Tag Archives: Termites

Pretty Termites Cause More Damage

South Florida, famous for her stunning array of beaches and picturesque barrier islands just added one more item to her long list of beautiful things: Termites.  If you’re like most folks, you prefer your termites as far away from your home as possible but, yes, according to reporter Brad Buck’s May 16th article, on Phys.org, a University of Florida (UF) study, recently published in Insectes Sociaux introduced the idea that some subterranean termite specimens deemed “pretty” for their symmetrical traits, “are more destructive than their uglier counterparts.”

Symmetrical traits indicate the health and maturity of termite colonies

Conducted by Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center entomologist, Thomas Chovenac and UF/IFAS entomology professor Nan-Yao Su, the research team determined that symmetry in termite traits pointed to the overall health and age of termite colonies. Symmetrical or “pretty” specimens tend, “to come from mature colonies,” with large populations, said Chouvenc, adding, that “so-called ‘ugly’ termites,” with asymmetrical traits, “generally come from young colonies. Such ‘ugly’ termites develop under stressful conditions, are short-lived and not very efficient at maintaining the colony.”

The researchers concluded that the larger and more established termite colonies are, the prettier the members are and the more destructive they can be. “If you have a mature colony with a million termites at 100 percent of their capacity, your house may be in trouble,” Chouvenc said. “If the colony is very young, with just a few hundred termites in poor shape, then it would take more time for them to damage a structure. In the end, mature termite colonies are the ones doing the most economic damage.”

Researchers studied Asian subterranean termites, an aggressive non-native species

Speaking of damage, the research team focused their study on Asian subterranean termites, an invasive species introduced to the South Florida area in the 1990s. Along with South Florida’s other invasive species, Formosan subterranean termites, Asian termites account for a major percentage of the $40 billion-dollar expense caused by termites annually, worldwide.

Asian subterranean termites are voracious eaters, bent on population growth

Invasive subterranean termites forage further than native subterranean species and show more aggressive patterns, eating through plastic, wiring and concrete to get to cellulose, their food source. Because one Asian subterranean termite queen can lay 1,000 eggs a day, Asian colonies can grow very rapidly. Caring for their young, a factor in the development of “pretty” termite reproductives, soldiers and workers, researchers noted that in younger colonies, under more stress than more mature colonies, young termites did not get as much care as in more mature colonies, with more workers to nurture the young.

Asian subterranean colonies, supporting multiple queens, accelerate the formation of new nests within colonies. With multiple queens, Asian termite populations can number in the millions. More workers caring for the young equals more extensive damage to your home, in a shorter period of time than other less organized or aggressive termites.

UF/IFAS study suggests eliminating young colonies

The UF/IFAS study also pointed out that “because young colonies have small numbers of poorly efficient termites, compared to mature colonies, there is an incentive to eliminate such young colonies before they grow too big, to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place.”

Excellent idea except for the fact that most homeowners are unaware that termites are lurking under the ground entering their homes, until significant damage is already underway.

A free termite inspection gets your home and property ready for termite prevention

Starting with a free termite inspection, our entomologist-trained and certified technicians inspect your home and property for signs of termite activity. Subterranean termites burrow through the soil outside your home, building mud foraging tunnels to transport wood from your home to their nests.

Our customized plan stops termites before they can enter your home

Our goal is to intercept termites before they can enter your home, by devising a customized plan and Preventative Termite Treatments that protect your perimeter so it is cut off from termites, ‘pretty’ or otherwise. Year round, our comprehensive termite protection plan safeguards your most expensive investment.

Any current infestation is addressed quickly and Hulett will return to address any termite activity at no extra charge as long as the annual termite bond is kept active.

Hulett Environmental Services has been family owned and operated for 3 generations making us the leading pest control company in South Florida for over 45 years. Contact us today for a free in-home termite inspection!

New Super Soldier Termite

Asian Subterranean Termite
You may have heard of the Formosan “super termite” that has been eating through houses along the Southern U.S. Until recently this termite was thought to be the most destructive in the world. However, Nan-Yoa Su, professor of entomology at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), has just discovered a new termite ravaging houses in Florida that is even more destructive and terrifying.

This new super soldier termite, known as the Asian subterranean termite, was thought to only live in tropical climates in places such as Brazil and the West Indies. Unfortunately for us Americans, it has just been discovered in Florida, and seems to have a well-established foothold in South Florida. Scientists are puzzled by its rapid spread as they believed it could not survive in areas north of the tropics. The terrifying termite is now considered to be a serious threat to homes in Florida. Infestations have already been found in four buildings in Riviera Beach in South Florida, and officials believe there are probably more buildings infested. Officials are asking people to contact them at the UF/IFAS if they see this termite.

