Grass, termites and what they may eat. Here is Arizona we have a grass eating termite. Typically they eat desert cellulose cleaning up the desert. In the picture they are just eating the old dead tree bark. Sometimes you will see them building little castles in the yard. They usually don’t do any harm but it does freak out some people and from time to time we can treat around trees to stop them from doing any perceived damage.
You will occasionally see them in areas that are dry and they will build little tunnels over the lawn. This buildup looks like little castles and often look kind of unique in the yard or litter areas. They will buildup over leaves, small pieces of wood or twigs, manure, cactus and plant structures. They also are known as agricultural termites.
Tubes and tunnels – We get calls all the time on these lovely little creatures, termites can cause a lot of concern. But in Arizona they are more of a nuisance than damage causing scourge. Probably the lack of water has the greatest influence on them.
What area do we cover in Arizona – ProBest services include phoenix home pest control and commercial pest control. We are in the Phoenix and surrounding cities. Gilbert. Mesa. Chandler. Queen Creek. Apache Junction. Gold Canyon. Johnson Ranch. Buckeye. Avondale. Surprise. Sun City. Glendale. Peoria. Deer Valley. Scottsdale. Tempe. Maricopa. Casa Grande. Goodyear. El Mirage. Litchfield Park. Tolleson. Laveen. Carefree. Cave Creek. Fountain Hills. Paradise Valley. Youngtown. New River. Sun Lakes.
Rattlesnake Rattlers – I don’t advocate killing things unless you have to. Now with that being said, if you have rodents inside your home, they must die. End of story, why you ask? Because they can cause serious health risks, they urinate and cause other potential issues like asthma. I technically didn’t kill this rattlesnake, it crawled into a rodent station that had a snap trap within. I probably should have saved the skull but didn’t think that far but the rattlers were impressive. Also I somewhat relived I didn’t run into this snake when it was alive. It must have been a good size, probably a good 5 foot.
A few of my accounts just relocate the snakes, taking them for a ride to a somewhat further distance away from the house or business. I was out the National Cemetery and there was a small 1 footer which I moved to a field just down the road.
Jumping Cholla – If you live anywhere in the desert you know about these cactus. They will attack if you get close. OK they won’t attack but it seems like it. Its like they are magnetic. But a question was asked recently why don’t rodents or coyote’s ever have them attached? Or better yet why not Pack Rats? It’s called behavior modification, they learn and they learn quickly. It’s amazing cause almost every time I’m in the desert I get a few. I kneel to check a rodent station and get one in my knee or there might be bits and parts inside the bait station. Sometimes I even get them in my shoes, right through the soles and you think its a rock but surprise a needle shooting pain.
The dangers of the desert
So a word of caution, there are many things in the desert that can do you harm, rattlesnakes, Africanized Honeybees, rocks and cacti – so use extreme care. I seem to find almost all of these dangers as I’m doing my work. Stay tuned for a resent find in a rodent bait station.
I have seen Pack rat middens or dens full of this stuff, how do they do it – I have no idea. I was training a technician once and mentioned to be careful, I had no sooner turned around and he had them from toe to waist on his right leg pants. Painful and barbed, did I say ouuuuuch? But yet the animals seem to be impervious or maybe it’s just that they are smarter. You decide!
Well the monsoon has arrived and with all that rain comes the bugs. I usually say the bugs come in for 2 reasons, #1 not enough rain or #2 too much rain. Just like us the bugs need water, food and shelter and guess what that may be our home of business. Termites become more active this time of year mainly due to the increase of water, on the East Coast water is more abundant and they just seem to be active all year long. Termites create a tube in which to enter a home but that tube can often be hidden and that is the main reason to hire a Pest Management Professional to do that yearly inspection. If you live in the South I recommend a yearly inspection especially for your peace of mind.
All that water.
So when the ground becomes saturated the other bugs make for dryer land and sometimes that just happens to be your home or business. This picture below was from last week and you can see our parking lot is flooded. If this was your home this might be right up against your foundation. The more water and over time this may diminish your active termiticide.
So there I was in my car in the middle of I-17 on Sunday afternoon sitting in traffic. Somebody wrecked , actually it was some type of 5th wheel and it blocked the entire interstate. 2 hours of real boredoom until the termite swarm happened. A little bit of rain and I noticed some flying bugs and all of a sudden one landed on the car and it was a termite swarmer.
Desert subbterranean termite – mature colony is about 150,000, each colony can contain multiple secondary queens. The readily build mud tunnels over materials to reach wood. Thanks to ABC15 for the picture posted to FaceBook, check out their story.
With all the rains we have had it is not surprising to any of us that termites are still very active. This is a frequent little phenomenon that happens here with our desert termites. They find their way into our homes and follow the wood grain, hit the next 2×4 and then follow that grain and rather than return the longer way they attempt to go back down from where they are at the moment. Tricky little bugs, right?
So before you just clean it up and disregard it, check it out – is it dirt and do you see any little white 6 legged ant type critters. Surprise, it’;s probably termites – give us a call to make sure 480-831-9328
This photo is a cholla that somehow made its way into a taller tree, no idea how it did that. But it’s interesting to note that these things will jump (OK not really jump but attach to) almost anything.
The cholla (pronounced choy-a) is perhaps the most feared and hated cacti in the southwest desert. I have seen all kinds of trouble with this cactus. If you brush up against one, you will immediately wished you had paid attention. The spines will stick to anything and they will stick, stick and stick some more….
The plant has pads that separate easily from the main stem. The spines easily attach to your clothing, your skin and your shoes. Since the plant is covered with spines, it’s difficult to grab and dislodge the pad that has found a new home with you. Often re-sticking it’s way deeper and more often. I often wonder how animals might adapt, can you imagine getting this caught in a tail or fur? Got to hurt!
Why are they so difficult to remove? Unlike other varieties of cacti with solid spines, cholla’s actually have hollow spines. Because they are hollow they can easily attach to whatever they touch with their needle like sharpness. If there is moisture, such as with skin, the tips actually curve once they have made contact, locking their spines in place just underneath the skins top layer.
There are several types of Jumping Cholla cacti in the desert southwest, but all of them are called the “jumping” cacti in past days because they seemed to jump when a boot or shoe would walk on or get near them.
How could a plant so nasty be so beautiful? Good question and one more mystery of the desert. The plant (especially the Teddy Bear Cholla with its golden spines) is quite beautiful at sunrise and sunset. As the sun catches the tips of the spines, the plants radiate a cast of yellow, and look quite soft sometimes with an appearance of velvet. Add to this the pink flower it produces and the plant is delightful to look at … but not touch. Because some of the Jumping Cholla cacti can grow to heights of 8 feet tall, they look like strange, distorted trees, each with its own personality.
Believe it or not, the cactus wren builds nests on the Jumping Cholla. The nests are quite secure amongst all the spines and the bird knows how to avoid the spines of the Jumping Cholla.
This plant propagates and spreads throughout the desert by its own defense mechanisms: Its spines attach to anything that can carry it around, animals, people, the wind. When a Jumping Cholla finds a new home, with a little time, and contact with the soil, it begins to root and grow.
One of my favorite places in Arizona is the Desert Sonoran Museum there are almost 2 miles of paths traversing 21 acres of beautiful desert, including many cacti.