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Maryland Termite Colonies…

identifying termites

Posted February 25th, 2013 by BOG Pest Control

Life in the termite colony

The colony knows no daylight or night. Everything is always the same: search for water and food, bring the water and food back to the colony and repeat, repeat and repeat. Well just what is the food? Very simple really: anything with cellulose or wood. In the forest or wooded areas this is a very valuable task. The termites grind up the dead wood (wood must be dead and decaying and cannot be living). Carrying the food and water back to the base camp the worker termites are often guarded by fierce, combative soldier termites. Nearly always the soldier termites are blind and often have to be fed by the workers since the jaws of the soldiers are too big and prohibit feeding. The primary foe is the ant. Ants are no match for the soldiers.

The task of supplying food for an entire colony is complex. The tunnels of the colony are there for easy movement as well as for a temperature control. The colony cannot allow a variance of more than 1 to 2 degrees. Now we begin to know why it is difficult to locate the Queen. The Queen is busy producing the eggs, hour after hour day after day. Interesting tidbit: the Queen mates for life and will produce up to 2000 eggs per day for up to 45 years. The attending termites (white in color and generally blind) move the eggs to permit proper growth. These worker termites have the task of digesting the cellulose and feeding the colony. Around 60% of the colony are the workers and can be found in decaying, wet wood.

Every year, spring or early June in the mid –Atlantic region several thousand termites will leave the colony to form a new colony. Termites are very poor flyers, blind and slow. They will seek food and a water source. You will see the swarms, especially around patios and garages. The termites will land and if they do not find food and water they will die quickly. B.O.G. Pest Control receives many calls about these swarms and many times a technician will arrive to find only dead termite flyers. Now here is where it gets very interesting. Ever hear about or see flying ants? Timing is the same but the two insects are vastly different.

With a magnifying glass or a keen eye you can see the difference. The easiest characteristic that makes the identification possible is the body. The termite has a straight body and the ant has a definite “waist line”. Not a very scientific definition but none the less it does help. If you are positive you have termites please do you and your home a service: call the professional. Just remember that the swarm does not fly very far from the original colony. Get the inspection done, allow the professional to check the entire home for evidence of active termites. There are measures that can and should be taken to preserve the integrity of the home.