This new destructive termite is considered one of the most destructive pests in the tropics and now the Southern United States. Su, along with assistant professor of entomology Brian Cabrera, is working to track and hopefully stop the advance of this invasive insect.

Officials are asking residents to look out for the winged termites, which may be seen around dusk and in the evening flying around lights. The termite can be identified by its dark brown head and dorsal surface on the top of its body, which stands out in contrast to its yellow-brown underside. The “two-toned” appearance of the termite makes it fairly noticeable when compared to other termites. The termite “soldiers” can be identified by the teardrop shape of their heads and a pore on their body that secretes sticky, milk-like fluid. Officials recommend that any homeowners unsure of whether the termite has infested their homes should immediately contact a pest control professional and have them thoroughly inspect their property.

Thankfully, a successful baiting system has been developed that can control the new Asian subterranean termite. The bait system uses a chemical called noviflumuron, which is a growth regulator that stops termites from being able to molt. Without the ability to molt the worker population of the termites cannot sustain their underground colonies. We’ll beat this bad guy in no time!

Have you ever had a termite infestation in your home? How did you get rid of them?

Signs You May Have Termites

  1. Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the home.
  2. Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped.
  3. Darkening or blistering of wood structures.
  4. Cracked or bubbling paint.
  5. Small piles of feces that resemble sawdust near a termite nest.
  6. Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the home or swarmers themselves, which are often mistaken for flying ants.

Insects That Decrease Your Home’s Value

Less Bang for Your Buck – Insects That Decrease Your Home’s Value

Insects have become masters of invading our homes. While some are simply a nuisance, others can seriously reduce the value of your home. Whether you’re planning on selling your home anytime soon or not, it’s probably a good idea to keep an eye out for these expensive pests.

Termites are probably the most serious villain when it comes to destroying your property. They cause over $5 billion in property damage throughout the United States every year. What’s worse is that home insurance doesn’t generally cover termite infestations, meaning the money to fix it is going to come straight out of your pocket. Enough termite damage can cause floors and walls to sag because of the loss of structural integrity. And, you don’t want to try and deal with these guys on your own. If you have a termite infestation, immediately call in the professionals to take care of it.

Powderpost beetles are another pest that can seriously harm your home. They are small and black, specializing in boring holes into wood. This means that they will go for anything made of hardwood, including molding, flooring, cabinets, doors and other hardwood furniture. You can detect an infestation by looking for small, round holes in the wood that may have fine sawdust peeking out. These pests tend to infest newer homes. Removing the infested wood is really the only way to eradicate them.

Have you ever had to deal with a termite infestation or powderpost beetles? What did you do to get rid of them?

Are termites geniuses? | Florida Termite Control

Are termites geniuses?

Termites are not something you would typically relate to genius, but recent studies show they may just be more than your average insect.

Termites build their homes without the use of tools like humans have. After all, they only have their bodies, soil and saliva to work with. Setting aside these challenges and limitations how is it possible they have figured out how to ventilate a structure? Something not even humans have fully figured out how to do? Studies on termite mounds show that the structure actually works in a similar fashion to lungs; they inhale and exhale with the changing of the temperature throughout the day. Scientists spent several weeks inspecting termite mounds and discovered that termites build their homes around several chimney like structures allowing for constant ventilation.

Termites take extra care and caution in creating their own homes, but can destroy your home in just a matter of months if they go undetected. Termites can reproduce at alarming rates, and you may think you only have a handful to deal with, if you see one there are probably thousands hiding from you. Call your local pest control company if you believe you might have a termite problem.

For more information on termites, please click here

Termites In Your Home? Here Are 3 Of The Most Important Things You Should Know

Termites In Your Home? Here Are 3 Of The Most Important Things You Should Know

The University of Kentucky has released an informative FAQ article of homeowners on termites.

Here is a low-down on the experts’ answers to homeowners’ most common questions, and we have rounded up three of the most important:

Why worry about termites?

Termites are reported to cause billions of dollars in damages every year. The list of things they can damage are not limited to wood. Aside from posing a serious threat to your home’s structural foundations, termites can also damage books, insulation, papers, important documents, memorabilia, and even pool liners and filtration systems.

How will you know if your home is infested?

