

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Researchers Perplexed After Finding A New Species Of Termite With Unprecedented Jaws That Snap Shut At Incredible Speeds

Researchers Perplexed After Finding A New Species Of Termite With Unprecedented Jaws That Snap Shut At Incredible Speeds

It is not often that a new termite species is discovered, especially one that possesses bizarre and never before seen features. To call the most recently discovered termite species “odd” would not be going far enough, as this previously unknown species possesses narrow snapping jaws that no other known termite species possesses. This new species, Roisinitermes ebogoensis, belongs to a genus of drywood termite, and its menacing jaws clearly indicate its place in the soldier caste. Soldiers of many different species are easy to discern as they have developed mechanisms that are useful for repelling enemy insects. For example, some termite soldiers have plug-shaped heads that effectively block tunnel entrances around their nests, preventing enemy invasions. Many soldiers also possess oversized jaws that contain sharp teeth. The jaws of soldier termites have evolved to do nothing more than attack enemies, as soldiers cannot even feed themselves on account of their huge jaws. This is why worker termites literally administer food to soldiers. What is perhaps most remarkable about the newly discovered species is the speed at which its jaws snap shut. In fact, this soldier termite’s jaws snap shut at the highest acceleration speeds measured in a living organism.

The jaws of this new termite species are not used for biting per se; instead, their jaws are used for striking enemies. During defensive encounters, these soldiers will hold their mandibles together tightly until the potential energy is released, the left mandible then springs over the right creating a snap that strikes any enemy insects that are in its close vicinity. As you can probably guess, it is unprecedented for a soldier termite to use its jaws in this particular manner.

This species was recently discovered in Cameroon, and with the exception of one extinct termite species, it is the only termite species to use snapping mandibles as a defensive tactic. This feature raises several questions. For example, did snapping mandibles evolve independently in two termite lineages? Or is the extinct species distantly related to the newly discovered species? This new species is not thought to be a pest, but researchers no almost nothing about the species, making further research a top priority for entomologists.

Have you ever had the desire to discover a new insect species?

 

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How Do Termite Colonies Respond To Overpopulation And Underpopulation In The Nest?

If you have always found insects to be fascinating, then you may have noticed that not many people share your enthusiasm for creepy-crawlies. For many people, insects are nothing more than annoying, disgusting or even dangerous pests. While insects may not make for the best topic of conversation at parties, the capabilities of some insect species are nothing short of impressive. For ages, people of all types have marveled over the group of insects that are today referred to as “eusocial insects,” or simply, “social insects.” These insects are well known for living in colonies that operate according to a caste system. Social insects include bees, ants, wasps and termites. All social insect types are unique and very different from typical solitary insects, even dreaded termites. In fact, many experts regard termites as being the most unique of all social insects, as some species build towering and castle-like structures that are known as “mounds.” A mound is only one type of termite nest. For example, some termite nests are located entirely underground, while other nests exist within pieces of wood or on tree limbs. Termite nests may differ, but the colonies that exist within termite nests are quite similar in functioning, no matter the species being considered.

Termites are divided into three groups within a colony. These different groups, or castes, are known as workers, soldiers and reproductives, but all termites are genetically identical upon hatching as nymphs. Although scientists still have much to learn about how caste-differentiation occurs as termites age, it is well understood that a colony’s population must be constantly regulated by the queen’s pheromones so that productivity is not hampered by overpopulation or underpopulation. In the vast majority of cases, there exists only one reproductive queen and king in each colony, and the ratio of soldiers to workers must be closely monitored and regulated by queens. In case a worker or soldier dies or becomes lost, one of the many underdeveloped nymphs that are kept on reserve within a colony begin to develop into either workers or soldiers in order to replace the missing termites. In cases where one caste becomes overpopulated, selective cannibalism occurs in order to restore a colony’s proper balance. If massive amounts of soldier and worker termites die during a predatory attack, a queen sends a chemical message to nymphs in order to prompt their maturation into a soldier or worker. It has been theorized that these chemical messages, or pheromones, activate an organ near a nymph’s brain that prompts the release of the hormones responsible for making nymphs grow into soldiers or workers. This organ is known as the “corpora allata,” but experts still aren’t sure if hormones are the only bodily chemicals responsible for causing nymphs to suddenly mature into full workers or soldiers.

Has a particular insect species ever inspired you to study insects?

