Termites are tiny soft-bodied insects known for their wanton destruction. Termites are often known as white ants; however, they are not related at all. Ants and termites are social insects but ants are from the order of Hymenoptera, whereas termites are from the order of Isoptera. Surprisingly, termites are a kin to cockroaches. In fact, DNA analysis showed that termites are closely related Wood roaches.
Since some people are confused between ants and termites. It is important for you to know how to tell them apart. Ants and termites have different colors. Ants have shades of red, brown and black while termites are mostly pale and white in color but some species have shades of red, black or brown. Ants have obvious waist while termites do not have them. Lastly, ants have bent or elbowed antennae, while termites have straight and beaded ones.
There are thousands of termite species around the world but only a few of them are capable of significant damages to our homes and properties. The termite species that often cause damages are subterranean, dampwood and drywood termites.
Subterranean termites or Rhinotermitidae are termites that live in large colonies that contain hundreds and thousands of individuals. They are found all across North America and are highly invasive termites. In fact, they are the most common termite you would find in homes. A clear sign of subterranean termite infestation are blisters or dark areas in wooden walls or flooring. The damage will go unnoticed because termites would only consume spring wood and leave the grain and the exterior surface unscathed.
Rhinotermitidae colonies are often in contact with soil. The members of this family are small. Soldiers and workers are 5mm on average and share pale white color. The soldiers of this family sport a flat region behind their head which is called pronotum and produces stinging fluid as defense. Average queen would produce at least 100 eggs each day. There are more than 300 members of this family and the most prominent ones are the Eastern Subterranean Termite (Reticulitermes flavipes) and Formosan Subterranean Termite (Coptotermes formosanus) or Formosan Termites.
Eastern Subterranean Termite (Reticulitermes flavipes)
- Soldiers and workers are pale to pale-tan.
- Soldiers have darker heads.
- Adult termite has darker colors.
- Soldiers and workers are 5mm to 7mm in length.
- Adult termite is 10mm in length.
- Swarming occurs during mornings of February to April.
Formosan Subterranean Termite (Coptotermes formosanus)
- Workers are pale yellow or pale brown and lack prominent mandibles.
- Soldiers are pale yellow or pale tan with large oval-shaped heads and prominent mandibles.
- Reproductive adults have yellowish brown color and have hairy wings.
- Soldiers and workers’ size range from 6mm to 19mm in length.
- Reproductive adult termite is between 12mm to 17mm in length.
- Formosan termites are highly destructive and attack almost all sorts of structures.
- Swarming of Formosan termites is massive and occurs during dusk or calm and humid evenings of April to July.
Dampwood termites or the family Termopsidae are the largest termites with the average size of 25mm. There are only 20 species under this family and they are spread amongst Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas. They often nests in wet and rotting wood and require no direct soil contact. Termopsidae termite colony sizes are moderate compared other termite species. These termites produce frass or fecal pellets, which indicates infestation. Prominent member of Termopsidae is the Pacific Dampwood Termite (Zootermopis angusticollis).
Pacific Dampwood Termite (Zootermopis angusticollis)
- Pacific Dampwood termites are large termite species.
- Workers are 10mm to 15mm in length.
- Soldiers are 15mm to 20mm in length.
- Reproductive adult termite is 25mm in length.
- Worker termites have pale to milky white color.
- Soldiers are darker pale with a prominent dark brown head.
- Reproductive adult termite is orange to red in color.
- Swarming occurs throughout the year but is more prominent from August to October and happens during warm humid evenings just after sunset.
Drywood termites or Kalotermitidae are termites that feed and nests on above ground wood. Unlike other termites, they don’t come into contact with wood through soil and live on dry wood. However, they have the habit to dwell and feed on damp and rotten wood. Unlike other termite species, drywood termites lack true worker caste. What they have is pseudergates and nymphs, which serve as workers for the termite colony and can molt into soldiers or alates if necessary.
Members of Kalotermitidae live in small colonies – members would be from 50 – 3,000 depending on the age of the termite colony. They do not need water because they live off of the moisture produced when digesting cellulose; thus, producing fry and distinct fecal pellets. There are more than 400 species of drywood termites and are common to all continents except to Antartica. In the US, drywood termites often found in coastal states of south and southwest US. Prominent members of Kalotermitidae are West Indian drywood termite (Cryptotermes brevis) and Western drywood termite (Incisitermes minor).
