Nelson Ruiz No Comments

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?

 

 

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

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?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

Mayflies And Caddisflies Can Trigger Severe Allergic Reactions In Humans

The insects known as caddisflies and mayflies are abundant in Arizona. These two insects dwell and breed near natural water bodies, and it is not uncommon for mayflies and caddisflies to swarm large populated areas located near lakes and rivers. For example, back in 2015, massive swarms of caddisflies terrorized residents of Bullhead City. This Arizona city is located near the Colorado River, so residents were used to occasional caddisfly swarms. However, the summer of 2015 saw repeat swarms that were so unpleasant that real estate prices in the city dropped drastically, as nobody wanted to retire to the city knowing about the swarms. Mayfly swarms can also be a nuisance for Arizona residents, as one resident of Oak Creek reported a mayfly swarm as large as 30 by 30 meters. At the moment, residents located near Lake Erie in Ohio are being bombarded with repeat mayfly swarms that are literally covering houses. These swarms are large enough to be picked up on weather radar. While it is well known that both caddisflies and mayflies can be a nuisance, their negative effect on human health is not so well known. Much like cockroaches and dust mites, mayflies and caddisflies are two arthropods that can induce allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. In some cases, these insects can induce asthma attacks, hives, skin irritation and eczema.

Given the caddisflies appearance, it should not be surprising to learn that they are closely related to moths and butterflies. Much like moths and butterflies, caddisfly wings are covered in easily detachable scales that serve as airborne allergens. These scales are a source of both indoor and outdoor allergens, and inhaling these scales can induce asthma attacks. Mayflies, on the other hand, do not spread airborne allergens; instead, the discarded skins shed by mayflies serve as environmental allergens. Although their discarded skins are not as readily airborne as the dust-like scales on caddisfly wings, these discarded skins can be blown about in the wind, making it easy for people to inhale this allergen. Mayfly allergens have been shown to induce seasonal asthma symptoms and eczema. Once case report describes in individual who developed “huge” hives as a result of making contact with mayfly allergens. Keeping these insects out of homes is particularly important to prevent the development of allergies or the worsening of existing allergies.

Have you ever witnessed a caddisfly or mayfly swarm?

 

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

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!

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

A Termite-Ravaged Fire Station Will Soon Be Replaced By A New Building, And A Community Nearly Loses Electrical Power Due To Termites

Back in 1970, a fire station was built to serve residents of the small towns of Pine and Strawberry located in Gila County. This fire station, which residents call “the shack”, is made entirely of wood and it was not constructed to withstand termite infestations. Residents and officials in the Pine-Strawberry District have long known that a termite infestation has compromised the building’s structural integrity. The structure’s wood flooring and timber support beams have been damaged extensively by termites, which has rendered the building uninhabitable. In response to the damage, residents voted in favor of building an entirely new fire station, which will likely be finished within a month or two, well ahead of schedule. The new structure has been expertly built to minimize the chances of another termite infestation from taking form within the structure. For example, the new building will be outfitted with a steel roof, and a termiticide barrier was likely applied within the soil surrounding the structure. Not far away from the Pine-Strawberry District, termite activity nearly resulted in a widespread power outage four years ago in Payson.

In East Verde Park, a homeowner’s cherry tree grew to the point where the trunk wrapped around the support wires holding up a power-pole. This became an urgent issue after officials learned that the tree had become seriously weakened by a termite infestation. The tree looked as though it was ready to topple over, and if the tree had fallen over, it would have taken the power-pole down with it, resulting in expensive damage and a loss of power. Officials were not about to let termites rob the surrounding residential area of electrical power, so with the property owner’s permission, the infested and dead tree was carefully removed without harming the power-pole. It is not uncommon for termites to attack dead fruit trees, and the dark western drywood termite was the species most likely responsible for the tree infestation.

Have you ever found termites infesting a tree or a termite damaged tree?

 

 

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

How To Know If A Particular Home In Arizona Has Ever Been Infested With Termites, And Do New Homes In The State Require Preventative Termite Treatment?

How To Know If A Particular Home In Arizona Has Ever Been Infested With Termites, And Do New Homes In The State Require Preventative Termite Treatment?

Both drywood and subterranean termite species exist within Arizona, but subterranean termites are far more destructive to homes and buildings than drywood termite species in the state. The most destructive termite species in Arizona is the desert subterranean termite, and they are particularly abundant in the southern half of the state. Due to Arizona’s mild winters and picturesque landscapes, the state’s population continues to grow. Most people who move to Arizona likely plan to buy a home, and certain areas of the state contain many vacation homes that are frequently purchased by “snow-birds” who spend most of the year in other states. Understandably, it is important to investigate a house’s history of termite infestations and damage before purchasing a home in Arizona. Luckily, it is not hard to access a house’s history of termite-related issues, as all termite inspections carried out within Arizona homes are documented and made available to the public.

