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Where Are Western Drywood Termite Colonies Most Commonly Found Within Urban And Suburban Areas?

Incisitermes minor, or the western drywood termite, as the species is more commonly known, is the most commonly encountered and most destructive drywood termite pest in southern Arizona. Unlike subterranean termite species, which prefer to infest moist and decayed wood, drywood termites are capable of infesting dry and sound wood, just as their name suggests. However, given their desert habitat, western drywood termites have adapted to thrive on wood sources that are particularly dry, making even newly constructed homes vulnerable to attacks by this species. Any structural wood with a moisture content greater than 7 percent can be readily infested by western drywood termites.

In the natural habitat, western drywood termite colonies are most abundant within wooded areas, river washes and canyons where trees can be found. Colonies are frequently recovered from dead portions of willow, cottonwood, oak, and sycamore trees, and these termites are often found infesting tree stumps, logs, and large branches that have fallen to the ground in rural, urban and residential areas. Due to the western drywood termite’s aggressive feeding habits, they are often found infesting natural wood sources on properties, which may afford homeowners adequate time to prevent the destructive pests from establishing an indoor infestation.

On urban and suburban properties where trees are not abundant, western drywood termites are commonly found infesting rose, Pyracantha, and oleander bushes near structures. In urban and suburban areas where trees can be found, these termite pests prefer to feed on alder, almond, apricot, ash, avocado, carob, cherry, citrus, elderberry, mulberry, ornamental pear, peach, plum, and walnut trees. In addition to infesting dry and sound structural lumber within homes, these pests are also frequently found infesting indoor items that are made of finished wood, particularly furniture. In southern Arizona, western drywood termite alates swarm during the months of May through August, and alates are well known for flying through attic vents where they establish colonies within attics and other indoor areas that can be accessed through attics, such as wall voids and ceiling voids.

Are the lumber components in your home treated with chemicals that repel drywood termite pests?

 

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How Do Pest Control Professionals Pinpoint Subterranean Termite Infestations Within Homes, And How Do They Determine If A Home Is Vulnerable To Infestations?

All termite species can be divided into three separate groups known as subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. As their name suggests, subterranean termites dwell below the ground where workers regularly leave their nest in order to locate food sources. While workers forage through soil, they often stumble upon the base of timber-framed houses located in residential areas. Subterranean termites rely heavily on the constant hydration they receive from moist soil, and exposure to the dry outside air will cause them to dessicate and die. In order to safely access above ground structural wood within homes, workers build airtight “shelter tubes” that connect the moist ground soil with indoor structural wood sources.

Although shelter tubes allow subterranean termites to return to the moist soil whenever they require hydration, subterranean termites generally avoid infesting dry structural wood that is bereft of moisture; instead, subterranean termites prefer to infest structural wood with at least a 20 percent moisture content. During termite inspections, licensed professionals carry a moisture meter, which they use to measure the moisture content of structural wood components. Moisture meters can also be used to measure the moisture content of joists, sills, rafters and other irregularly shaped pieces of wood that are commonly damaged by subterranean termites. Many moisture meters work by inserting pins into wood in order to generate moisture readings, but some meters can remotely measure the moisture content of wood without having to inflict pinholes.

Moisture meters are also useful for gauging the moisture content of the surrounding air. In homes where no moisture problems exist, the moisture content within heated living areas should be between 5 and 10 percent, and between 12 and 19 percent in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces. Moisture readings above 20 percent make homes vulnerable to subterranean termite infestations, and a thorough inspection of wood should be carried out in all indoor areas where moisture levels exceed this figure. In some cases, wood that has become excessively moist must be replaced, and in other cases, setting up a dehumidifier within high-moisture areas within a home can effectively reduce moisture levels. Unusually high moisture levels within homes are often caused by plumbing leaks, improper outdoor drainage systems and rainwater leaks.

Can plumbing or rainwater leaks be found in your home?

 

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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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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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Exterminating Drywood Termites

Exterminating Drywood Termites With Microwaves That Boil The Insect’s Internal Bodily Fluids

These days a lot of research goes into developing new pest control methods that can effectively kill cryptic insect pest species that sometimes survive traditional pest control treatments. This is certainly the case when it comes to eliminating invasive insect pests, such as red-imported fire ants, tawny crazy ants, and Formosan subterranean termites. However, several native insect pests remain extremely difficult to eliminate from infested homes despite significant advances in pest control technology. Termites are the most common insect pests that remain a challenge to eradicate from infested homes, and this is especially the case when it comes to drywood termite species.

