Subterranean Termites Are All Over The Houston Area!

Do you live in Houston or The Greater Houston Area? Are you dealing with Termites? Well it’s swarming season so chances are, you’re more than likely are! But what kind of Termites are you dealing with? In this article we explore the world of Subterranean Termites. There are three major types of Termites in this area. Drywood Termites, Subterranean Termites and Formosan Termites. Continue reading to learn more on Subterranean Termites.

What Are Subterranean Termites? 

Subterranean termites are the most destructive insect pests of wood in the United States. They cause billions of dollars in damage each year and have a negative impact on a family’s most valuable possession— the home.

In nature, subterranean termites are beneficial because they break down cellulose into usable nutrients. The biomass resulting from this process is recycled to the soil as humus. Subterranean termites are, therefore, considered important in our ecosystem.

Problems occur when termites attack the wooden elements of homes, 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 of Texas 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 signs of infestation of termites as well as preventive and control mea- sures.

Several species of subterranean termites are found in the United States; they live in every state except Alaska. Two major types of subterranean termites are commonly found in Texas. They are the native subterranean termite and Formosan subterranean termite, and both are serious threats to wooden structures.

Native subterranean termite species in the Genus Reticulitermes are found throughout the state. Overall, Reticulitermes termites are considered the most economically important because they are so broadly distributed.

How Do Subterranean Termites Differ From Formosan Termites? 

The second and increasingly important termite is the introduced Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus. The Formosan termite is easily transported from one infested area to another in landscape timbers, railroad cross-timbers, mulch and wooden pallets. Isolated infestations of Formosan termites have been reported in many areas of the state (See E- 367, “Formosan Subterranean Termites”).

Subterranean termites are social insects that live in colonies within the soil, hence their name “subterranean.” These colonies contain three forms or castes: reproductives, workers (pseudergates) and soldiers. Subterranean ter- mites have several stages: the egg, larva, apter- ous workers (wingless), a brachypterous nymph (with wing pads), soldiers and adult swarmers. There are three forms of adult reproductive ter- mites including primary, secondary and tertiary.

Do Termites Have Wings? 

Reproductive males and females can be winged (primary) or wingless. Females of each can lay eggs and pro- duce new offspring. The bodies of winged pri- mary reproductives, also called swarmers or alates, vary by species from coal black to pale yellow-brown. Wings may be pale or smoky gray to brown and have distinct vein patterns used in identification. Reticulitermes swarmer termites are about 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 inch long.

Secondary and tertiary reproductive live within the colony and are white to cream-colored. These termites form a backup for the primary queen and may replace her if she is injured or dies. These termites mate within the colony and lay viable eggs. If supplementary reproductives and worker termites become iso- lated from the main colony, they can establish a new sub-colony.

Termite Colony Systems:

Termite workers make up the largest number of individuals within a colony and do all the work. They are wingless, white to creamy white and 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 inch long . They forage for food, feed the other castes, groom the queen and maintain and build tunnels and shelter tubes. Their mouthparts are very hard and adapted for chewing through wood or other cellulose materials. The worker caste is responsible for the damage that makes termites an economically important problem.

Soldiers resemble workers in color and general appearance, except they have well-developed brownish heads with strong mandibles or jaws (Fig.1c). Soldiers defend the colony against inva- ders, primarily ants and other termites. They cannot forage for food or feed themselves, and they depend on the workers to care for them.

Ants and termites often swarm at about the same time of year but control measures for each differ greatly. It is therefore, important to be able to distinguish between swarming termites and ants.

Both male and female swarmers fly from the colony and travel short distances. Termites are weak fliers and must rely on wind currents to carry them to new habitats. Only a small per- centage of swarmers survive to develop colonies; most fall prey to birds, toads, insects and other predators, and many die from dehy- dration or injury.

During the swarming process, males (kings) and females (queens) pair off using phero mones. Successful reproductive pairs land, lose their wings and seek cover under rocks or other moist materials. A pair will make a very small nest before mating. Initially, the new queen termite lays only a few eggs. The male remains with the female and helps care for developing eggs and the larva that hatch.

Eggs are not deposited continuously. In fact, only a few hundred are deposited during the first year. As the young queen grows larger, she lays more eggs. The king and queen care for the young larvae that hatch from the eggs because they cannot care for themselves. The larvae then molt into pseudergate workers, which, in turn, can molt into presoldiers or brachypterous nymphs (with wing pads). These nymphs will eventually molt to become primary reproductive. The colony stabilizes when the queen reaches her maximum egg production. If the queen dies, supplemental reproductives take over the queen’s duties.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have A Problem With Termites?

You Should Call CPL Pest Control! Call us today for your FREE Consultation and Quote! We promise to use the very best in technology to determine if a Termite problem exists. If it does, then we will determine the best course of action necessary to eliminate your Termite problem today! Call 281-683-6737 and as always, ASK FOR CHRIS!

To Learn More How We Take Care Of Termites CLICK HERE!





Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Previous Post

Bedbugs Are All Over The Woodlands, TX!

Next Post

How Can You Keep Your Conroe TX Home FREE from Pest this Spring?

Call Now ButtonTap Here To Call Us NOW!