What Is termite ?
Subterranean Termites are the most destructive insect pests of wood in the world. They cause billions of dollars in damage each year and have a negative impact on a family’s most valuable possession the home. problems occur when termites attack the wooden elements of home, businesses and warehouses built by humans . the presence of termites is often not readily noticed because their activity is hidden behind wallboards , siding or wood trim . homeowners in all areas should watch for subterranean termites and take precautions against infestations. To minimize damage from termites , it is helpful to know the description , life cycle and sings of infestation of termites as well as preventive and control measures.
Subterranean termites are social insects that live in colonies within the soil hence their name “subterranean”. these colonies contain three forms of casts .
Kings and Queen : At least one king and queen are at the center of every termite colony . the Queens sole purpose is to reproduce . Some live as long as 30 years
Eggs : Queen can lay thousands of eggs every year . eggs hatch into nymphs
Nymphs : while in the nymphs stage , nymphs diverge into different castes , workers , soldiers , reproductive and supplementary reproductive
Workers : workers are blind , wingless termites that maintain th colony , build and repairs the nest and tubes , forage for food and the care for other termites . they are the most numerous caste and the most likely to be found in infested wood.
Soldiers : soldiers are sterile , wingless and blind . their sole function is to defend the colony , the most likely to be found in infested wood.
Winged reproductives : these termites will eventually leave the colony as adult swarmer . after swarming they shed their wings and pair up . each male female pair attempts to start a new colony
Supplementary Reproductive : these termites help increase the population of established colonies and serve as replacement of king or queen if they should die
subterranean termites get their nutrition from wood and other material containing cellulose . Paper , cotton , burlap or other plant products often are actively consumed by termites . sometimes termites will even tunnel into the dead heartwood or pith of living plants . Most species of subterranean termites can not digest cellulose directly and depend on single-celled protozoans and bacteria living in their hind guts to help digest the cellulose . Digested cellulose is then shared with the developing larvae , other workers , soldiers and reproductives . Termites are attracted to certain odors of wood-decaying fungi that make the wood more palatable and easier to penetrate . In some instances , the fungi provide a source of nitrogen in the termite diet . Moisture is important to subterranean termites as they have every little resistance to dehydration . To survive , termites must maintain contact with the soil (their primary moisture source ) or other above-ground moisture sources , such as defective plumbing , leaky roofs , leak from air conditioning condensers or poorly maintained gutters
Signs of Infestation :
Active termite infestation can be difficult to detect. To find out if a home is infested , the structure should be checked for evidence of swarmer ( including wings or dead termites in windows) , mud tubes or damaged.
Many termites problems can be prevented through sound initial designs , mechanical alterations and good construction sanitation . The basic premise behind prevention is to deny termites access to food (wood) , moisture and shelter.Planning before construction is vital . Position or modify the building site so that the soil grade slopes away from the structure in all directions . Existing homes may need remedial grading or installation of positive drain lines . soil-filled porches , patios , side walkers or breezeways should slope away from the house .
Chemical Management :
Subterranean termites usually attack structures from the ground up ; therefore dermatitides applied to the soil can deter attacks from several years . For complete protection , there must be a complete chemical or physical barrier between the structure and the soil . In existing homes , this barrier must be placed wherever there is a point of possible termite entry