Subterranean termites have long been the most common and the most economically damaging group of wood-infesting pests in the US, as well as the rest of the world. All termites are divided into three groups that are known as subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. As pests of economic importance, dampwood termites are largely insignificant, while subterranean termites inflict 80 percent of all termite damage per year within the US. The other 20 percent of property damage is mostly inflicted by drywood termite species. Considering the high cost of subterranean termite pest activity, it is in the best interest of pest control researchers to focus on eradicating and preventing subterranean termite infestations as opposed to drywood termite infestations. That being said, the southwest US is the only region of the country that sees a disproportionate amount of drywood termite damage to houses and finished wood items.

Subterranean termite infestations can be prevented with termiticide and physical barriers that are applied beneath the ground-soil surrounding properties, and infested homes rarely contain more than one colony nesting site within structural wood. Drywood termites, on the other hand, can nest deep within structural wood and they can establish multiple colonies within a home. Currently, whole-structure fumigation is the preferred method of drywood termite eradication within homes, and several spot-treatment methods have been put to use with varying results. One bizarre spot-treatment that is used by very few pest control professionals involves placing a microwave emitting device against a wall in order to cook drywood termites nesting within structural wood in wall voids. This method causes the fluids within the cells of termites to boil, which destroys cell membranes and rapidly results in death. Unfortunately, the heat from these devices may damage wallpaper, plaster and structural wood.

Have you ever had your home fumigated for a drywood termite infestation?

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What Are The Pros And Cons Of The Most Common Drywood Termite Treatments?

What Are The Pros And Cons Of The Most Common Drywood Termite Treatments?

There are two drywood termite species in Arizona that are considered to be of major economic importance. The most destructive drywood termite species in the state is known as the dark western drywood termite, and the other is the light western drywood termite, which is also known as the southern drywood termite. Drywood termite infestations are difficult to prevent, detect and treat because, unlike subterranean termites that infest homes from the soil, drywood termites infest structures while they swarm. Therefore, drywood termites can start an infestation in any area of a home, including wood located beneath shingles. After drywood termite swarmers (alates) infest external wood sources on a home they often tunnel their way into internal structural woods.

While subterranean termites infest structural wood around a home’s foundation before possibly moving to higher points, drywood termite infestations can occur in areas of a home where infested wood cannot be accessed. There is little a homeowner can do to prevent drywood termite infestations, but using chemically treated and/or pressure treated wood as lumber to build a home can effectively repel drywood termites for a period of time. There exists several ways in which a home is treated for a drywood termite infestation, and while all commonly used methods are effective at eliminating infestations, each method has its pros and cons.

The most popular method of treating drywood termite infestations is full structure fumigation. This method is especially necessary when a pest control professional cannot easily access infested areas of a home, or when an infested home is hosting multiple colonies that may not all be accounted for. The only drawback to fumigation is that it does not prevent future infestations. Another method involves heating a home to 124 degrees for a period of at least 30 minutes. This method is preferred by some, but whole structure heat treatments may damage certain items, but simply removing such items, like vinyl records, will prevent unwanted damage. Researchers are currently exploring biological drywood termite control agents in an effort to develop an optimal form of drywood termite control.

Have you ever needed a fumigation?

 

 

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What Are The Pros And Cons Of The Most Common Drywood Termite Treatments?

There are two drywood termite species in Arizona that are considered to be of major economic importance. The most destructive drywood termite species in the state is known as the dark western drywood termite, and the other is the light western drywood termite, which is also known as the southern drywood termite. Drywood termite infestations are difficult to prevent, detect and treat because, unlike subterranean termites that infest homes from the soil, drywood termites infest structures while they swarm. Therefore, drywood termites can start an infestation in any area of a home, including wood located beneath shingles. After drywood termite swarmers (alates) infest external wood sources on a home they often tunnel their way into internal structural woods.

While subterranean termites infest structural wood around a home’s foundation before possibly moving to higher points, drywood termite infestations can occur in areas of a home where infested wood cannot be accessed. There is little a homeowner can do to prevent drywood termite infestations, but using chemically treated and/or pressure treated wood as lumber to build a home can effectively repel drywood termites for a period of time. There exists several ways in which a home is treated for a drywood termite infestation, and while all commonly used methods are effective at eliminating infestations, each method has its pros and cons.

