Termites are notorious for the damage they can cause to wooden structures. But what do termites look like, and how can you identify them? In this ultimate guide, we at Arizona Termite Control will walk you through the different stages and types of termites to help you identify these destructive pests.
Life Cycle of Termites
Termites have a unique life cycle with three distinct castes: swarmers, workers, and soldiers. Each caste has a specific role in the colony, and their appearance varies accordingly.
Swarmer termites, also known as alates, are the reproductive members of the colony. They are typically dark brown or black, with two pairs of equal-length wings that extend beyond their body. These wings are the most distinguishing feature of swarmer termites.
Worker termites are the most abundant caste in the colony. They are responsible for feeding the other members, maintaining the nest, and caring for the young. Workers are small, cream-colored, and wingless, with soft bodies and a cylindrical shape.
Soldier termites protect the colony from predators. They are larger than workers, with a more elongated body and a prominent, darkened head. Their large, powerful mandibles are designed for defense rather than feeding.
Different Types of Termites
There are several types of termites found in the United States, with different physical characteristics and habitat preferences.
Subterranean termites are the most common species in the U.S. They are typically dark brown to black, with a narrow, oval-shaped body. These termites live in large colonies underground and build mud tubes to connect their nests to wooden structures above ground.
Drywood termites are larger than subterranean termites, with a pale brown color and a more rounded body. They live in small colonies within dry, undecayed wood, and do not require contact with soil.
Dampwood termites are the largest species, with a brownish-gray color and a stocky body. They prefer damp, decaying wood and are usually found in moist, wooded areas.
Formosan termites are an invasive species from Asia, notorious for their large, aggressive colonies. They are similar in appearance to subterranean termites but have a yellowish-brown color.
The Unmistakable Signs of a Termite Infestation
Now that you know what termites look like, it’s essential to recognize the signs of an infestation. These include:
Mud tubes on walls, foundations, or wooden structures
Damaged wood with a hollow or honeycomb appearance
Discarded wings from swarmer termites
Frass (termite droppings) in small, pellet-like piles
If you spot any of these signs above, it’s crucial to act quickly and contact professional help, like our team at Arizona Termite Control!
How to Kill Termites (DIY)
When dealing with termites, it’s important to use the right chemicals to ensure effective treatment and prevention. Here are some top DIY termite chemicals available for homeowners to purchase:
- Taurus SC: Taurus SC is a popular non-repellent termiticide that contains Fipronil as its active ingredient. It can be used for both pre- and post-construction treatments, and is effective against subterranean termites. It can be purchased online or from home improvement stores.
- Termidor SC: Termidor SC is another widely-used non-repellent termiticide that contains Fipronil. It is highly effective against various termite species, including subterranean, drywood, and Formosan termites. Termidor SC can be purchased online or from professional pest control supply stores.
- Spectracide Terminate: Spectracide Terminate is a baiting system that uses hexaflumuron, an insect growth regulator, to eliminate termite colonies. The bait stakes are placed around your property to lure and kill termites. Spectracide Terminate can be found at most home improvement stores or online retailers.
- Bora-Care: Bora-Care is a borate-based termiticide, fungicide, and insecticide. It can be applied directly to wood surfaces and provides long-lasting protection against termites, wood-destroying beetles, and fungi. Bora-Care can be purchased online or at home improvement stores.
- Tim-bor: Tim-bor is another borate-based product that is effective in treating and preventing termite infestations. It can be used as a dust, liquid, or foam application and can be applied directly to wood surfaces. Tim-bor can be found online or at home improvement stores.
- BioAdvanced Carpenter Ant & Termite Killer Plus: This product contains Bifenthrin and Imidacloprid, which are effective in treating and preventing termite infestations. It is available as a ready-to-use spray or concentrate and can be found at home improvement stores or online retailers.
When using DIY termite chemicals, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and take necessary safety precautions. Keep in mind that professional pest control services may be more effective in treating and preventing termite infestations, as they have access to stronger chemicals and specialized equipment.
What chemicals do professional termite control companies use to kill termites?
Professional termite control companies have access to a variety of chemicals to effectively treat termite infestations. Here is a list of some common chemicals used by professionals:
- Fipronil: Found in products like Termidor SC and Taurus SC, Fipronil is a non-repellent termiticide that is highly effective in eliminating termite colonies. It works by disrupting the central nervous system of termites, eventually causing their death.
- Imidacloprid: Imidacloprid is a popular insecticide used in professional termite treatments, often found in products like Premise and Maxforce Quantum. It is a systemic insecticide that works by interfering with the insects’ nervous systems, causing paralysis and death.
- Hexaflumuron: A growth regulator, hexaflumuron is used in termite baiting systems like Sentricon. It disrupts the growth and development of termites, ultimately leading to the death of the colony.
- Bifenthrin: Bifenthrin is a pyrethroid insecticide used in professional termite treatments, found in products like Talstar and Bifen. It is a repellent termiticide, creating a barrier that termites are unable or unwilling to cross.
- Chlorantraniliprole: Found in products like Altriset, chlorantraniliprole is a non-repellent termiticide that targets termite muscles, causing paralysis and death. It is known for its low toxicity to mammals, making it a safer option for use in and around homes.
