All posts in “subterranean termites”

Termite failures

Termite failures on structures

What kind of issues cause failures?

Failures include:

  1. Planters next to the foundation.
  2. Stucco below grade of slab.
  3. Any wood to soil.
  4. Tree roots or stumps within the area of foundation.
  5. Improper pretreat to slab.
  6. Buried construction material below slab.
  7. To much water against the slab, drip irrigation and flood irrigation.
  8. After the slab is poured, the bath-trap is disturbed.
  9. People walking on pretreat material before the slab is poured.
  10. Digging up the post treatment, and then forgetting to notify the Termite company.


There are many items that can cause problems when thinking about a structure break and thinking outside the box is helpful. So let’s imagine that you are having issues near a kitchen in the ceiling – the first step is checking outside. See if there are any mud tubes. Then examine inside, blocked by cabinets – its probably coming up within the inside of the foundation. Angle drilling may be necessary. I think it is like detective work, examining the clues and coming up with the treatment options. So good luck and keep at it and you will figure it out.


The Dreaded Termite – the House Eater



5 billion in damages yearly throughout the U.S. with most of that damage occurring on the East Coast. The highest infestation of subterranean termites is really found in the Southeast, including Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. Therefore the highest levels of damage probably occur in those states. Since we build houses right on top of termite colonies, we afford them the options to go straight into our homes. Then to make matters worse we use wood to build those homes and businesses. So what can you do to prevent termites?

  • Don’t allow wood to ground.
  • Don’t overwater, and don’t allow wood to get wet.
  • Keep an eye on areas of penetration of concrete slab, such as bath-traps and plumbing.
  • If you see anything that appears to be dirt on wall in form of tubes call a Pest Management Professional, like ProBest Pest Management 480-831-9328.

OK what do you see?

Well if you guessed Drywood termites pellets, you guessed right? Those little brownish colored things at the bottom of the picture are the fecal remains of wood eaten by Drywood termites. Subterranean termites mix their fecal material with the mud/soil and construct mud tunnels or tubes while Drywood termite fecal pellets are kicked out of their colony. These little pellets have little ridges and are fairly easy to identify. Drywood termites which are located within structures are often tented and just a side-note not usually a very big deal in Arizona but we do have them here. The more water we bring in, such as flood or drip irrigation helps to increase the humidity level and allow these termites to gain a strong-hold here. Even after a fumigation takes place, those pellets will continue to fall out – so the only real way to know that you still have them is by an actual swarm. Just one more thing to keep you from sleeping!

By the way this is generally not a “Do It Yourself” project, unless you are able to remove all the wood. In the case above it was a small shed, which I would just remove and rebuild. Which by the way falls into my model of IPM.


Termites are always looking for food.


Termites are always looking for food and guess what, that could be your home. What do you look for:

  1. Mud tubes.
  2. Look at your foundation, check at your ceiling for down tubes or just dirt.
  3. Look for damage to baseboard.
  4. As always if your not sure call a Professional.

Boy o boy when it rains in Arizona, it really rains.







This was just a shot of a parking lot of a church which couldn’t handle all that rain. All this rains triggers the subterranean termites to become a little more active, so what signs should you be looking for?

  1. Mud tube or tunnels on the foundation stem wall of your home.
  2. Small pin sized holes with dirt/mud around the opening and maybe the presence of little white or maybe black swarmers.
  3. Mud tube or tunnel inside the home.
  4. Sometimes and not very often in Arizona, swarmers.

Termite facts from NPMA – Termite Awareness Week

Termite Facts

  •       Termites are wood-destroying insects whose presence dates back to the dinosaurs.
  •        Termites are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected.
  •       There are about 2,000 known species of termites in the world.
  •       The most common termite species found in the United States are subterranean termites, Formosan termites, dampwood termites, drywood termites.
  •        Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species of termite as they eat 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  •        Each year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage.
  •    Termite colonies can have upwards of 2 million members.
  •        Termites are present in 70 percent of countries across the world and their population outnumbers human beings on a ratio of ten to one.
  •         The queen termite can lay up to 40,000 eggs per day.

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WOW, what’s up with all the rain?



I visit a website and it is amazing at what you can find. Notice this little rainfall day we had in Arizona on November 22, 2013 – notice 2.70 inches at the 101 and Thunderbird Road area. Click on the map and see if you can find this area.


Termites and bugs in general all need water, but termites in Arizona become active after rainfall activity. The other reason for sharing this information is that this website is good for every area in the U.S. Another reason to use this site, is after a treatment for scorpions and you can judge effectiveness of the pesticide you are using.

Is this termites?


I often get calls that start out by saying I know I have termites and I need to have someone come out to give me an estimate. Mud Daubers are wasps nd they use mud to construct nest in which they house the next generation of solitary wasps. Mud Daubers rarely sting and do not defend their mud shelter, they may fly at you but it is not a defense.

What’s eating your house?


probestpestmanagement2013-03-119514.36.34     probestpestmanagement2013-03-119514.37.15      probestpestmanagement2013-03-119514.37.10

There are so many things that can cause you to have those sleepness nights, so worring about what’s eating your home shouldn’t have to be one of those things. So whose got your back? Well,  ProBest Pest Management if you have one of our warranties. The pictures above are just one more reason why wood shouldn’t touch the soil and you should be able to clearly see the foundation slab.

Subterranean termites (western) – live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas aboveground that can contain up to 250,000 members. They build distinctive “mud tubes” to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air.

Wood Rot – A wood-decay fungus is a variety of fungus that digests moist wood, causing it to rot. Some wood-decay fungi attack dead wood, such as brown rot -is a dry crumbly condition sometimes incorrectly referred to as dry rot in general. The term brown rot replaced the general use of the term dry rot, as wood must be damp to decay, although it may become dry later.

Powderpost Beetles – The term “powderpost” comes from the fact that the larvae of these beetles feed on wood and, given enough time, can reduce it to a mass of fine powder. Powderpost beetles spend months or years inside the wood in the larval stage. Items that can be infested by powderpost beetles include wooden artifacts, frames, furniture, tool handles, gun stocks, books, toys, bamboo, flooring, and structural timbers. If an item is brought into a home this beetle could reinfest the entire structure.

Drywood termites are social insects that live in colonies in sound, dry wood. Each colony consists of offspring from an original pair and cut across the grain while subterranean termites usually go with the grain.



What has smooth galleries and small pellets?

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What has smooth galleries and small 6 sided pellets?

Drywood termites do and yes I found them under a crawlspace in downtown Mesa, Arizona.


Drywood termites are social insects that live in colonies in sound, dry wood. Each colony consists of offspring from an original pair (male and female). There are three growth stages – eggs, immatures and adults. Drywood termites are larger than local, southwestern subterranean species. Drywood termites tend to cut across wood grain destroying both the soft spring wood and the harder summer growth. Subterranean termites typically follow the grain of the wood, feeding primarily on the soft spring wood. Since they don’t live in the soil you must either get rid of the wood, if possible or fumigate. Some liquid treatments may work as long as the wood has not been painted or varnarished.

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