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If My Home’s Timber-Frame Remains Free Of Moisture Am I Safe From Termite Attacks?

It is often claimed that termites require high-moisture conditions in order to survive, but this claim may seem dubious considering that several subterranean termite species have no problem surviving within Arizona’s exceptionally dry desert soil. While not all of the termite species in Arizona are considered pests to structures, the entire state is located within a geographic region where termite pest activity is considered moderate to heavy, and termites are considered the most significant indoor insect pests within the state.

Since termites are clearly abundant in the Sonoran Desert region of Arizona, they must find water somewhere. Since the sandy desert surface is cleary bereft of moisture, subterranean termites are able to establish colonies located far below the ground surface where adequate moisture can be found. The arid land subterranean termite species maintains a habitat in particular areas where soil contains a bit more moisture than can be found within the barren sandy landscapes that most people picture when thinking of the Sonoran Desert. This species can be found in nearly all areas of the state. The desert subterranean termite is the only subterranean termite species in Arizona that can withstand periods of drought within the hottest areas of the state. This species is the most common termite pest found within structures in Arizona, but unlike the arid land subterranean termite species, the desert subterranean termite species can only be found in the southern half of the state.

Subterranean termite species in Arizona can attack new homes where lumber is dry, as these species construct mud tubes that connect the ground soil to indoor structural wood. These mud tubes provide subterranean termites with direct access to soil where they can readily quench their thirst. Subterranean termites can establish a permanent infestation within indoor wood sources that have become heavily saturated with water due to plumbing leaks or seepage from rain water, making repeated trips to soil unnecessary.

Drywood and dampwood termite species do not make contact with soil; instead, colonies maintain a constant presence within single wood items, such as dead trees and logs. However, the swarming termites (alates) that emerge annually from drywood and dampwood termite colonies often squeeze into small cracks and pores within any area of a home’s wood exterior where they proceed to establish infestations that usually spread into a home’s interior timber-frame. Since these termites do not extract water from the soil, they can only survive within wood that contains adequate moisture levels. Most homes in Arizona contain wood that is moist enough to support drywood termite colonies, but dampwood termites require more water in order to establish an infestation, making dampwood termite infestations relatively rare in Arizona.

Were you aware that dampwood termites could infest homes in Arizona?

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The Elevation Of Urban And Residential Areas Of Arizona Determines When Termite Swarms Emerge

The Elevation Of Urban And Residential Areas Of Arizona Determines When Termite Swarms Emerge

At least 45 termite species have been documented as inhabiting the United States, and 30 of these species are known to inflict damage to structural wood or wood products. While Arizona is home to 17 termite species, only five are considered species of serious economic importance. In addition to causing a greater amount of property damage than any other pest species in the world, termites can also be a nuisance to homeowners. While subterranean and drywood termite workers are responsible for locating and initiating destructive indoor infestations, termite swarmers (alates) can annoy homeowners during the spring and early summer seasons, as swarms are of significant size and they often emerge in residential and urban areas where some species gravitate toward porch lights and street lights.

Termite swarms emerge when queen termites secrete pheromones that prompt reproductive alates to take flight from existing colonies. These swarms are comprised of male and female alates that attempt to find a mate in order to establish new colonies in areas where termites may not normally pose a threat to the structural integrity of homes and buildings. Fortunately, about 99 percent of swarming alates die before establishing a new colony as queen and king. Unfortunately, the alates that do survive often establish new colonies near the artificial light sources that lure them into human-populated areas.

There exists three subterranean termite species in Arizona that are considered highly destructive pests. One of these species, the arid-land subterranean termite, naturally inhabits unpopulated desert regions where they feed on vegetation. One reason as to why this species is becoming progressively more destructive is because new homes and buildings are being built over land where these termites are abundant. When structural developments remove their natural food source, the termites naturally turn to structural wood as their primary source of sustenance. This explains why swarms are so common within and near new homes in Arizona. While experts state that arid-land subterranean termite swarms occur in between the months of January and March, this is not always the case, as swarms emerge at different times of year depending on the elevation where colonies are established. In urban and residential areas below 4,000 feet in Arizona, residents can expect swarms to emerge during the winter and early spring seasons, but at elevations higher than 4,000 feet, arid land subterranean termites swarm during June and July.

Have you ever witnessed a termite swarm in your neighborhood?

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Termite Warning Signs | Phoenix Termite Control

Termite Warning Signs | Phoenix Termite Control

Magic Pest offers the following signs that termites may be present in a home:

  1. Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the home.
  2. Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped.
  3. Darkening or blistering of wood structures.
  4. Cracked or bubbling paint.
  5. Small piles of feces that resemble sawdust near a termite nest.
  6. Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the home or swarmers themselves, which are often mistaken for flying ants.

