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Why Do You Need A Termite Inspection?
Arizona, and particularly the areas surrounding the Phoenix metro area, are currently undergoing an invasion of Western Subterranean Termites. These destructive pests number into the billions, in Arizona, with single large nests often containing nearly a million bugs.
These termites are the most destructive pest in Arizona. These termites cause millions of dollars worth of damage to homes and crops in Arizona each year. Nationally, it is estimated that over $30 billion is lost to termite damage.
It is imperative if you live in Arizona, and especially in one of the larger cities mentioned above, that you have a termite inspection conducted and take preventative measures to protect your property if none are found.
Damages From Termites
Termites are eating machines. The worker termites that bring food to the nest never stop eating. Unlike other insects, termites eat 24 hours a day. The workers are continually looking for new food sources because of the high demand for food, and they love wood.
The preferred food for a termite is the cellulose in wood. This is generally the softer wood found toward the center of any tree or board. Additionally, termites will also choose wood that is easier to access to get to the cellulose, such as pine and Douglas fir. Sadly, these types of wood are also the most common woods used to construct buildings.
Termites will burrow into the wood and make tunnels within the wood, leaving only a thin film of wood on all sides. To prevent the wood from collapsing, and to help maintain the humidity and temperature within the colony, termites will even repair the wood if they break through the film by placing mud in the cracks.
As the tunnels are made, the wood becomes unstable. Buildings can collapse when termite damage occurs because the integrity of the structure is compromised.
Multi-family units are very susceptible to termite infestations because of the significant amount of wood required to construct the structure. Additionally, with so many different families living within the structure and many people moving in and out all the time, infestations often go unnoticed until the damage is so extensive that the building must be evacuated for repairs or demolition.
Crop damage has also been associated with termite infestations. Because the termite population has been expanding so significantly in recent years, many colonies are being formed in the ground underneath farms. While termites do like to eat wood, they also can obtain the cellulose they need for survival from plant roots. Termites can ruin crops very quickly.
Life Cycle Of A Termite
Termites have a very distinct life cycle with differences not found in other similar insects. The queen termite is very large and reaches full maturity after five years. She has a designated king for reproductive purposes and always stays within the nest of the colony. Once mature, the queen will lay up to 2,000 eggs each day and can live between 20 and 25 years. This life span is unheard of in any other species of insect.
The worker termites bring food to the nest and to the solider termites. Worker termites generally live for two years and never stop eating. Their main job is to eat and bring back the nutrients to feed the rest of the colony. Solider termites defend the colony. The largest threat to a termite colony besides human beings is ants. Solider termites will kill ants on site to protect the queen.
Part of the worker ants that are hatched will turn into winged termites for a short period of time. During this time, the termites will swarm with each of the flying termites possibly becoming a queen or king for a new colony. Once a new colony is established, the winged termites that are not the king and queen will drop their wings and resume their duties as a worker.
Termites have a symbiotic relationship with a protozoa that lives in their gut. This protozoa is a separate life form but cannot live outside of the termite. This protozoa performs a very special task for the termite. Termites need cellulose to live, but they cannot digest the food they eat. The protozoa digest the food that the termite eats and releases the nutrition into the termites system.
Getting Rid Of Termites
It is very important that the moment that you suspect that you may have a termite infestation that you seek professional extermination services. Never try to remove a colony yourself. Termites are very smart and very protective of their nest. If they feel that the queen is threatened in any way, they will take her deeper into the tunnels for protection. This could cause the workers to start destroying other areas of your home before they are removed.
There are very specific methods for effectively removing termites from a structure and special chemicals and application methods must be used for effective treatment. Specially trained termite extermination services should be used to ensure complete destruction of the colony.
Preventing termites from entering your home is the most effective treatment for termites. Additionally, make sure that you fix all leaky pipes, broken roof tiles, or cracks in order to thwart termites that are in search of warmth and humidity and a food source. Make sure that you have professional pest control services routinely performed on your home that includes termite protection around your building foundation. These are all areas where termites first enter a building. If you are interested in receiving a termite inspection please contact us.