So the termites found their way into your home via the foundation slab wall and you didn’t notice them them. But one day you noticed a smudge on the nicely framed picture hanging on the wall. So you thought it was weird so you investigated and look what you found?
Hourglass contains 1 cup of sawdust, which equals what a subterranean termite colony could consume in a 2-hour period. Something to think about? Reminded me of the slogan from the TV Soap “Days of our Lives” – “Like sands through the hourglass .. so are the Days of our Lives.”
Termites are relentless and will work 24/7/365 trying to gain access into your home or business.
One of the problems with doing termite work is what is under the concrete. The picture above isn’t under concrete but in a block wall holding up a RV gate. The problem that I have run into is cups and trash that were just thrown in before the concrete was poured. Cups are a real problem because they are coated with that waxy material and takes a zillion years to decompose.
A number of years ago I had an issue with a set of steps and finally after taking it apart we noticed trash, wood and cups which prevented the termiticide from reaching the dirt in a uniform way. Love to be Superman, but I can’t see through concrete.
This next week the National Pest Management Association kicks off Termite Awareness Week (March 16-22). The Spring brings a lot more activity for termites on the East Coast, well what about Arizona? Our monsoon (usually in the late summer) brings the rain and this triggers the termites and other bugs to become more active.
So as the cold disappears and the warm weather finally makes it to the Valley, keep an eye out for termites and other bugs. No freezing weather – less death of common food of the scorpions and that means that the scorpions didn’t succumb to the extreme cold either.
The first picture is at the tire stop and the termites decided to just continue right on to the wall. The 3rd picture is my favorite, it appears someone decided to paint right over the tube. Maybe they were trying to hide it from the dreaded Termite Inspector (Me), by the way that doesn’t work.
Termite generally don’t consume live wood or cellulose, they prefer dead stuff like fallen trees and wooden structural pieces in your home. These termites in the picture are probably a Gnathamitermes species often called grass eaters. Here is Arizona they often go after dead grass, old wooden fences, dead cactus and tree bark. Here is a great publication from the University of Arizona (Baker, Marchosky).
In Arizona these little mud trails can pop up just about anywhere within your home. The termites make there way up from the soil and make these tubes or tunnels to protect themselves from ants or the heat. Once inside they will soon be munching away on your wall or ceiling studs.
“Termites cause $40 billion in damage every year, worldwide, and researchers say the insects have developed an ingenious defense against pesticide: They make antibacterial nests out of their own poo.”
The article above goes into length about Formosan termites, located in Louisiana and surrounding areas with plenty of water. This abundance of water allows termites a greater chance to do damage and survive and puts the East Coast of the US in that very heavy chance of termites and damage. In Arizona this lack of water helps to keep the termites in check and limit extensive damage (I have seen some pretty bad damage but in general not often). This is the reason why Arizona is in that heavy infestation and also why the termite activity gains momentum during monsoon.
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.
When your home was built the contractor probably was required to pretreat the soil before pouring the concrete slab. By AZ law a final grade was to be performed within a certain period, if you look in the electrical box you may find the two required stickers. One should be the original pretreat and the second is the final grade. Now that’s if they haven’t fallen off or are not legible. You can also visit the Office of Pest Management site at http://tarf.sb.state.az.us/index.php?ckset=ok – they started keeping track in 1990 I think.
Back in the day termiticides like Chlordane could last for 50 years, but in my opinion today I think it is closer to 15 years. Especially when placed under concrete without things that would break down the chemical. The outside of the home or that final grade is another completely different story. If nothing messes it up it might last 7 years but that doesn’t happen very often. Water, rodents, sun and the heat, people installing pipes or wires often disrupt that barrier. It is my opinion that you shouldn’t plant anything under the eaves of the roof line, roots and water may affect the home and you don’t need anything else to worry about.
So keep checking your foundation, clear away rocks or soil from the stucco area – you need to be able to see that foundation. Don’t stack firewood against the home or for that matter any other debris. As always if you need an inspection give ProBest Pest Management a call at 480-831-9328 or 623-414-0176.