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Living in Scottsdale or the Phoenix area will make you no stranger to termites. These pesky little Silent Destroyers are every homeowner’s worst nightmare, causing over $5billion yearly loss in property damage and $2billion in treating termites’ infestation, usually not covered by insurance. 
While they can be found in majorly all the States in the U.S with over 40 species, the state of Arizona is home to two of the most aggressive species of termites – the Subterranean Termites and the Dry Wood Termites.
With this article, we answer all your questions about Termites, telling you all you need to know about them and educating you on their life cycle and how to control these house pests. 

What are Termites?
Found in particularly subtropical and tropical climates, termites are insects that live in large colonies and feed on cellulose in the form of Wood, paper, soil, animal dung, and sometimes cotton. They’re sometimes referred to as “White ants,” although studies have shown that termites may have evolved from cockroaches and have no biological link to ants. Like the subterranean termites, some species live underground and other moisture-soaked areas while others, like the Drywood termites, infest dry structures and roofing materials.
The four most common types of Termites in Arizona include:

  • Subterranean Termites
  • Dampwood Termites
  • Drywood Termites
  • Formosan Termites

The Life Cycle of Termites in Arizona
The life cycle of Termites goes through incomplete metamorphosis, progressing from eggs to nymphs to any of adult caste stages – worker, soldier, or reproductive. Each caste has a different life span
Eggs:  the eggs are laid by a fertilized queen after the mating process by the winged King and Queen of a colony. The eggs will hatch into larvae and pass the molting process to develop into each of the three castes in a settlement.
Nymphs/larvae: they are the young termites going through the molting process to assume any of the three major roles in a colony. Molting happens when a termite develops a soft exoskeleton under its hard exoskeleton, and at maturity, it sheds the outer exoskeleton to reveal the one underneath, which will also harden. The cycle continues, and this process can go on multiple times based on a colony’s needs. After this stage, the termites develop into a primary adult worker, while others may further develop into soldiers or reproductives (alates).
Workers: these are the powerhouses of a colony, having the responsibility of feeding the other castes, building nests, and foraging, amongst others. 
Soldiers: they are sterile, blind, and wingless and keep the colonies safe from predators. Soldiers and workers have an average life span of 1-2 years.
Reproductives: known as the Queens and Kings, they’re the only caste that can reproduce.  The Queen has a life span of about 50 years. Female reproductives release pheromones to regulate termites’ development such that only a few nymphs may become fertile queens.

Signs of Termite Invasion in a Home

  • Discarded Wings: to procreate and begin new colonies, the winged termites – swarmers – pair with a mate and fly off to mate and search for a new nesting place. They shed their wings just before building their new nests by intentionally twisting off their wings. Discarded wings are usually found on windowsills and doors.
  • Drywood Droppings: because of the high level of cellulose consumption, Drywood termites tend to excrete sawdust-like waste. If you find a pile of such around wooden structures or the floorings in a home, chances are there are termites around.
  • Swarmers’ invasion: identifying termites’ swarms can be tricky as you may mistake them for ants’ hives. To identify flying termites, look out for their antennas and wings. While ants have elbowed antennae and unequal length wings, flying termites have straight antennae and equal-length wings. They are also attracted to lights and can be found hovering over a lit bulb.
  • Mud Tunnels: also called mud tubes, these are earthen tunnels built by the workers for easy passage of food from their colony to the food source. Mud tubes can be found lining the walls or the foundation of a structure.
  • Hollow Wood: Wood damaged by termites is usually hollow-sounding when tapped. The exterior of the wood may appear intact and healthy, which can be deceiving. For structures with wooden supports and pillars, this is incredibly unsafe. Once this is noticed, treating should be commenced immediately.

How to Exterminate Termites in a Home
Below are some ways of achieving termite extermination.

  • Chemical Solutions: this involves liquid barrier termiticides and termites baits.  Non-repellent termiticides can be used as a pre-treatment to treat the soil of exposed foundational walls and surroundings. One way is by making deep trenches in the earth and filling them with gallons of the termiticides. Spot treating untreated wood with borate-based chemicals is another good treatment option.

Follow the label instructions when using chemical solutions or, better still, enlist a professional pest control firm for this method.

  • Heat: termites are averse to heat. Regularly sundry any furniture infested with termites for many hours or turn on the heater in your home to a high temperature to kill termites.
  • Beneficial nematodes: these are worm species that are natural parasites to pests like termites. Plant them in soils that house termites’ larvae to kill the termites. The nematodes burrow into their hosts, killing them in about 48hours. They can be harmed by UV rays, so plant them after sunset.
  • Pro-Construction Measures: cultivate the habit of regular inspection of your home.  Regularly take out wood and soils-based debris from your home’s surroundings and ensure to repair water leaks and seal creaks and cracks in your structures. Put screens on outside vents, porches, and windows, so they do not come into your home.

It’s mandatory to file a Termite Report or a Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection Report (WIIDR) and carry out a termite inspection before selling or buying a house in Arizona as Banks and other lending institutions require this as a condition for sale.  Only licensed pest control companies can carry out this inspection and submit the required report. Pest control companies do not only carry such checks but also specialize in home termite control.

Fromm’s Pest Control specializes in the inspection and professional termite extermination service. We will rid your home of all types of pests.

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