When a house is inspected for termites in Arizona, the pest controller specifically records their findings in Termite Action Report Form (TARF). This form is then submitted to the state’s Pest Management Division (PMD) so that it can be viewed by anyone with an interest in purchasing a home in Arizona. However, a particular home’s TARF is only available for public viewing for a period of three years, and after this time span, records are no longer available to members of the public. In order to search for a particular Arizona home’s TARF, the home’s address can be typed into a search bar on the Arizona Department of Agriculture website. Although homes in Arizona are not required by law to be inspected for termites before being sold on the market, lending agencies in the state will not issue loans to home-buyers unless a termite inspection report is submitted to them. Also, most new homes in Arizona are built with a surrounding termiticide barrier that prevents subterranean termites from accessing properties.

Do you think that termite infestation rates will increase in Arizona has more homes are built on termite-rich desert land?

 

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

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?

Kandice Linwright No Comments

The Most Common Winter Pests

Most common winter pests in Phoenix, Arizona

It might not feel like winter outside, but we’re still in the thick of the winter season. And while temperatures are rising above 80 degrees, winter pests are still invading your home getting ready for the warm weather and influx of food.

Some of the most common winter pests are mice, spiders, rats and scorpions.

Mice – A mouse can act like a contortionist, squeezing and bending their bodies to get into houses through openings as small as 1/4 of an inch. Once inside mice reproduce quickly, and before you know it – your house can be overrun with mice. Not only are they destructive to property, building nests and chewing on wood and furniture, but mice present a health hazard through their bites, urine, and feces.

Rats – Slightly larger than the common house mouse, rats are rodents that destroy property by chewing electrical wires and building nests in walls and under appliances and leave a trail of potentially hazardous excrement. Both mice and rats thrive in the many nooks and unused spaces a house offers for nesting.

Spiders – While spiders are often thought of as beneficial pests because they eat other household pests, most people don’t want to share their homes with a bunch of creepy, crawly spiders. One of the most unfortunate things about spiders is that they often enter homes while hunting other pests that have come before them.

Stink bugs – Another nuisance pest, stink bugs don’t transmit diseases to humans or pets, nor do they cause damage in homes. Still, they are unsightly, and like their name suggests, can cause quite a nasty odor in your home. Stink bugs will sometimes leave stains on curtains and walls and can invade your home in large numbers, which they do simply to survive the low temperatures.

So, how can you prevent winter pests from invading your home? First of all, get yourself a reliable pest control professional, like Magic Pest Control. A great relationship with an expert in pest control can make all the difference.

Secondly, get those pest control professionals out to your home once a month. Have our experts seal up your home to keep winter pests away. All cracks, holes and soft wood needs to be patched and replace. All carpeting that doesn’t attach needs to be placed down correctly. All ceiling fans that do not fully cover the hole needs to be repaired.

Thirdly, keep a mindful eye on the floors at night when scorpions roam, and during the day when spiders and cockroaches invade.

 

Termite Behavior Can Be Altered By Various Types Of Wood Fungus

Termite Behavior Can Be Altered By Various Types Of Wood Fungus

Termites mostly feed on natural sources of wood and dead plant matter located in regions that are largely uninhabited. Although termites are ecologically important for clearing land of dead wood and plant matter, numerous fungal species are also essential for wood degradation. Termites and fungi both thrive within hot, wet and humid conditions, and both compete for nutritional and water resources. In fact, termites and fungi have been known to partition their mutual habitat in order to fairly divide resources, and some termites have evolved symbiotic relationships with fungi. Not surprisingly, different species of wood-degrading fungi can alter termite behavior, which may play a part in facilitating their mutually cooperative relationship. Some species of wood-degrading fungi can even repel termites or slow their feeding. These forms of wood-degrading fungi could be used for developing new termite control strategies.

The species of wood-degrading fungus known as G. trabeum contains a chemical that is identical to a trail-pheromone that is emitted by termites. This fungus has also been found to influence the manner in which termites construct their tube shelters and select their food. Pest control researchers once created a bait-trap for termites by mixing G. trabeum with a slow acting poison that termite workers acquire before spreading the poison to the rest of their colony. A 2002 study had researchers expose termites to three different types of fungi. When eastern subterranean termites and Formosan subterranean termites were given a choice between a fungus-free sawdust pile and three other piles that had been colonized with white rot, brown rot and litter rot fungi, both termite species preferred all three of the fungal sawdust piles over the fungus-free sawdust pile. Both species preferred white rot and litter rot fungi over brown rot fungi. Also, all three of the fungal sawdust piles caused Formosan termites to increase their tunneling speeds while untreated sawdust had no effect on tunneling speed. It has been suggested that some wood-degrading fungi allows termites to absorb more nutrients in wood, which may increase their energy levels. Several different types of wood-degrading fungi have shown promise as bait components in termite traps.

Do you think that some types of wood-degrading fungi that could attract termites to bait-traps could be harmful to humans?

 

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

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?