Colorado, Wyoming and the region is home to several different subterranean termites commonly, including the western, eastern and the Arid Land Subterranean termites, which are the most common. The Arid Land termite is found throughout the region whereas the Western and Eastern species occur more sporadically depending on the location.
What makes a home susceptible to a termite infestation? Termites will usually begin their infestation at the foundation areas, underneath porch areas, and underneath floorboards. These areas are usually damp and moist and conducive to termite attacks; any damaged or moist wood is a potential target though. Once they have found a suitable place to infest, the problems begin. Let us look at the termite’s life cycle to understand the how they infest and what are the signs of termite problems.
Life History & Termites in the Colorado-Wyoming Region
Generally, termites will begin swarming on a warm day after a rainfall. Swarms also may occur during the winter in heated buildings.
During late winter or early spring, swarms of the reproductive caste may first be noticed in infested buildings. These black, winged termites at the swarming stage are commonly seen, since the other castes do not willingly expose themselves to light. Winged termites are attracted to light, and when they emerge within buildings, they swarm about doors and windows. This is often the first sign many homeowners get of a problem.
After crawling or fluttering about for a short time, the termites break off their wings and locate a mate to begin a new colony. Each pair attempts to locate moist wood in contact with the soil to start a new colony, but few out of the large numbers are successful. Although they alarm the homeowner and can be a nuisance, no damage is done by the winged forms.
Human activities, particularly landscaping practices, have greatly changed the termite picture within Colorado and Wyoming. Infestations of buildings and presence in yards are now more common in many residential areas of the states. Much of this is due to increased moisture around buildings from poorly directed landscape irrigation and poor management of downspout drainage close to foundation walls. The presence of abundant amounts of buried wood in the form of fence posts, excess building material thrown in foundation pouring by contractors, tree stumps, firewood piles and similar items provide many food sources for termites.
How to Recognize Termites and Termite Damage
The presence of swarming termites or their wings alone is a sure sign that termites are working in a building. Winged termites are often confused with winged ants. Most species of ants in the house are only nuisances and (save for carpenter ants) do not damage wood. For this reason it is necessary to know the differences between winged termites and winged ants. The easiest way to distinguish between the two is to look at their waists. An ant has a narrow, wasp-like waist; a termite has a broad waist. The antennae or feelers of ants are “L” shaped, where those of termites are straight.
Furthermore, the four wings of termites are of equal length and nearly twice as long as the termite body, while ant wings are approximately equal to the length of the ant, and the fore and hind wings are of unequal length.
Wood attacked by termites has runways or passages that are coated with an earth-like material glued to the wood. Where the wood has been infested for some time, it may be largely hollowed out with passages and may be rotten in appearance. Upon probing such wood with a screwdriver or similar tool, many of the hidden worker termites may spill out. Termites are successful wood-destroyers because of their ability to utilize cellulose as food, allowing them to actually eat moist wood.
Another sign of termites in the house is the presence of termite tubes. Termites make these earth-colored tubes for a number of reasons, primarily as a protected runway from the earth to the wood they feed on. Moreover, these tubes may serve as swarming exits for the winged termites. Look for these tubes on the cellar walls, on wooden posts, wall studs, mudsills, and door and window trim. Wood embedded in earth or in concrete cellar floors is especially susceptible to termites.
Treatment for Termites
Treating for termites can be simple or involved, inexpensive or costly depending on the degree of the infestation. For a termite inspection, please call Creature Control today at 1-844-774-3284.