Western drywood termite (Incisitermes minor)
- Soldiers are large and reddish-brown with visible teeth on mandible
- Reproductive adult termite has orange and brown head with dark brown body.
- Soldiers are 8mm to 12mm in length.
- Reproductive adults are 11mm to 12.5mm in length.
- Pseudergates are slightly smaller.
- Western drywood termite swarmersappear during late summer and during sunny days.
- Termite colony members number to thousands.
West Indian drywood termite (Cryptotermes brevis)
- It is also known as Powderpost termite.
- Reproductive adult termite has dark brown color.
- Pseudergates are pale and white.
- Soldiers have pale bodies and dark heads.
- Reproductive adult termite is 9mm to 11mm in length.
- Soldiers are 4mm to 5mm in length.
- West Indian drywood termite swarmers take flight from nights of April to June.
These termite species constantly threaten your home. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your home and investment. Start by setting up a free termite inspection now.
There are many reasons why your home becomes a welcoming abode for white ants or termites. The more you have them, the higher the likelihood to have termites that will chew your house. Damp and dark areas to live as well as abundance of food such as cardboard, papers and untreated wood and wooden products are appealing to these pests.Continue reading
There are many good reasons to create homemade mouse traps rather than purchasing them at the store. For one, do-it-yourself traps are cheaper than store-bought ones and make use of objects that are just lying around the house. For another, homemade traps are typically more humane and trap mice without hurting them.Continue reading
Identifying Termite Infestation
No one wants to think about what might be living in their crawlspace, but the cost is too high to ignore the possibility of a termite infestation. If you and your family live in Orange County, Los Angeles, or Southern California, your home is at risk of termite infestation. Treebark Termite and Pest Control advises you to familiarize yourself with these common termite signs.
1. Mud Tunnels
Termites create tunnels out of mud and fecal matter in order to travel between the nest and sources of wood. These tunnels can be most easily seen climbing up concrete blocks on the side of the house. Tunnels are also very common in the crawlspace. Some tunnels start at the ground and travel upward, not always connecting with the floor above. Others start at the floor and travel downward through the crawlspace, not always reaching the ground. Tunnels are most frequently brown or light brown, varying in tone. A mud tunnel is a clear sign of a termite infestation, though they are not always present or easy to find.
Sometimes, termites appear in large swarms, frequently near a light source. Reproductive termites are found in swarms when a nest becomes overcrowded and it is time to build a new nest. A swarm not only means that there is a nest in the area but that a new one will be developed soon unless someone takes action. After the swarming phase, the termites will leave behind a pile of wings, indicating that reproduction has already taken place. Swarming happens the most often in the spring between February-March through June but also occurs in September and October for drywood termite season (red head black body termites with wings).
3. Wood Damage
As termites eat, they create holes in the wood and weaken the structure. Termites create patterns like watermarks in wood as they slowly wear it down. Termite-damaged wood may appear rotten or degraded over time, and give into pressure from above. Knocking on termite-damaged wood results in a dull, hollow sound. Termite problems are best dealt with before they cause this level of
damage, but Treebark Termite and Pest Control offers solutions to termite damage.
Treebark Termite and Pest Control
Instead of waiting for termites to become a problem, it is cheaper, easier, and safer to prevent infestation. Treebark Final™ is a Treebark-exclusive treatment which is not toxic for people, household pets, or plants. Use of Treebark Final™ does not require disposal of food or leaving the home. This ground-breaking treatment not only kills termites but prevents them from returning.
Check out the Treebark Termite and Pest Control hours and locations.
Termites, both Subterranean and Drywood are attracted to light sources. The reason is because their entire lives are spent inside of wood (Drywood read dark) or underground (Subterranean also dark). Their experiences with light sources are:Continue reading
Subterranean termites are actually multiple species of termite, just like there is more than one kind of drywood or dampwood termite. “Subterranean” refers to any type of termite that builds its colonies underground. Regardless of the species, any signs of termites around the premises of a home or business mean bad news. Anaheim is known for having a subterranean termite problem from the old tree roots.
Each Anaheim termite colony is divided into three castes: workers, soldiers, and alates.