- Cypermethrin: Cypermethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide used in professional termite treatments, found in products like Demon and Cynoff. It works by targeting the nervous systems of termites, causing paralysis and eventual death.
- Permethrin: Permethrin is another synthetic pyrethroid insecticide used in professional termite treatments, often found in products like Dragnet and Prelude. Like other pyrethroids, it works by targeting the insects’ nervous systems, leading to paralysis and death.
Please note that the use of these chemicals is typically restricted to licensed professionals due to their potency and potential environmental impact. It is essential to rely on professional termite control services to ensure the safe and effective application of these chemicals.
How to Prevent Termite Infestations
Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some steps you can take to minimize the risk of a termite infestation:
- Regular inspections: Conduct annual or bi-annual professional termite inspections of your property. This will help in early detection and prevention of termite infestations. A thorough inspection will reveal any vulnerabilities in your home’s structure and recommend proper remedial measures.
- Eliminate wood-to-ground contact: Termites can easily travel from soil to wooden structures if they are in direct contact. Ensure that wooden parts of your home, such as siding, door frames, and window sills, are at least six inches above the ground to reduce the chances of termites gaining access.
- Maintain proper drainage: Termites thrive in damp environments. Ensure that water drains away from your foundation by installing gutters, downspouts, and splash blocks. Regularly check for and repair any leaks in your plumbing system, as these can create favorable conditions for termites.
- Reduce moisture levels: Ensure your home’s interior remains well-ventilated to reduce humidity levels. Install dehumidifiers in areas prone to moisture, such as basements and crawl spaces. Additionally, ensure that crawl spaces have proper ventilation to discourage termite activity.
- Remove food sources: Remove any potential food sources for termites, such as firewood, dead trees, and wooden debris, from your property. Keep firewood stored at least 20 feet away from your home and elevated from the ground to deter termites.
- Seal gaps and cracks: Termites can enter your home through tiny gaps and cracks in the foundation, walls, and around utility lines. Regularly inspect these areas and seal any openings with a high-quality sealant to prevent termite entry.
- Use termite-resistant materials: When building or renovating your home, use termite-resistant materials such as pressure-treated lumber, naturally resistant wood species (e.g., cedar, redwood), or alternative materials like steel or concrete.
- Apply a termiticide barrier: A chemical barrier applied around the foundation of your home can prevent termites from gaining access. Consult a professional pest control company to apply a termiticide according to local regulations and safety guidelines.
- Install termite baiting systems: Termite baiting systems are an effective method for monitoring and controlling termite activity around your property. These systems use bait stations placed strategically around your home to lure termites, which then carry the poison back to their colony, eventually eliminating it.
- Monitor landscaping: Avoid planting trees and shrubs too close to your home, as their roots can create pathways for termites to enter your property. Additionally, use mulch sparingly, especially near the foundation, as it retains moisture and can attract termites. Opt for non-organic alternatives like rubber mulch or gravel to reduce the risk of infestation.
- Hire a professional termite pest control company: Most should offer a free inspection and can treat and provide bi-yearly or even quarterly termite prevention treatments!
Why Choose Arizona Termite Control
At Arizona Termite Control, we pride ourselves on providing effective, eco-friendly termite solutions to protect your property. Here’s why you should choose us:
- Experienced professionals: Our team of certified technicians is equipped with the knowledge and tools to effectively treat termite infestations.
- Comprehensive services: We offer a range of services, including inspections, treatments, and prevention methods to ensure your property remains termite-free.
- Satisfaction guaranteed: We guarantee to kill all and prevent future termites from coming back. Peace of mind is a beautiful thing!
- Free On-Site Termite Inspections: That’s right. It won’t cost you a dime to get an expert evaluation! Give us a call @ 480-660-3093 or request a free inspection by clicking here!
1. What do termites look like?
Termites vary in appearance depending on their caste and species. Swarmers are dark brown or black with wings, workers are small and cream-colored, and soldiers have large mandibles and a darkened head. Different species also have distinct physical characteristics. Please reference the pictures in our “Life Cycle” and “Different Types of Termites” sections.
2. How can I tell if I have a termite infestation?
Signs of a termite infestation include mud tubes, damaged wood, discarded wings, and frass. If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to contact a professional termite control service like Arizona Termite Control. Please reference the pictures in our “The Unmistakable Signs of a Termite Infestation” section.
3. How can I prevent termites from infesting my property?
To prevent termites, remove wood debris, fix water leaks, keep wood structures away from the ground, and conduct regular inspections of your property. Please reference our “How to Prevent Termite Infestations” section.
4. Are termites harmful to humans?
Termites do not pose a direct threat to human health, but their presence can cause significant damage to wooden structures, which can be costly to repair.
5. Why should I choose Arizona Termite Control for my termite issues?
Arizona Termite Control offers experienced professionals, comprehensive services, and a satisfaction guarantee. Our eco-friendly termite solutions ensure your property remains protected from these destructive pests. Please reference our “Why Choose Arizona Termite Control” section.