As we mentioned in our last blog post, spring is the time of year when we get the most calls to come out to Temecula homes and businesses for termite control. This is because in spring, termites are the most active, and most easily spotted by the untrained eye.
We wanted to go into a little more detail about the life cycle and behavior of Subterranean termites, which are the most common type of termites found in Temecula, in order to help you know what to look for.
First of all, it is important to know that there are several different groups, or castes, within the Subterranean termite species: the workers, the soldiers, and the reproductives. This is important because the members of one caste look a little different from the members of another. For example, the workers have a soft white body, while the soldiers are more yellowish brown with an enlarged head. The reproductives have wings, and are likely the only termites you will see in the open air. If you see a member of any caste of the Subterranean species of termites, the others are likely nearby.
Subterranean termites are social insects—meaning they can only survive within a colony. This is because each caste is responsible for a very specific job and depends on the others to complete other jobs necessary to their survival. The workers collect all of the food, care for the young, and build the nest and foraging tunnels. They are the ones that do the damage to wooden structures, since the cellulose in wood and wood products is their food of choice. The soldiers protect the colony against other insects, and the reproductives are responsible for growing the colony.
Every colony has one king and queen, which come out of the reproductive caste. Each year, the king and queen populate the colony with new reproductives, soldiers and workers. The young reproductives grow wings and go in search of mates, with which they can start a new colony. When they find their mate, they shed their wings. This usually happens in the spring, so be on the lookout for flying termites, as well as their discarded wings during this time of year, as it’s your best chance to catch a glimpse of any Subterranean termites.
The bodies of Subterranean termites require moisture, which is why you rarely see them above ground. To get from their nest to their food source, they build mud tunnels. These tunnels also protect the termites from predatory ants. The presence of these mud tunnels near your home or business is a good indication that you have an active termite colony nearby and are in need of termite control services.
Termites inflict a tremendous amount of damage on Temecula homes and businesses every year. According to a report by Dini Miller, a professor of Entomology at Virginia Tech, Subterranean termites cause billions of dollars in damage to structures every year, not to mention the books, documents, and photographs they also destroy. It is also estimated that one in five homes in the areas affected by Subterranean termites have experienced, or will experience, damage as a result of these wood-destroying pests.
Don’t let your home be one that suffers costly damage due to termites. If you suspect there may be a termite problem in your home or office, contact the Temecula termite control experts at Knockout Pest Control today. We can do a full termite inspection, and if we determine there is a termite problem, we can give you an estimate to rid the structure of termites and repair any damage they may have caused.