Workers: 6mm long and cream-colored with no wings, these termites are responsible for most of the tunneling and household damage.
Soldiers: Cream-colored but with a brown head and large mandibles (jaws), this caste keeps the colony and territory safe from predators and competing colonies.
Alates: Dark brown and almost twice as large as worker termites with two pairs of wings, these termites breed while swarming in the air. As they grow older, alates (swarmers) lose their wings and move back into the colony where they continue to breed.
When to Look
Worker termites tunnel and eat 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Alates are mostly active at dusk but can be seen year-round. Solder termites are hard to find as they are frequently close to the nest. Termite eggs, nymphs, queens, and older alates will only be found in the colony.
When termites work their way through the foundation of a house, they leave signs behind. The wood may look fine from the outside but produce a hollow sound when knocked against. There may be hollowed-out tracks leading in the same direction of the wood grain. (If the tracks are leading against the grain, you may have dampwood termites.) Lastly, there may be tracks of dirt or tubes made of mudleading upward into the building. These tunnels may run along the wall or be suspended like a ladder between the ground or the building’s foundation.
Native and Invasive Termites
Most termites found in Southern California are Subterranean termites, an invasive species which have been present for centuries. Subterranean termite colonies are roughly ten times the size or larger than Drywood colonies, some of which branch out to smaller colonies inside the house. Subterranean soldier termites are also more aggressive and make up 10 to 20% of the entire colony, compared to the 2% within a colony of Drywood termites. The invasive termites are more likely to take down live trees and even build mud nests inside them. Subterranean termites also spread more quickly, meaning they create more nests and infest more houses undetected .
Termite Prevention and Treatment
If you suspect termites may be on the premises of your home, the first step is to call Treebark Termite and Pest Control for a free inspection. The second step is to follow through with Ryania Treebark Termite Treatment, a pet-safe and environmentally friendly treatment which kills termites and prevents them from returning. The service comes with a two-year warranty that can be renewed indefinitely. Lastly, our specialists will perform wood replacement on-site. Please feel free to contact us with any questions so you can get started right away
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Nobody wants dangerous spiders in their home, and black widows are among the most dangerous. Not only is their bite often deadly, black widows are known for hiding in obscure places, making them hard to spot. It is rare for a black widow to bite a person, child, or pet, but when it happens, the results can be devastating. To learn how to keep your household safe from black widow spiders, look over these three treatments designed to kill spiders and prevent them from returning.
Pet-friendly and child-friendly aerosol pesticides are available at the local department store, and when used in all of the right places, prove very effective against spiders. To make sure that no spiders come into the house, it is necessary to coat all of the possible entry points in pesticide. This means doors and windows, faucets, and the entry points of cables. If there is an unguarded opening, it is likely that spiders will eventually find their way through it. Non-toxic pesticide should also be used in possible hiding places for black widows. Remember that black widows seek out quiet, undisturbed areas of the home but may also appear elsewhere.
2. Perimeter Control
Aside from pesticide, there are other precautions that will help to ward against black widows as well as other spiders. Old, broken window screens can be replaced, and cracks in the walls can be filled with caulk. Not all vents and chimneys come with screens, so it is important to purchase a screen if none is installed. To prevent spiders from being drawn toward the house, turn off all of the outdoor lights and close the curtains when lights are on inside. In serious cases, it may be necessary to change the garden layout. As plants and decorations may serve as a place for spider webs and hiding places, the home is more likely to be infested when such things surround the perimeter. To eliminate indoor hiding places, replace cardboard boxes with sealable plastic boxes and clear out any clutter that spiders may hide in. Keeping the house clear of crumbs will also limit the number of insects, which serve as food to spiders.
3. Call Pest Control
When all is said and done, it can be difficult to eradicate a spider problem alone. The experts at Treebark Termite and Pest Control are trained in finding and securing every opening that spiders may come through as well as every nook and cranny that spiders may hide in. Treebark Termite and Pest Control is an ally against unwelcome pests. To free your home of black widow spiders and other problems, give us a call. We are happy to help.
