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The Commonly Overlooked Dampwood Termite Species That Is Known For Damaging Wood Fences And Indoor Flooring

Nearly 20 termite species have been documented within Arizona, around half of which are known to damage woodwork. The termite species found in Arizona belong to all three groups of termites, which are known as subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. In the United States as a whole, subterranean termites are by far the most common termite pests of structural wood, as around 80 percent of all infestations reported annually involve subterranean termites. Subterranean termites are also the most common termite pests in Arizona, but multiple drywood species in the state frequently inflict damage to structures as well. The desert and arid-land subterranean termites, and the western and light-western drywood termite species are the most destructive wood-infesting pests in Arizona. However, only one dampwood termite species in Arizona is considered a pest of structural wood.

Paraneotermes simplicicornis, or the “desert dampwood termite,” is not, despite its common name, technically a dampwood termite species, as they belong to the Kalotermitidae family, which are drywood termites. Generally, both drywood and dampwood termite species nest within single wood items located above ground, such as logs, fallen branches, and tree stumps, but the desert dampwood termite species is unique for dwelling within soil where they feed on structural lumber in contact with the ground and roots from both live and dead trees. Since desert dampwood termites can only feed on wood in contact with soil, they rarely inflict damage to structural wood within homes; instead, these termites tend to inflict heavy damage to wood fences, wood posts and dirt-filled porches. That being said, desert dampwood termites have been known to infest wood flooring within old homes that contain lumber components that make ground contact. Swarming alates from desert dampwood termite colonies emerge at around dusk from May through September in Arizona. While these swarms are not necessarily associated with monsoon season, they tend to emerge in the evening after heavy rainstorms.

Have you ever discovered termite damage on your landscape plants?

 

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