Phoenix Termite Control Experts. Call Today For A Free Inspection!

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Are Homes Built On Concrete Slabs More Or Less Vulnerable To Termite Attacks?

Termites are easily the most destructive pests in the world, and it is well known that the insects inflict billions of dollars in damages to structures each year within the United States. Due to the increasing destruction being caused by termites each year in the country, more and more homeowners are choosing to have their houses inspected for the wood-eating pests on a regular basis.

Aside from the fact that termites enjoy eating structural wood, the average homeowner knows very little about termites. For example, most homeowners are not able to recognize wood that has been damaged by termites, and most homeowners would not be able to spot an active termite infestation within their home even if the affected area were within plane sight. This is understandable, after all, termites are among the stealthiest of all insect groups. Structural wood that has undergone years of termite damage can be hard to notice, as termites consume wood fibers beneath the surface of structural lumber where entire colonies remain invisible. Since the most destructive group of termites, subterranean termites, forage unseen beneath the soil’s surface, anticipating termite attacks on homes and other structures is next to impossible. Therefore, it would be wise for residents to recognize certain structural features that may make their home vulnerable to termite infestations.

Many homeowners believe that the concrete slab that their home is built on serves as a barrier that prevents termites from accessing their home’s structural wood, but this is not necessarily the case. When it comes to modern home construction, concrete slabs may be the norm, but they actually make homes more vulnerable to termite infestations in the long-run. This is because concrete slabs eventually develop cracks that termites can easily travel through in order to access structural wood above. In fact, termites have more than enough room to travel through concrete openings around plumbing in newly built homes, and the condensation that forms on the external surface of pipes serves to attract thirsty termites to the vulnerable area. A termiticide chemical barrier is often applied to a bare property before concrete slabs are laid in order to prevent termites from breaching the slab after a home is built.

Can you pinpoint any structural imperfections on your home that put it at risk of becoming infested with subterranean termites?

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Which Termite Species Are Arizona Homeowners Most Likely To Encounter During The Summer Season

Which Termite Species Are Arizona Homeowners Most Likely To Encounter During The Summer Season

Entomologists and pest control experts consider termites to be Arizona’s number one urban insect pest. Numerous termite species inhabit the state, but there are three particular subterranean termite species that Arizona residents are most likely to encounter within their homes. The arid land subterranean termites habitat in Arizona is largely limited to the southwestern portion of the state. These termites are an important ecological component to the Sonoran desert ecosystem where they are often found infesting creosote and greasewood bushes. One of the main reasons why the rate of termite infestations is high in Arizona is because housing developments are constructed over these desert landscapes. The desert subterranean termite is, perhaps, the most common termite pest found infesting Arizona homes, but they are not as abundant in urban and suburban areas of the state as Gnathamitermes perplexus termites are. Despite this, the little-known Gnathamitermes perplexus termite species rarely infests homes.

The Gnathamitermes perplexus termite species is considered a “true” desert termite species for their habit of consuming a variety of desert plant species. These termites even consume dead grass, weeds and palm trees, and in some cases, these termites are found infesting fence posts, utility posts, mailboxes and in rare cases, a home’s structural wood. Although Gnathamitermes perplexus is the most abundant termite species inhabiting southern Arizona, they rarely infest homes. Both the body length of mature adult swarmers of this species and their wingspan grow to be around three fourths of an inch in length. These termites are brown and color and can be seen swarmin during the daylight hours after a heavy rainstorm. These termites are quite similar in appearance to desert subterranean termites, but soldiers belonging to the  Gnathamitermes perplexus are unique for possessing a lone tooth within their curved jaws. This tooth is looked for when identifying termites in Arizona.

Have you ever found a termite, or several, eating dead grass or plant matter?

 

 

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Dampwood Termites In Arizona Can Attack Living Citrus Trees And Spread Fungal Decay

Arizona is home to a wide variety of termite species from the subterranean, drywood and dampwood groups. The most economically costly termites in Arizona, subterranean termites, have adapted to foraging below the hard and dry desert soil, and drywood termites, most notably the western drywood termite, is right at home in Arizona, as these termites, as their name suggests, both live within and feed upon single pieces of dry wood with low moisture levels. Unlike most termite species in the United States, Subterranean termites in Arizona and drywood termites in general do not require excessive amounts of water in order to survive. However, this is not the case when it comes to dampwood termites, as these aptly named termites only feed on wood sources with relatively high moisture levels. It is for this reason that dampwood termite species are particularly abundant along the rainy west coast, particularly in the state of Washington. It is often claimed that dampwood termites do not exist within Arizona and other parts of the arid Sonoran Desert, but this is false, as Arizona is home to three dampwood termite species. Unlike most termite species, dampwood termites in Arizona infest living trees, especially citrus trees, and some studies show that dampwood termites can facilitate the spread of fungal decay to new sources of wood.

