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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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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?

 

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Termites Are Threatening Mexican Vacation Homes

Termites Are Threatening Mexican Vacation Homes Owned By Americans

Mexico is a common destination for American expats during the winter season. Most American expats in Mexico are retired senior citizens, and some simply own second homes in the country. Although taking annual winter vacations in a tropical paradise would be nice, the country’s termite problems should be taken into account before any American purchases a home in the country. Unfortunately, both termite control professionals and reliable termite control methods are relatively difficult to come by in Mexico. Not only is it comparatively more difficult to find assistance with eradicating termites from infested homes in Mexico, but the scientific literature concerning native and invasive termite species in the country is almost non-existent. According to the United Nations, studies concerning termite diversity and termite ecology in Mexico have never been carried out. Therefore, buying a Mexican timber-framed home that will remain uninhabited for most of the year can be a bit of a gamble in termite-rich Mexico. For example, back in 2011, officials with the Mexican Government worried that Americans would avoid purchasing Mexican homes due to a termite-induced property recession that had been occuring at the time. Property purchases in the country continued to take a hit after the United States Government, which was also experiencing a property recession at the time, warned Americans against buying homes in Mexico.

You would be surprised by how many American expats in Mexico have struggled with the country’s native termite population. The rainy season in Mexico causes an influx of termite swarms in well populated cities at a time of year when American snowbirds are typically not around to monitor possible termite activity on their mexican property. Subterranean termites are a major problem in Mexico, just as they are in America, but surprisingly, drywood termites are almost equally as destructive in the country. Drywood termites in Mexico can be as large as ants, and they attack a variety of different portions of a home as well as various forms of infrastructure such as untreated softwoods, particle board, paper, plastic, cardboard, and even insulation around pipes. Unfortunately, many homes in Mexico were not constructed to survive termite attacks, as untreated timber is often used to construct homes on termite-rich soil that is never treated with insecticides. Much of the furniture that is bought and sold within Mexico is also constructed with untreated lumber. The shipping of termite-infested furniture items is a serious issue in Mexico due to the lack of treated wood available in the country. In fact, it is even recommended that paper grocery bags and cardboard packaging be immediately and safely disposed of in Mexico due to the probability of a termite presence in such materials.

Do you think that the availability of termite control professionals in Mexico may be greater in regions that see many tourists?

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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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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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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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How Do Violent Conflicts Between Termites Influence Their Lifespans?

How Do Violent Conflicts Between Termites Influence Their Lifespans?

Termites are relatively understudied insects within the field of entomology. This is somewhat surprising given the significant economic costs associated with termite structural damage. Termites in the United States alone cause billions of dollars each year in damages. You would think that a greater scientific understanding of termite behavior would be desired in order to more effectively combat these destructive insects. However, termites are regarded with widespread disinterest, as there are many other fascinating insects in the world that capture the curiosity of academics and scientists. Although termites may not be the most interesting of insects, the fact that termite queens can survive for a longer amount of time than any other insect species is worthy of attention. A recent study examined how intercolony conflict between termites can influence the lifespan of queen and king termites. Additionally, the study authors were able to determine how warring termite colonies resolve conflict after the death of each side’s royal pairs.

For the study, researchers collected Z. n. nevadensis termite species from the wild. These termites spend much of their lives in trees where encounters between different colonies are common. The researchers placed two different colonies into artificial arboreal conditions in order to gauge intercolony behavior. Since termite colonies vary drastically in age, encounters between two colonies of the same age is not the norm. When two termite colonies of the same age made contact in the lab, violence soon followed. The subsequent conflict resulted in the deaths of a royal pair from one colony while the royal pair from the other colony survived. The remaining workers and soldiers from the defeated colony were eventually absorbed into the victorious colony. When colonies of different ages were introduced, the older colonies killed off the younger colonies entirely, leaving the royal pair and all of their worker and soldier offspring dead. It was also found that termite queens would die unusually young if they had survived previous intercolony conflicts. The reason for this is not clear, but researchers believe that the queens may have died young due to injuries sustained during previous skirmishes. In general, colonies that are relatively large will live for a longer period of time than smaller colonies.

Have you ever seen a termite queen in a Zoo or even in the wild?

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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?

10 Tips To Prevent Termites From Damaging Your Home

Gilbert Termite Control Experts

10 Tips To Prevent Termites From Damaging Your Home!

  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.