The most popular method of treating drywood termite infestations is full structure fumigation. This method is especially necessary when a pest control professional cannot easily access infested areas of a home, or when an infested home is hosting multiple colonies that may not all be accounted for. The only drawback to fumigation is that it does not prevent future infestations. Another method involves heating a home to 124 degrees for a period of at least 30 minutes. This method is preferred by some, but whole structure heat treatments may damage certain items, but simply removing such items, like vinyl records, will prevent unwanted damage. Researchers are currently exploring biological drywood termite control agents in an effort to develop an optimal form of drywood termite control.

Have you ever needed a fumigation?

 

 

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The Desert Dampwood Termite Species Only Infests Damp Structural Wood Sources And Citrus Trees That Are Common In Landscaped Yards

The Desert Dampwood Termite Species Only Infests Damp Structural Wood Sources And Citrus Trees That Are Common In Landscaped Yards

Termites are considered the most significant insect pests within the state of Arizona, but less than half of the state’s 17 documented termite species are known for causing significant damage to timber-framed homes and buildings in the state. The most common subterranean termites in the state are desert subterranean termites and arid land subterranean termites, while dark western drywood termites and light western drywood termites are the most common drywood termite pests in the state. These species have been studied extensively due to their economic significance, but very little attention is paid to the termite species in Arizona that infest both structures and live trees.

As it happens, several little-known termite species in Arizona infest live trees, particularly citrus trees, which are abundant in the state. Many homeowners in the state cultivate citrus trees in their yard for landscaping purposes, or to secure a source of fresh citrus fruits, or both. These homeowners should consider the Paraneotermes simplicicornis species of termite an enemy, as this termite is capable of killing citrus trees in a rapid fashion. This species is also the only dampwood termite species that is considered a structural pest within Arizona and this species is more commonly referred to as the “desert dampwood termite.” The desert dampwood termite has long been known as a pest of grapefruit and orange trees, but this species is known for killing all citrus trees that grow in the southwest desert region. This species consumes citrus tree bark above and below the soil’s surface, but they cause far more harm by feeding on a tree’s taproot and/or lateral roots. In response to this feeding activity, these roots quickly become severed, which results in tree-death.

The desert dampwood termite technically belongs to the Kalotermitidae family, which are drywood termites. This species can be found in semi-arid, arid and desert regions of Arizona, and they feed on the sap of both shrubs and citrus trees in order to retain moisture. This species rarely infests homes due to their need for high-moisture wood sources, but they are often found infesting untreated fences and utility poles. When desert dampwood termites are found infesting homes, their infestations are always limited to wet baseboards and wet door-frames within old houses.

Were you aware that termites in Arizona can infest living trees?

 

 

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How Do Drywood And Dampwood Termites Come To Infest Valued Wooden Objects And Structural Timbers If They Don’t Forage Away From Their Nests?

How Do Drywood And Dampwood Termites Come To Infest Valued Wooden Objects And Structural Timbers If They Don’t Forage Away From Their Nests?

It is well known that termites are divided into three different groups that are known as subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. It is also widely known that subterranean termites are responsible for the majority of termite infestations within structures. In the United States, subterranean termites are responsible for more than 80 percent of all termite infestations in homes and buildings. The most destructive subterranean termite species in the country include the native eastern subterranean termite, the invasive Formosan subterranean termite and western subterranean termite.

Like all social insects, termites live within colonies that are divided into different social castes. Unlike subterranean termite colonies, drywood and dampwood termite colonies do not contain workers that forage below the ground. While all three termite groups contain reproductive swarmers (alates) that establish new colonies as queens and kings, most termite infestations occur when foraging workers locate a structural wood source below the ground. Reproductive alates can also establish infestations by swarming directly to wood sources, but infestations rarely begin this way, as 99 percent of alates die before mating. Since both drywood and dampwood termite colonies do not have a worker caste, only alates can establish infestations. Therefore, drywood and dampwood termite species do not access wood sources nearly as often as subterranean termites.

Generally, termites only swarm once a year during a one to three month period, which gives drywood and dampwood species little chance of establishing infestations within structural wood sources. This explains why subterranean termite infestations occur far more frequently than drywood and dampwood infestations. Drywood termite infestations are common in the southwest, as western drywood termite populations are high within urban and residential areas in the region, particularly in metropolitan areas of Arizona. It should also be noted that drywood termite colonies can move into homes if they infest tree branches that make contact with a home’s structural wood. Many drywood termite infestations start this way, and it explains why so many drywood termite infestations are found on the roofs of houses in the southwest.

Have you ever located a termite-infested tree within or on your property?

 

 

 

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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?