One Arizona termite species, the desert dampwood termite, is a misnomer, as this species is actually a soil-dwelling subterranean termite species. The most widespread and damaging dampwood species in Arizona is the Arizona dampwood termite, while the Pacific dampwood termite and the Nevada dampwood termite are encountered far less often in the state. Dampwood termites are much larger than their subterranean and drywood counterparts, as swarming alates grow to be 2 inches in length, and soldiers and workers grow to be an inch and a half and an inch in length, respectively. Much like drywood termites, dampwood termites don’t typically dwell within soil, but they often infest damp wood that makes contact with soil, and similar to subterranean termites, dampwood termites often infest wooden posts at or below the soil’s surface in order to retain moisture. Although dampwood termites are not a serious concern in Arizona, they can annoy homeowners when they infest baseboards and waterlogged wood sources around homes. In order to retain the high amount of water they need to survive, dampwood termites extract water from the sap of citrus trees, which often damages the trees. Since dampwood termites prefer to feed on moist, decayed and waterlogged wood, they often consume wood that has grown fungi. After feeding on fungi-infested wood, it has been suggested that dampwood termites spread fungal spores to new wood sources.

Have you ever found wet wood that appeared to be damaged by termites?

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How Arizona Residents Can Tell The Difference Between Nuisance Termites And Wood-Destroying Termites

How Arizona Residents Can Tell The Difference Between Nuisance Termites And Wood-Destroying Termites

Arizona is home to nearly 20 documented termite species, some of which are pests that attack and damage both structural and natural sources of wood, while others are not categorized as pests at all. Most non-pest termite species in Arizona limit their activity to uninhabited areas of the Sonoran Desert where they mostly feed on decaying plant matter. However, there also exists termite species in Arizona that, while not being significant pests to timber-framed structures, are still considered pests due to their habit of annoying residents. These types of insect pests are often referred to as “nuisance pests,” and although these pests are not disease vectors, structural pests or environmental pests, their activity within and around homes and buildings can become so overwhelmingly annoying and difficult to eradicate that the assistance of a pest control professional often becomes necessary. Nuisance insect pests include houseflies, crickets, most ant species, boxelder bugs, ladybugs and moths. The existence of nuisance termite pests is not widely known among the general public, but Arizona is home to two subterranean termite species that are typically categorized as nuisance pests.

The subterranean termite species known as Amitermes wheeleri, or Wheeler’s termite, and Gnathamitermes perplexus are two occasional nuisance termite pests in Arizona that are sometimes referred to as “desert termites,” not to be confused with dampwood and subterranean desert termite species. However, much like structural termite pests, Gnathamitermes perplexus occasionally builds mud tubes on wooden structures, but the damage they cause to structural wood is merely cosmetic at its worst. The Wheeler’s termite species does not construct mud tubes on structures, but they do build a dark-colored nest over tree stumps, the base of mesquite trees and fence posts. Arizona homeowners have mistakenly assumed G. perplexus mud tubes and Wheeler’s termite nests with those made by serious structural termite pests, but nuisance termite pests can be discerned by the lack of damage that they inflict to structural woods. These two termite species can also be a nuisance to residents during their heavy seasonal swarms, which for Wheeler’s termites, occur at dawn and dusk shortly after rainfall, while G. perplexus swarms take place during summer nights after rainfall.

Have you ever discovered a mysterious nest on your property that appeared to be made by insects?

 

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Arizona Is Home To One Of The Most Destructive Termite Species In The US, As Well As Some Rarer Species That Most People Have Never Heard Of

Arizona Is Home To One Of The Most Destructive Termite Species In The US, As Well As Some Rarer Species That Most People Have Never Heard Of

Termites are divided into three groups: drywood, dampwood and subterranean termites. Termites from all three of these groups are well represented in the state of Arizona. While the two most destructive termite species in the United States are generally understood to be eastern and Formosan subterranean termites, Arizona is home to neither of these species; instead, the most destructive termite in Arizona is the desert subterranean termite.

This highly destructive species is limited to the Sonoran Desert region of the southwest US, but experts claim that if it was not for this termite species’ limited desert habitat, it could be the most destructive termite species in the entire country. This is because, unlike the Formosan and eastern subterranean termite species, the desert subterranean termite does not require high-moisture environments in order to survive, and they can tolerate incredibly high temperatures that would kill all other termite species in the US. As a result of this species’ tolerance for these conditions, they can inflict far more damage at a much faster rate to dry forms of structural wood, and they would not need to secure moist conditions in order to do so.

