What are termites?
Termites are a type of winged insect, whose diet consists of the cellulose found in wood. As they chew through the wood, they leave behind tiny tunnels throughout. You may not notice it right away, or at all, but as these creatures eat through the wood, it begins to crumble. Termites are social insects and live in large colonies containing several million termites, the damage can be catastrophic.
The two most common types of termites in Arizona are subterranean termites and western drywood termites. Subterranean termites can be found in moist environments and thrive on wood that it close to the soil underground, so you’ll often find them in the basement or close to the ground. Drywood termites eat dry wood (hence their name) and are often found in fence posts, dead tree limbs, etc. Subterranean termites enter from below or at ground level and drywood termites enter from above ground.
You can find a list of other common Arizona pests here.
What do termites look like?
Commonly mistaken for carpenter ants and bark beetles, if you suspect a termite infestation, it’s best to call a professional. Not all termites look the same. They can vary by color and length, and some have wings, while others don’t.
We often see subterranean termites in a dark brown color in Arizona. The worker termite doesn’t have wings, whereas the swarmer termites are winged. Their wingspan is about twice as long as their body. Drywood termites in Arizona often have long mandibles with teeth and a body wider than their head. Generally, a swarmer dry wood termite has two sets of wings but sheds one set after swarming.
You can see how it might be confusing for the average homeowner or business owner to determine whether they have a termite problem without the help of an expert.
The most obvious sign of a termite infestation
The most common sign of an infestation is mud tubes. If you see these around your property, it’s a safe bet that you are dealing with termites. These tubes are made by worker termites and come from their saliva being mixed with soil and bits of wood. There are four types of tubes:
- Working tubes: constructed from underground working their way up to the wooden structure
- Migratory tubes: constructed from the underground, but don’t connect to a wooden structure
- Drop tubes: running from the underground nest to the wooden structure, then back to the underground nest
- Swarm tubes: built for the king and queen termites to come out of during the swarming season
If you see a mud tube, do not knock it down.
Call Affordable Pest Control right away so an expert can come to evaluate the situation and remove the tubes by limiting the spread.
When are termites most common?
Termites swarm in the spring, summer, and fall. Swarming season means they are reproducing and if you see them around your home during that part of the year, you can assume that they are near your home at the very least. Even though Affordable Pest Control actively evaluates potential issues when we are performing your routine pest control, you’ll want to ensure that you notify Affordable Pest Control so they can evaluate and eliminate any potential problems.
How to prevent termites in Arizona?
There are plenty of do-it-yourself remedies to deal with termites, but they are often unsuccessful at eliminating an active or threatened termite infestation. Even if they seem to be working from the surface, often times it’s what you cannot see that is the issue. Always seek professional help when it comes to termites because the damage can be quick and significant.
We have some quick tips for how you can prevent termites before they become a problem:
- Clean up any wood that might be around your property
- Seal entryways to your home – windows, screens, doors, etc.
- Ask APC to perform yearly termite inspections for your peace of mind
Being proactive can save you time, money, and stress
Don’t wait for termites to become a major source of frustration for you. If you suspect a termite problem, call us right away and we can mitigate the problem before it gets out of hand. If you know you have an infestation, the sooner you get ahead of it, the better. We have a dedicated, knowledgeable termite team that can help prevent and eliminate termites from your property. We serve the entire east valley of Arizona and we offer same-day and next-day appointments for urgent issues.