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Termite Damage Has Always Plagued Americans

Termite Damage Has Always Plagued Americans | Magic Pest Control

Termites are destructive insect pests that cost America billions of dollars in damages each year. The destructive potential of termites is well understood by modern scientists, pest control professionals and even the public. These days there exists many different forms of termite control. Preventative termite control measures are not just taken by pest control professionals, but also by construction contractors. It is common for termite barriers to be installed around the foundation’s of newly built homes. These termite prevention measures have been used for years, and some states are requiring all new homes to include effective termite barriers to be installed during construction. However, despite all the advanced termite control methods being used in America today, termites continue to cause massive amounts of damage to homes all over the country. It is hard to believe that there was a time in America when termite control methods were largely non-existent, but this was the case in the early 20th century and before. In fact, during this same time, termites were hardly understood by scientists at all. Reading early 20th century scientific publications on termites can offer modern readers a glimpse into an America without effective termite control methods.

According to a Scientific American article written in 1920 called Termites of the Temperate Zone, primary school students were told about termite anatomy and the massive amounts of destruction that they had caused in foreign lands. At the time, very little was known about termites, except for the fact that they consume cellulose in wood. Many experts believed that commercial construction projects pushed termites out of their native habitats. However, this belief was challenged after several termite infestations had been found within government buildings located in the nation’s capital.

Termites had made a habit out of destroying important government documents in Washington DC. Eventually this problem became serious enough for the Bureau of Entomology to step in with advice on how to prevent such damages. It was toward the beginning of the 20th century that people realized that termite destruction can occur within any state, and not just coastal states. For example, in 1916, a storm had blown through southwestern Texas. This storm took down several types of wooden infrastructure, while steel-based types of infrastructure remained in tact. It did not take long for experts to notice that the state’s wooden telephone poles, fences and even wooden windmills had blown over as a result of termites nesting within these structures.

Also around this time, more and more homes were being attacked by termites, which prompted reforms in how homes were to be constructed. For example, wood from timber-made homes could no longer make contact with ground soil. For decades, American citizens hoped to prevent termite infestations by focusing on construction methods as opposed to pest control poisons. Luckily, modern Americans are not nearly so defenseless against termite attacks.

If you live in an old home, do you ever question whether or not it has, or has had a termite infestation?

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Top 10 Termite Prevention Tips

Top 10 Termite Prevention Tips | Phoenix Termite Control

  1. Eliminate or reduce moisture in and around the home, which termites need to thrive.
  2. Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and exterior AC units.
  3. Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles.
  4. Replace weather stripping and loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  5. Divert water away from the house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  6. Routinely inspect the foundation of a home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), uneven or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  7. Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, doorframes and skirting boards for any noticeable changes.
  8. Maintain an 18-inch gap between soil and any wood portions of your home.
  9. Consider scheduling a professional inspection annually. Wood-boring insect damage is not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies.
  10. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.

Termites cannot be controlled with do-it-yourself measures. If you s

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Now That The Monsoon Season Has Arrived, Termites Are Swarming In Arizona

Now That The Monsoon Season Has Arrived, Termites Are Swarming In ArizonaSubterranean Termites in Arizona

Many people probably assume that monsoon season in the southwest United States is just as unpleasant as the winter season in Minnesota. It is not uncommon to hear uninformed individuals comparing monsoons to hurricanes, as if they are similar climatic events. Some people believe that monsoons are enormous title waves, as confusing monsoons with tsunamis is inexplicably common. The truth is, unless you live in the American southwest, you have no reason for knowing what a monsoon is. Monsoons are basically heavy rainstorms that occur within desert regions. As you can imagine, residents of the American southwest find respite in the heavy rainfall that occurs every year during the months of July and August. However, monsoon season also comes with a few negatives. For example, the heavy rainfall that occurs during monsoon season increases termite activity, especially drywood termite activity. Currently in southern Arizona, the region’s monsoon season is causing drywood termites to swarm.

Most people are well aware of the fact that subterranean termites are the most destructive type of termite. No matter which region of North America you find yourself in, subterranean termites are more abundant than drywood and dampwood termites. If a pest control operator is called to a termite infested house within the dry, hot Arizona desert, then there is nearly a 100% chance that the pest control operator will end up using the particular insecticides that kill subterranean termites. Both drywood and dampwood termite eradication efforts require particular insecticides that do not work on subterranean termites. This is exactly why identifying the type of termite responsible for structural damage is key, especially during monsoon season when drywood termites suddenly begin to swarm.