When you see mud tubes about the width of a pencil and sometimes wider, extending from your foundations or in other crevices and surfaces of your home, it is most certainly a termite infestation. Termites build these mud tubes for traveling between their underground homes and to new territory. Hollowed-out wood with bits of dried mud or soil lining its galleries is also a sure sign of a termite infestation. Rippled or sunken traces behind wall coverings can also be signs that termites have been tunneling underneath it.

One thing you also have to brush up on is identifying termites from flying ants.

Can I treat a termite infestation myself?

If a termite infestation happens to a small, uncomplicated structure isolated from your house, such as a mailbox, a sandbox, or your dog’s kennel, for example, then it is possible a DIY measure can help. But if you’re going to be exterminating an infestation that has burrowed deep into your home — which is a much more complicated structure, then you will certainly need the expertise and on-hand equipment range of pest control professionals. Attempting a DIY termite extermination project can only result in creating even more damage to your home.

 

 

 

How Termites Communicate

Termites normally keep to themselves, working on building a colony. They don’t really focus on starting fights with other neighbors. But when danger approaches, these termites only do one thing – bang their heads on the walls.

How Termites Communicate

Slamming your head against a wall may not seem very helpful, but it’s actually the vibrations that the banging does which alerts the rest of the colony. The noise travels downwards throughout the tunnels at approximately 430 feet per second, meaning that an average 3 foot tall mound would be alerted almost immediately. Termites ‘hear’ these vibrations through their legs. The leg closest to the vibration picks up the sound first, and the farthest leg picks up the noise last. It was found that termites were able to tell which leg felt the vibration first, which allowed them to learn which direction to head to.

Scientists began to wonder exactly how short the gap could be for termites to feel the vibration in between their legs. The answer? 0.20 milliseconds. In literally less than a blink of an eye, termites were able to decipher which way they should be heading – whether it be to battle, or to hide. Soldier termites would immediately head towards the vibrations in order to protect their horde, while worker termites would begin to retreat back down into their cave system in order to protect themselves. When all is said and done, the remaining termites either go back to working on their nest, or begin constructing a new mound, had they lost the battle.

Article: https://student.societyforscience.org/article/how-termites-%E2%80%98hear%E2%80%98-about-trouble

How to Deal with Foundation Damage Caused by Termites

Tips on how to avoid foundation damage caused by termitesBy  the time you find out that you have termites, there is a chance that they will have already caused extensive damage to the structure (and substructure) of your home. Here is how to deal with all of the damage those pests can cause.

First: Learn to Recognize the Signs

There are a few signs that termites might have set up shop in your home. Swarming is the most common. This is where you start to see termites in your home. The most common place to find them is by the windows—either lying on the sill from having flown into the window itself trying to get out of the house or on the window’s drapery.

You might also find shelter tubes that the termites have built. They build them in open areas so you shouldn’t have to hunt for them. If you find what looks like water damage, search for signs of dirt. Termites will usually bring with them and drop bits of dirt into the wood they’re invading.

Next: Figure Out What Type of Termite You’re Dealing With

The easiest way to do this is to trap a couple of the termites you’ve found. If you see a termite or two in your home, put a clear glass or other similar transparent container over it so that you can lean in for a closer look without having to worry that it will take flight at you (or away). You can use our earlier article to figure out what you’ve captured.

Call a Professional

Unlike some other pests, termites are not something you can combat or conquer on your own. These pests get into and destroy the structure of your home. It is important to call an exterminator or pest control expert for help in figuring out not just how much damage the termites have done but how to deal with the infestation. The good news is that most pest control experts will give you a free inspection.

Dealing with the Aftermath

It isn’t just possible that termites have done damage to the structural integrity of your house, it’s probable. As soon as you’ve “fixed” the infestation, you’re going to want to get a contractor or structural engineer out to inspect your house for damage. If you’re lucky, the damage will only be on the “superficial” structure of your home. If the damage is in the supporting beams and joists, you’re looking at a much bigger problem.

Make Repairs a Priority

Repairing termite damage is going to be expensive. There’s no way around that. How expensive it is depends upon the damage that was done. One thing is for sure, though, the repairs can’t wait—especially if you ever want to be able to sell your house. Remember, tenting isn’t always 100% permanently effective and all it takes is a few of those pests to survive for a real threat to be posed to the structural stability of your home. Get rid of any wood that might have been affected by the termites you just got rid of and replace it with new ones.

Future Prevention is Also Important

In addition to repairing the damage that has already been done, it is important that you work hard to prevent more damage from occurring in the future. Luckily, there are things that you can do to help discourage termites and keep them from infesting your home. You can find a list of ways to prevent a termite infestation here.

