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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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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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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?

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How Do Termites Successfully Escape From Predators?

How Do Termites Successfully Escape From Predators?

Since termites are relatively small organisms, you would think that they would stand almost no chance of surviving an encounter with a predator. Surprisingly, a termite’s small size affords them many advantages during predatory attacks. For example, subterranean termites, as their name suggests, spend most of their time below the ground’s surface where predators cannot reach them. Despite this advantage, subterranean termites still need to beware of predators that also burrow within the soil. Other types of termites, most of which are non-soil dwellers, such as many drywood and dampwood termite species, dwell within pieces of dead or living timber.

Termites protect themselves by avoiding exposure to the outside world as much as possible. Termite-built nesting structures, tunnels and mud tubes keep termites hidden from their predators. However, termites are sometimes attacked within the wood and nests that they inhabit. When termites are a

ttacked within these shelters, researchers cannot possibly observe their escape strategies. Luckily, the black-winged termite species is in a unique position to shed more light on the methods of escape used by termites under attack.

The black-winged termite is native to southeast Asia, and they are known for building mud tubes along the length of trees from the crown to the routes. Given this termite’s exposure to predators during mud tube construction, researchers are able to observe how this termite escapes from predatory attacks.

Past studies that focused on termite escape behaviors could only be conducted within laboratories. These lab studies showed that termites escaped from predators immediately, but the recent field study showed termites indulging in a “wandering behavior” in response to an attack. Wandering behavior has been observed in other animals under similar hostile conditions. Socially inclined animals that move in herds may take time to develop a team strategy for escape, and this can look like wandering to observers. An individual termite may feel restrained from escaping alone from a predator if the colony is still in danger. In a termite’s case, the survival of the colony is more important than individual survival. This may explain why individual termites escape at lower speeds than termites escaping in groups. In this case, the slow-moving individual termite may be more focused on serving or regrouping with its colony rather than successfully escaping from a predator. Immediately after a predatory attack, termites may also wonder in order to survey the outside conditions before making a getaway. Finding safe places in the environment to hide is a necessity for termites that were born and raised within nests.

Have you ever seen a group of termites fleeing in response to a disturbance?

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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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Swarming Termites Are Harassing Pedestrians Around The Daniel Boone Hotel

Every year toward the beginning of the summer season, winged termites vacate their nests in order to establish new colonies as queens and kings. Swarming termites cannot harm humans, but that does not stop them from annoying homeowners, tourists, and random pedestrians. Termite swarms are particularly easy to spot in the southeast, where the subtropical humid climate allows termites to thrive. As the month of June progresses, termite swarming activity begins to occur in more northern states.

For the past month, the internet has been constantly reporting on the unusually frequent termite swarms occuring in southern states this year. Now, these annoying swarms have reached the state of Kentucky where they are harassing pedestrians in one downtown area. In the town of Whitesburg, pedestrians are being rattled by swarming termites that are coming from one particular building. The historic Daniel Boone Hotel is currently being renovated, but that is not stopping termites from inhabiting the premises. It is in this hotel where many of the troublesome termite swarms have been originating.

One resident of Whitesburg, Medra Blair Bowen, posted a video to Facebook that shows numerous termites coating the outer hotel wall, as well as the sidewalk below the wall. Bowen posted a caption below the video that demanded something be done with the hotel so that downtown pedestrians won’t be forced to dodge termite swarms. Bowen is also concerned with the likelihood of her business succumbing to a termite infestation.

Bowen owns an insurance agency that is adjacent to the hotel, and she knows first hand how troublesome the termites have been for her customers and pedestrians in the downtown area. Bowen claims that she and many other nearby business owners called hotel managers in order to complain about the lack of pest control treatments being applied to the building. Initially, the managers did nothing in response to the several complaints. However, once she posted the video, pest control professionals were seen spraying the building the next day.

The Mayor of Whitesburg has stated that termite swarms are common and harmless in this region around this time of year, and that neither the hotel nor any other nearby buildings have become infested. Despite these claims, Bowen believes that buildings located near the hotel are still at risk for termite infestations since the termite spray had not been applied to the interior of the the Daniel Boone Hotel.

Do you believe that it is the local government’s responsibility to protect businesses from termite infestations in this case? Should the local government be able to legally require the owners of the Daniel Boone Hotel to have termite inspections conducted?