Every year, monsoons in Arizona cause termites to come out of their well-hidden habitats. Termites are drawn to three things: moisture, heat, and, of course, wood. These three things are abundant within the natural environment that is located within the particular area of Tucson known as Pantano Wash. This area of Tucson is free from residential developments, which is why swarms of drywood termites have been spotted numerous times in the area. However, this area will soon undergo rapid construction, which will inevitably lead to drywood termite infestations in future structures.

Are you seeing an increase in termite activity in the region where you live?

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A Court Ruled In Favor Of A Woman Who Hid Termite Damage In Order To Sell A Home | Phoenix Termite Control

A Court Ruled In Favor Of A Woman Who Hid Termite Damage In Order To Sell A Home | Phoenix Termite Control

Imagine finding termite damage in a home that you had just purchased. Such a find would come as a major disappointment to any new home owner. It is for this reason that termite inspections are a must before purchasing a home. Now imagine finding signs of termite damage in your new home after being explicitly told by the previous owners that the home had no history of termite infestations or termite-induced damages. This, of course, is a very different situation, and most courts would find the previous owners to be at fault for not disclosing the home’s history of termite infestations. Sadly, this is not always the case, as one couple from Arizona understands all too well. Losing cases such as these does not occur often, and when they do occur, critics often regard the verdicts as miscarriages of justice, or as misinterpretations of real estate law.

Back in 1982, a married couple, Warren and Gloria Hill, purchased a seventy two thousand dollar home. The couple visited the home several times. During one of these visits, the couple noticed a ripple in the home’s hardwood floor that resembled termite damage. After asking the seller if the damage was caused by termites, she answered “no”, and claimed that water damage had been responsible. Although, the buyers recognized the ripple as being consistent with termite damage, they trusted the seller, as a termite inspection had already determined the home to be free of termite activity during the entirety of its existence.

Shortly after the deal closed, the new owners discovered a manual that the sellers had left behind in a drawer. This manual bore the title: Termites, the Silent Saboteurs. This unsettling find made the new owners suspicious, so they decided to dig up the home’s old inspection reports. The old reports confirmed that the home had been infested with termites several times since it was built. The suspicious ripple also turned out to be termite damage that had been inflicted while the sellers inhabited the home. The new owners quickly filed a lawsuit, but they lost after the judge ruled that the sellers had no duty to disclose the past termite infestations. In fact, the new homeowners were even forced to pay for the seller’s court costs, which amounted to one thousand dollars. This ruling ran contrary to precedents that had been established in previous Arizona cases. Not only that, but this case is also often cited by legal experts as being an error in judgement, as the sellers were bound by law to disclose the past termite infestations to the buyers.

Have you, or someone else you know, ever had to attend court over undisclosed termite damage to a home?

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Hungry Termites Consumed One Girl’s Entire Book Collection | Termite Control

Hungry Termites Consumed One Girl’s Entire Book Collection | Termite Control

Typically, insects are not interested in eating paper materials, as paper is lacking in many essential nutrients. However, there are a few exceptions within the insect community, and termites are certainly one of them. Drywood termites are found infesting books and bookshelves far more often than you may think. In fact, many people have never heard of this form of destructive termite activity, but termites love the cellulose in paper just as much as they love the cellulose in wood. In the past, drywood termite infestations within books have occurred in several libraries and museums around the world. Subterranean termites do not pose a significant threat to books since they must regularly expose themselves to groundsoil in order to survive. Drywood termites, on the other hand, can live their entire lives within a book, or a collection of books, without ever leaving. The cellulose in a book’s paper provides drywood termites with all of the nourishment that they require. These types of infestations have been documented in the past, and they can continue uninterrupted for years before their presence becomes known to humans. Since subterranean termites forage beneath the ground’s surface, books that are stored within basements can be vulnerable to their attacks.

Termite infestations within books usually go unnoticed until  they move on to damaging other objects nearby, such as wood shelving. One girl has recently lost most of her book collection to ravenous termites. More than eighty of Dorcas Aguayo’s books became ravaged by termites, and she does not know how or when the termites gained access to her home. Aguayo posted pictures of the termite-ravaged books on Facebook, where they can still be seen. The caption below one of her photos claimed that the termites had destroyed seventy percent of her library. The books were very dear to Aguayo, as she had spent her life reading them repeatedly as a source of comfort and happiness. Unfortunately, the books also brought happiness to termites.