The fact is that termites are everywhere. There is no part of the country that is safe from these pests. The good news is that you don’t have to resign yourself to their presence. Use these tips to help you overcome and recover from a termite infestation.

Ants and Termites: Spotting the Difference

Spotting the difference between ants and termites

Ants and termites are both incredibly common pests. They are so common and look enough alike (termites and flying ants in particular look eerily alike) that, at first glance, many people confuse the two. It is important, though, that you learn how to tell the two apart.

What Does the Science Say?

Even in terms of entomology, the differences between ants and termites are subtle. Both live in social swarms that typically revolve around the reproductive agent known as queens in ants and swarmers in termites. The Kansas State Entomology Department has a great page that goes into detail about the scientific differences between these two creatures.

How You Can Tell what’s Crawling on Your Counter

The good thing about ants and termites is that, while they have wings, you don’t have to worry about them buzzing your face when you lean over to get a better look at them (the first step in figuring out which pest you’re dealing with). The three parts of the pest’s body you need to focus on are the antennae, the waist and the wings.

Spotting the difference between ants and termites.With Ants: the antennae are typically bent or arched. Their bodies narrow down at the waist and their frontal wings are larger than their wings in the rear.

With Termites: their antennae are usually straight. They have broad waists and their front and hind wings are of equal size.

Basically, a termite looks like a chubby and more proportionate ant.

What You Should Do with What You’ve Found

Deciding how to handle an invasion of ants or termites is going to depend largely upon which pest is plaguing you and how many ants or termites you are dealing with. With that said, there are plenty of things you can do yourself to prevent and defeat both ants and termites.

How to Deal with an Ant Infestation

If you have an ant infestation, things can get a little bit tricky. While cleaning and sealing up your home can do quite a lot to deter ants from forming colonies inside your home, if the colony has already been built, more action is going to need to be taken.

The good news is that you’re probably going to notice the flying ants for a few days while they explore your house and yard looking for places where they can mate and build new colonies of their own. You’ll start to notice “mounds” and that’s where you should focus your actions.

Create a “toxin” of honey and artificial sweetener to attract the ants along with borax, which is deadly for ants but not for humans or most pets. You can also sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the mounds—it will dry them out and kill them when they come into contact with it. Also use turmeric. Turmeric is completely harmless for pets and humans and acts as an antiseptic and discourages flying ants.

How to Deal With a Termite Infestation

Even if you work hard to prevent termites from getting into your home, sometimes they win anyway. This is why if you start to notice termites in or around your home, you should hire a professional pest control expert to do a thorough inspection and help you come up with a plan for eradicating the infestation. A good expert will know how to “fix” an infestation in a way that has as little impact on you and your family as possible.

It is important to act quickly. The less time these termites and flying ants have to crawl over your walls, the easier it will be to get rid of them.

Termite Queen Found to Be Genetically Immortal

Imagine marrying a woman and taking her to be your wife. As she grows old, she has another child, who looks exactly like her. Now imagine marrying that new child, and throwing away your old wife due to old age. Although it sounds a bit weird, this is exactly what Reticulitermes speratus, a special species of termites, do for their entire lives.

termites

The termite King spends his life mating with the same female, over and over. This continues until another Queen is hatched in order to take her mother’s place. Queen termites use something called parthenogenesis, or asexual reproduction, in order to create a literal clone of herself. The special thing about this clone is that this newborn queen is immune to the King’s sperm, because the little ‘hatches’ that are normally used by the King to inject his sperm, are sealed closed. Normally, if an egg is fertilized it will simply become a normal worker. However, in this case, due to the blocked off hatch, the egg produced by the Queen will have a 100% chance of turning into the next colony Queen as she grows up, because she shares the same genes as her mother. An entire colony cannot be asexually reproduced however, or else complications would arise. This is why the Queen still lays normal eggs for the King to fertilize, in order to keep producing regular workers. Queen termites can live for decades, and only begin to asexually reproduce as they age.

If left alone, these termite colonies could practically live forever, which would cause quite a lot of damage to our ecosystem. Termites are known to be extremely ravenous, and cause quite a lot of damage very fast. Leaving them alone, or allowing a colony to prosper could be very harmful. In other words, as cool or fascinating as their mating system is, termites are still a problem we’ll have to deal with. That’s why annual Termite Inspections are a must! Read more @ http://www.geek.com/science/screw-succession-termite-queen-found-to-be-genetically-immortal-1610165/