The dark western drywood termite species is also well known for damaging numerous structures every year in Arizona. Considering the dry desert climate in Arizona, it was a surprise to researchers to learn that a water-craving dampwood termite species also exists within the state. This dampwood species is known as the desert dampwood termite, and this is the only dampwood species that inflicts damage to homes and buildings in the state. Although this termite’s habitat is limited to the sandy desert, researchers have found that this species is not well suited for thriving in dry soil. In order to survive, this dampwood species locates damp forms of wood beneath the ground, and they also attack shrubs and citrus trees in order to use the sap from these plants as a source of moisture. The desert dampwood termite is not often found infesting homes and buildings, but they frequently attack and heavily damage utility poles and fences. Most indoor infestations of these termites are limited to the baseboards and door frames of buildings.

Were you aware that a dampwood termite pest species exists in Arizona?

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Are There Termites In Arizona That Infest Residential Trees Before Moving Into Homes?

Termites of the “subterranean” variety are easily the most economically significant wood-eating insects in the world. In America alone it is estimated that subterranean termites are responsible for inflicting around 80 percent of all insect-induced damages to wood-framed structures. In many northern states, the eastern subterranean termite is the only termite species that residents need to worry about. But in hotter southern states, the termite population is more diverse, making drywood and dampwood termite species a threat to many homes in the region.

In Arizona, subterranean termites are considered the most problematic, but many residents do not realize that two species of drywood termite also inflict significant structural damages within the state. These two species are commonly known as the dark western drywood termite and the light western drywood termite, and unfortunately, these termites often infest residential trees before accessing structural timber within homes and buildings.

The dark western drywood (DWD) termite species is the most economically costly drywood termite species in the western US, and they are particularly abundant in the Sonoran Desert region of Arizona. The DWD termite is well known for infesting homes, but these termites also infest a number of trees that are common in residential areas of southern Arizona. The trees most commonly attacked by this species include, Arizona cypress, sycamore, adler, cottonwood, willow, ash, walnut, poplar, eucalyptus and a variety of fruit trees.

All the way back in 1916, a researcher found that around 70 percent of black ash trees in Sabino Canyon had become riddled with both DWD termite damage and LWD termite damage. In addition to damaging the sapwood of these trees, these two drywood species even infested the heartwood, which is unusual for most termite species that are native to the US.

While both of these drywood termite species swarm between May and September all over Arizona state, the DWD species is generally found at higher elevations than the LWD termite species. Considering the frequency with which drywood termites infest residential trees before moving into homes, it is important for all Arizona homeowners to have the trees in their lawn inspected for a termite presence at least once a year.

Have you ever found a termite infested tree?

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Why Is Phoenix Considered The Most Bug Infested City In The US?

Why Is Phoenix Considered The Most Bug Infested City In The US?

There are several pest control companies and websites that release annual reports concerning which cities in the United States contain the largest population of a particular insect pest species. Some of these reports list cities that are the most roach infested, bed bug infested or spider infested. Back in January of 2016, Thumbtack.com released a list of the “buggiest” cities in America, and Phoenix was listed at number one. However, this purported claim did not sit well with some residents who had never considered the city that they live in to be particularly “buggy”. But the not so scientific study may have been onto something, as representatives for the website found that Phoenix had the most pest control requests when compared to all other US cities.

After Phoenix was proclaimed the most bug-filled city in America by the website, even the “researchers” who had compiled the data for the list were surprised that Phoenix turned out to be number one. So what makes Phoenix a haven for bugs? One reason may be due to the fact that Arizona is home to high populations of certain insect and spider species that either don’t exist, or are not abundant within other states. For example, although California, New Mexico and Texas all contain many of the same scorpion species that exist in Arizona, the population of California and Texas is much higher than Arizona’s population, making pest control calls more common when taking each state’s population size into account. Arizona also sees swarms of Africanized bees, AKA killer bees, which attack residents on an annual basis. Africanized bees can be found all over the state of Arizona, but only a small portion of neighboring states see Africanized bee swarms. Many people living outside of Arizona assume that the air is too dry for mosquitoes, but the disease-spreading bloodsuckers are a serious public health threat in the state, and several pest controllers are called to homes in Phoenix to address mosquito issues. According to the website, cockroaches were the most common insect pests reported to pest controllers in the city, followed by spiders, ants and termites.

Have you ever needed to contact a pest control professional about a spider infestation within your home?