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?