Have you ever wondered if a termite infestation was present within your home despite not noticing any clear signs of their activity?

 

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How To Know If The Wood In Your Home Was Damaged By Termites Or Ants

How To Know If The Wood In Your Home Was Damaged By Termites Or Ants | Phoenix Pest Control Experts

Termite damage is not always easy to recognize, and they are not the only wood-boring insects that exist. Upon noticing unexplained damage to areas of structural wood, you should first have a termite inspection conducted immediately in order to prevent irreparable damage from occurring. When it comes to wood-boring insects, termites are the last insects that you want infesting your home. When compared to other wood-boring insects, termites cause the greatest degree of structural damages. When a home’s structural damages become extensive enough to clearly indicate a termite infestation, the damage can sometimes be irreversible. Although termites are destructive creatures, they cannot render a home unlivable within a few days; instead, homes become structurally compromised only after long periods of destructive termite activity. Many people whose homes are protected by termite barriers and insecticides may still notice structural damage that indicates a termite presence. When this occurs, many homeowners may assume that they had been ripped-off by a shady exterminator who failed to install effective anti-termite barriers. However, it is far more likely that another type of wood-destroying insect is responsible. Termite poisons and repellents may not be as effective at killing other types of wood-boring insects, this is why it is important to understand the difference between termite damage and damage caused by other forms of destructive insects.

In addition to termites, carpenter ants can also cause damage to the wood in people’s homes. However, only termites are capable of causing damage that is extensive enough to render a home unlivable. No other type of insect can destroy a home’s structural integrity. One difference between the two insects is the type of wood that they are attracted to. Termites excavate wood that is intact and free from rot, such as timber and tree stumps. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, are attracted to wood that has already sustained damage, whether it be from rot or fungus. Carpenter ants, like termites, leave behind noticeable amounts of wood-shavings since they do not consume the wood that they excavate. Although termites consume the wood that they excavate, they can also leave behind wood shavings, albeit far less. In cases where wood destruction makes it hard to determine the type of insect pest responsible, you can instead attempt to locate the insect culprit yourself. Termites and carpenter ants are the same size, and they both swarm. These similarities can make the two different insects hard to discern, but termite workers are pale-colored, and nearly translucent, while carpenter ant workers are reddish or dark in color. Since termites consume wood, they often remain unseen within hollowed sections of wood, but carpenter ants can often be spotted foraging for food within people’s homes, as they do not consume the wood that they excavate from structural timber.

Do you know of any other type of insect species, besides termites and ants, that are capable of inflicting damage to timber structures?

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The Islands Within The Okavango Delta Were Created By Termites | Termite Control

The Islands Within The Okavango Delta Were Created By Termites | Termite Control

The world is full of remarkable land formations that capture the fascination of many people, particularly scientists. Some land formations are mysterious in that researchers have yet to understand how they were formed. Land formations that are commonly found to be awe inspiring stand a good chance of making it onto the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Unbelievably, termites are credited with contributing to two different types of land formations. These land formations include the famous fairy circles in Africa and the islands located in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana. The fact that termite activity is largely responsible for these land formations has only recently been understood by scientists. The islands in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana were not only made by termites, but the Okavango Delta was recently added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

In order to have a land formation be considered as an UNESCO World Heritage site the area must be deemed to have “outstanding universal value”, and the islands located within the Okavango Delta certainly qualify. The land formations are unique because they are essentially small islands located in a wetland in the middle of the desert. This particular delta is also strange in that it does not flow into the ocean. The islands could only have been formed by multiple ecological factors that rarely work together to create land formations.

When it comes to the formation of the delta’s islands, termites are the factor that scientists had never considered until fairly recently. The islands began as termite mounds that eventually grew trees and formed into islands. As the trees grew, more water and nutrients were brought up to the surface in order to nurture the tree’s growth. After awhile this process drained the delta of water, but the water was replaced by water from nearby floodplains. Researchers believe that most islands within Botswana’s deltas originated as termite mounds.

Have you ever visited a delta containing islands that were most likely formed by early termite mound building activity?