Infestations are many things. They are gross, they are invasive, and they are stressful. It is normal to worry about the cost and wonder if it is better to avoid calling pest control altogether. Calling pest control may not be as fun as buying new stuff, but especially when it comes to destructive pests like termites and ants, taking down the infestation once and for all is the one and only good choice. In dry areas like Newport Beach, the odds of an ant or termite infestation are too high to ignore, and the problem is best solved before the pests decide to move in. By acting early, homeowners can actually save money on would-be home repairs and animal control calls and invest in something more fun.
1. One untreated infestation may follow another.
The dangers of letting a home infestation persist are not always obvious. One of the problems that does not get talked about much is the risk of the current infestation attracting another one.
Take rodents for instance. Rodents around the house attract small predators such as snakes and birds, which in turn bring large predators like coyotes and mountain lions to your front yard. The result is unsavory. Predators which risk entering neighborhoods grow accustomed to humans and have to be put down by animal control.
Another example of an infestation branching out to more problems is a fly infestation. Flies sometimes come into houses through open windows and drain pipes and spread because they have no predators inside. This honeymoon phase does not last for long. After the fly population spins out of control, predators such as spiders often move in as well, turning the house into a jungle. No, letting an infestation go unhindered is not the answer, but let’s look at a few more reasons why.
2. Infestations do not go away on their own.
Procrastination is the bane of every life. To-do lists stack up and stress festers, making it harder and harder to act, but infestations are one thing that absolutely must be handled. There are certain things that pests rely on which, when taken away, can cause the infestation to dwindle. Without food, without shelter, without a place to mate, infestations do die off. However, cutting off the current supply does not always do the trick. Sometimes the infestation finds a new supply and keeps on growing. The fact is that infestations will keep on infesting until they are stopped, and there is no telling if hiding the food, closing a vent, or waiting for winter will ever be enough.
3. Most of the damage is out of sight.
Sometimes it seems easier to live with an infestation than to deal with it. The pests may not seem to be stirring up too much trouble, and after all, sharing is caring. What some do not realize is that the true harm is tucked politely out of sight. It may seem like the worst a rat has to offer is a bad odor and rustling noises at night, but rats can bite through concrete and will do so for no perceptible reason. Ants and termites may seem to keep their own space and only pop in every once in a while, but their true home may be under the house working their way through the support beams. Every infestation has subtle effects that may go unnoticed for weeks or even months or longer. It is time to clear the infestation away quickly and decisively.
An infestation may not seem like a big deal to every person. Some may prefer to wait it out or even live with the pests, but the infestation has other plans. When it comes to a pest that can damage the house or even endanger the people living inside, the best choice is to solve the problem once and for all. If a do-it-yourself solution does not eradicate every single pest, then halfway done is not enough. Only when the infestation is gone and never to return is everything set right.
It can be hard to keep a home in top shape in Orange County, and pests are not making it any easier. The dry climate brings on its own unique problems, not the least of which are these three home-wrecking pests.
When thinking about infestations that endanger the house, most Orange County homeowners think of termites. This is with good reason. Termites do not just live in our homes, they eat our homes. They eat everything from the walls to the floorboards to the support beams that keep the house from collapsing. An untreated termite infestation means a hole in the ground where the house used to be.
2. Carpenter Ants
Ants may seem harmless. A single ant is barely the size of a grain of rice, and seems to scamper around erratically all the time, hardly fit to have a malevolent master plan. What goes unseen is the hordes of ants operating underground, marching at the command of their two-winged queen. There is not enough data to say exactly how large the average ant colony is, but colonies have been measured to be more than 25 feet deep. A colony of this size under your house means a lot of trouble, even if the ants, themselves, look cute and harmless.
Carpenter ants in particular are bad news for homeowners. These creatures are capable of chewing through wood, creating passages directly from your pantry down to their home below your floorboards. The fallout is not pretty.
3. Black Widows
Not every infestation means danger to the house, itself. Some mean trouble for the people, children, and pets inside. As reclusive creatures, black widows may not have much impact on the inhabitants’ daily lives, but their real effect can be sudden and dramatic. Choosing secluded places like dusty cardboard boxes and old tin cans as their homes, black widows can be hard to track down and hard to predict. The shy spiders may seem to prefer keeping to themselves, but they may bite when their homes are disturbed, and there is no telling where that home may be.
Ready to say goodbye to these pests forever? You’re not the only one. Take a look at what Treebark Termite and Pest Control can offer.