Things to know about termites in Arizona
Termites are tiny, whitish insects, often mistakenly referred to as white ants. Their primary source of nutrition is cellulose (the main constituent of plant cell walls) from dead plants, dead parts of living trees, as well as wood used in human constructions.
Arizona is home to three types of termites: dampwood, drywood and subterranean.
Although dampwood and drywood termites can cause substantial damage under certain conditions, the subterranean type is considered a major urban pest.
Termites live in highly organized colonies, consisting of different groups of individuals called castes, each with a specific role. The queen and king are the initial pair that creates the colony.
Soldier termites defend the colony from invaders. Worker termites tend to the queen and offspring, gather food and maintain the nest. In the process, they chew and eat the wood, leading to its destruction.
Reproductives (swarmers or alates) are the future kings and queens. When the primary colony is mature, they leave in search for other places to nest.
The colonizing flight is referred to as swarming. Termites in Arizona mostly swarm on a warm day after a rainfall. In such conditions, the temperature and humidity outside resemble the environment inside the colony.
Termites are actively involved in the recycling of plant material in nature. They break down dead trees and other wood material that would otherwise accumulate, while facilitating soil aeration. Termites become pests when their environmental role of recyclers expands to man-made constructions.
Signs of termite damage
Their ecological role notwithstanding, termites can cause severe damage to human homes. They can compromise the integrity of wooden constructions, necessitating extensive repairs. Once they get inside, termites feed on wooden cabinets, floors, ceilings and furniture.
Subterranean termites live underground, in contact with damp soil as a source of moisture. They access surface wood structures through tunnel-like structures located near the foundation.
The damage done by subterranean termites is not easily noticeable. You may not be aware that your home is on their menu until the infestation is in full swing.
External signs of damage include buckling floors, swollen ceilings and maze-like structures within walls or furniture. Also, termite secretions can smell similar to mildew or mold.
Drywood termites live inside wooden structures, walls and furniture. They don’t depend on external moisture for survival. Drywood termites tend to work insidiously. Their presence can become apparent only after the wood has been devoured so extensively, that the surface cracks and exposes maze-like tunnels.
The signs of infestation include cracking on painted wood surface and presence of piles of pellet-shaped termite droppings (frass).
What does termite control involve
Arizona belongs to a geographic zone with a high potential for termite damage. This means comprehensive termite control measures are required to keep homes safe and pest free. Termite control refers to both preventive measures and eradication methods.
Ways to prevent infestation
It’s better to be safe than sorry. So, do your best to make your home less appealing to termites. Consider the tips the follow.
Preventing accumulation of moisture in your home
Fix water leaks (faucets, plumbing, air conditioners), keep gutters in good condition, eliminate standing water on the roof, seal all entry points around water and utility lines.
Restricting access to termite food sources
Keep firewood, lumber or paper away from the foundation or crawl space. Check wooden fences for damage and keep wooden structures in your yard away from the soil. Cover outside vents with screens.
Ways to deal with а termite infestation
If you find termites or signs of their work, do nоt attempt to exterminate them yourself. If you disturb the nest, they will simply relocate and appear elsewhere.
The best thing to do is rely on termite control experts to take care of the problem. When it comes to dealing with infestations, there is no substitute for skill, training and experience.
- Termite control experts are able to detect signs that are not readily visible to the untrained eye.
- They apply the treatment in a way that reduces exposure to people and pets, keeping you safe.
- Each case of infestation is unique and requires a customized approach. Experts will conduct an initial inspection to correctly identify the level of infestation and then recommend the best approach.
We, at Arizona’s Best Choice Pest & Termite Services, take pride in the fact that we have both the experts and the equipment necessary to get rid of any termite infestation in no time.
One of the most effective termite control methods isthe placement of chemical barriers at the main entry points around your home. You can use repellent or non-repellent termiticides for this purpose.
Repellents keep the termites away by forcing them to change direction. They must be applied to the entire perimeter of the home in order to work.
Non-repellents are undetectable by termites. As a result, they carry the termiticide around, spreading it throughout the colony to termites outside the treated area. This allows rapid control of the termite population.
Make sure that the termite control company you choose uses high-quality, heat-resistant termiticides in proper concentrations. For example, the non-repellent insecticide Altriset provides lasting protection, maintaining high concentrations in the soil for years.
Bait/monitoring systems are another method of termite control. Monitoring stations are set up at various locations around your home. If signs of termite activity are detected, these monitoring stations will be replaced by baits.
Termites that ingest the bait will share it with the colony, resulting in effective termite control, although it may take some months or even years for the method to be highly effective. In contrast, termiticides can deal with the infestation in less than three months.
Wood treatment involves application of odorless and immediately effective chemicals. This treatment also protects against future termite infestations. The product can be applied directly to the wood or injected into it.
Fumigation is a whole-structure treatment, used when multiple colonies are found. For this purpose, termite specialists erect a tent around the house and expose the entire area to gaseous chemicals. The gas spreads throughout the home, reaching all cracks and crevices that may be harboring termites.
Keep in mind that annual control inspections are necessary even after a successful eradication to ensure that the situation remains under control.