Drywood Termite

Subterranean Termite

Subterranean Termite

Description:

Subterranean Termites have 5 castes; worker, soldier, swarmer, queen, and king.  The workers range from 1/8 to 3/8 inch and are creamy white in color.  The soldiers have dark elongated heads with large mandibles.  The swarmers are black with 2 pairs of overlapping wings.  The kings are larger and black.  The queen termites are black with black and white abdomens.  They are the largest member of the colony.

Behavior:

Subterranean Termites live in colonies that are under ground.  They construct tunnels out of fecal matter and soil called shelter tubes.  Shelter tubes give these Termites the ability to feed on food sources above the ground while being protected from the weather and predators.  Workers feed on wood and other cellulose materials.  There is a protozoa in their gut that converts the materials into nutrients.  Colonies can reach numbers of over a million Termites.  These Termites are very common and are Arizona’s # 1 urban pest.

Control:

Termite Foraging Tube On Stem Wall

Subterranean Termites can be controlled by applying a liquid termiticide barrier at the foundation of a structure.  This barrier protects the building from the Termites tunneling up and into the framing.  Another form of treatment is a baiting system.  A baiting system is installed around a building for Termites to find and eat.  The bait is taken back the colony and will kill all the inhabitants.  Preventative measures involve moving firewood away from the home, reduce moisture around the perimeter, and making sure the foundation is clearly visible.

Fun Fact:

Worker Termites are responsible for feeding their higher caste members.  They do this by regurgitating their food after it is digested.  This process is called “trophalaxis”.