Thursday, August 21, 2008

Subterranean Termites - General

The management of termites is a major portion of pest control work in the United States. Termite managment specialists must be knowledgeable in building construction, termite biology and behavior. Due to the billions of dollars in damage that termite do I recommend that if you have a termite infestation that you contact a professional company that offers a guarantee.

Termites are the only members of the Isoptera family and are closely related to cockroaches. Termites harbor a one-celled ogransim in their digestive tract that converts cellouse into a substance the termites can digest. In nature, termites help convert dead wood and other organic materials containing cellulose to humus. Termites are social insects that are called castes.

At certain times of the year numerous small, immature, nymphal termites from mature colonies (usually 3 to 5 year) molt into alates, which are commonly known as swarmers. For most homeowners this is usually the first indication that termites are present. Evironmental conditions must be just right before termites will swarm. The temperature, mositure (both within and outside the colony), light conditions and even barometric pressure influence swarming activity. As a general rule, Eastern Subterranean Termite swarmers emerge on warm sunny days when the humidity is high. Formosan Subterranean Termite swarmers swarm in the early evening.

Termites require specific environmental conditions to survive. The soil in which they live provide these two important conditions, moisture and mud. While subterranean termites have preferences in the type of wood they eat, they will eat anything made of cellouse material. The Eastern Subterranean Termite prefers slash and loblolly pine, while the Formosan Subterranean Termite prefers sugar maple, slash and loblolly pine. The condition of the wood is also important. Decayed wood is eaten faster and preferred over sound wood. The average mature colony of Eastern Subterranean Termites contains about 60,000 to 1 million workers, while the Formosan Subterranean Termite colonly contains 350,000 to 2 million workers. Each termite can consume up to 3% of their body weight daily.

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