Subterranean termites are ground inhabiting, social insects that live in colonies. A nest of subterranean termites may be as far as 18-20 feet below the soil surface, thereby protecting it from extreme weather conditions. These termites travel through mud tubes to reach food sources above the soil's surface. A mature termite colony has three castes: reproductive termites (the king and queen), soldier termites, and worker termites.
The royal couple, the king and queen termites, will dig a chamber in the soil near a wood source, seal the opening, then mate. The queen termite can live up to 25 years and is capable of laying more than 60,000 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs are yellowish-white in color and hatch after an incubation of 50-60 days.
Soldier termites are creamy white, soft-bodied, wingless, and blind. They have hard, brown, elongated heads and two jaws. Soldier termites are unable to feed themselves and must be fed by workers. There are fewer soldiers in the colony than worker termites, because their sole function is to defend the colony against invaders. Soldier termites mature within a year and live up to 5 years.
Fully-grown termite workers are soft-bodied, wingless, blind, and creamy-white in color. In the early stages of life, termites are fed predigested food by the king and queen. Once able to digest wood, worker termites are responsible for providing food for the entire colony. They perform all the labor in the colony including obtaining food, feeding other termite caste members and immature termites, excavating wood, and constructing tunnels. Worker termites mature within a year and live 3-5 years.
A termite colony reaches its maximum size in approximately 4-5 years and could have anywhere between 60,000 to 200,000 workers. New colonies of termites are formed when winged termites from a parent colony emerge in flight, known as a swarm.
Swarms of termites are common in the spring and fall, especially after rain on a warm day. The winged, reproductive termites are dark brown to brownish-black and have two pairs of equal-sized wings that extend beyond the body. After swarming, winged termites return to the ground and shed their wings. The now wingless male and female termites pair off and go in search of wood and moist soil.
By feeding on wood, these bugs serve an important function in nature…converting dead trees into organic matter. Unfortunately, the wood in buildings is equally appetizing for termites and they cause significant damage to residential and commercial properties.
ZipZap Termite & Pest Control can eliminate the threat of termites to your home.
Flying ants and swarming termites are often difficult to tell apart. Termites have relatively straight, beadlike antennae while ants have elbowed antennae. Termites have two pair of wings (front and back) that are of almost equal length. Ants also have two pair of wings, but the fore wings are much larger than the hind wings. The abdomen of the termite is broadly joined to the thorax, whereas, the abdomen and thorax of the ant are joined by a narrow waist called a petiole.
Subterranean termites feed exclusively on wood and wood products containing cellulose. Termites have protozoa (microorganisms) in their intestines that produce enzymes to digest cellulose. Although termites are soft-bodied insects, their hard, saw-toothed jaws work like shears and can bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time. They often infest buildings and can damage various materials including lumber, wood panels, flooring, sheetrock, wallpaper, plastics, paper products, and fabric made of plant fibers. Termites can inflict serious and costly damage; they can cause buildings to lose structural strength; ruin floors, carpets, and clothing; and destroy furniture, artwork, books, and valuable papers.
Termites primarily communicate by secreting chemicals called pheromones and each colony develops its own characteristic odor. Termites are able to instantly recognize intruders and secrete a pheromone to alert the colony and signal the soldiers to attack. Workers secrete chemicals when they locate new sources of food so that others can follow the trail. Chemicals are also used to regulate the proportion of termites in each caste. Nymphs (immature termites) can develop into workers, soldiers, or reproductive adults depending on the colony's needs.
Sound is another method of communication in termites. Soldier and worker termites may bang their heads against tunnels to create vibrations and alert others in the colony. This allows the colony an opportunity to mobilize and defend itself against a perceived threat.
Mutual exchange of food also enhances recognition of colony members.
Wood damaged by termites will have remains of mud tubes attached to galleries or tunnels in an irregular pattern. The tunnels may contain broken mud particles and fecal materials. If the colony is active, white termites may be found in infested wood.
The presence of mud or shelter tubes extending from the ground to woodwork or foundation walls also indicate a termite infestation. Workers travel periodically via sheltered tubes to their nest in order to regain moisture and perform feeding duties. Each mud tube is approximately the diameter of a pencil lead.
Additionally, the presence of flying winged termites or shed wings inside your property indicates an infestation.
Based on normal feeding activity, it takes termites 3-8 years to cause significant damage. It is said that under ideal conditions, a termite colony of 60,000 workers can consume a foot-long plank of 2″ x 4″ pine in 118-157 days. The feeding activity of termites is reduced during the cold season; so, the extent of damage may differ depending on when an infestation occurs.
