Subterranean termites are social insects, who live in colonies that may have as many as sixty thousand (60,000) termites. The survival of the colony, as a whole, depends on the social interactions of the individuals as they carry out their daily tasks. Considerable research concerning the biology of termites, and studies of their mode of attacking structures, was required to understand why some control techniques were successful while others were not. By not understanding the termite, we as exterminators, can visualize a structure from the termite’s point of view. This gives us some insights as to which treating techniques would provide the best protection against their attack.
Why are termites so unique? There are two (2) factors which make termites different from any other group of insects. Termites utilize cellulose for food, which pertains to the structural and cosmetic wood areas of your home and being that they’re social insects, each member has a specific job, which aids in benefiting the entire colony. Subterranean termites live down in the soil. There are four (4) distinct castes, which are:
PRIMARY REPRODUCTIVE OR SWARMERS -
These are the castes that are most familiar to the homeowner. Swarmers usually occur in the spring, on the first warm day following rain. These swarmers are potential kings and queens, and can number in the thousands. The flight is a mating flight, and what most people notice is termite wings laying in piles.
SECONDARY REPRODUCTIVE -
After the colony is established, the secondary reproductive termites appear. They take the place of the queen, who is injured or has died.
Following the mating, only a few eggs are laid daily, most of which become nymphs and soldiers who are groomed to build tunnels and extend the colony. They are the only caste, which can consume and digest wood.
These termites have enlarged heads and jaws. Their job is to defend the colony against enemy attacks of ants.
The worker termites forage for wood sources and eat what is the ground first, such as tree roots or wood debris. Once the food source is exhausted, termites will look in other areas and many times find a home or other wood structure. Termites get to their wood source by direct route from soil to wood or through mud tunnels. The type of wood that is favored by termites is softer types of wood such as pine or lumber used in construction. The conditions that are conducive to termite infestation are, (cracks in the concrete foundation walls, wood which penetrates a concrete slab to the soil, direct wood to ground contract, insufficient ventilation, improper drainage, and wood stacked next to the home).
Call Knight Termite & Pest Control: 619-280-2400