Termite damage may be located by probing wood with a screwdriver, ice pick, or knife. Begin your inspection in the basement and use a bright flashlight. Look for mud tubes and evidence of swarmers. If necessary, request the services of a pest control professional or an experienced entomologist. A qualified inspector should examine the exterior and interior surfaces of the foundation, focusing on wooden constructions built on or near soil. Mud tubes are solid evidence of termite activity.
The inspector should be able to determine if termites are active, the approximate age of the damage, and whether chemical treatment is necessary.
Do not panic. There is no need to be alarmed if termite activity is found in your home and treatment is required. Termites work slowly, and the structure will not be extensively damaged or collapse overnight.
Take your time to make a sound decision – do not be pressured into picking a company or selecting a treatment without sufficient information. If you decide to hire a commercial pest control service, get two or more cost estimates. It is important to request a specific plan of action so that you know the locations of termite activity and the treatment methods suggested for these areas. Ask for copies of warranties and insecticide labels as well as written information about woodwork repairs and chemical treatment procedures. Ask about liability insurance and compare bids before choosing a company.
Beware of the following situations:
The goal of termite control is to establish a continuous insecticide barrier between the colony (usually in the soil) and the wood in a building. Sometimes there is a secondary termite colony above the soil (in the roof or other areas with a constant moisture supply) that requires additional treatment. Insecticide barriers may be established during or after a building's construction. In an existing building, termite treatments may involve the following procedures:
In most cases, it is beyond the ability of an untrained person to attempt termite treatment. For anything other than spot treatments, it is advisable to use professional pest control operators. Effective elimination of a termite colony requires special tools such as hammer drills, sub-slab injectors, ridding devices, engines equipped with pumps, and protective equipment. Several insecticides and baits are registered nationwide for termite control. Some bait, however, are only available for purchase by commercial pest control professionals. Over-the-counter bait products are unlikely to provide satisfactory termite control. When you hire a pest control professional, make sure to discuss the contract and conditions of using chemicals and baits for termite control.
Thirty separate university studies and seventy published scientific articles attest to the effectiveness of the Sentricon bait system for eliminating termite colonies. And while third-party validation is appreciated, the real proof comes from the millions of customers across the country whose properties were saved from termite damage, thanks to the Sentricon bait system.
You spend a lot of time and money on your home. The Sentricon termite bait system protects your investment. Termite baiting is a quicker, less-invasive treatment than liquid termiticide. It is better for your home, because it doesn't require drilling holes in floors and walls. And it is better for your yard, because it involves less digging for termites.
In all these ways and more, the Sentricon termite bait system can protect your home.
It is unlikely that you will come across a termite colony, because they live underground. So, it's hard to imagine that they could be attacking your most important investment – your home – as you read this. But there's a good chance that they are. Every year, more than 5 million U.S. homeowners discover a termite problem. It's more common than damage caused by storms, fires, and earthquakes, and yet its costs are rarely covered by homeowner's insurance.
Most Kansas City residents prefer an environmentally-responsible option to termite control, as long as the treatment is safe and effective. The Sentricon termite bait system meets both of these requirements; it is designed to prevent environmental exposure and can be removed if desired. The Sentricon termite bait system was registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Reduced Risk Pesticide Initiative and is the only termite control product ever to receive the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. As a green product, the Sentricon termite bait system gives you peace of mind in more ways than one.
When it comes to protecting their homes from termites, people prefer the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System to any other brand. In fact, it has protected more than two million structures, including the Statue of Liberty, the White House, the Alamo, and many other national treasures
If termites are present on your Kansas City property, the highly trained pest professionals at ZipZap Termite & Pest Control will use the Sentricon termite bait system to eliminate the colony and prevent future infestations. This is made possible by placing stations in the soil around your home. The bait system is less disruptive and more effective than traditional methods.
When it was introduced, the Sentricon termite bait system revolutionized termite control and prevention. After a decade of proven performance, it has become the standard for termite colony elimination in Kansas City and across the U.S.
Sentricon used scientific knowledge of termite behavior to design its product and ensure effective elimination of colonies. The Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System ensures that all members of a colony are killed – including the queen who is capable of producing tens of thousands of eggs in her lifetime – by ending the food chain needed for survival. With the proven ability to wipe out existing and future house-hungry generations, Sentricon gives your Kansas City home complete protection from termites.