Termites are social insects that reside in large colonies. There are three types of termites: the reproductive, the workers, and the soldiers. The winged, reproductive termites each have a pair of equally-sized long wings that are attached to the last two thoracic segments. The winged reproductive termites are dark brown to almost black, and measure 3/8-inch long. The soldiers are wingless, with white bodies and rectangular yellow-brown heads that are two times longer than their width. Presence of wings, size and colours are key to termite identification.
Reticulitermes flavipes Kollar
While some species of termites live above ground, most termite colonies are subterranean. They are usually located in the soil, from which the workers build mud tunnels to nearby structural wood, where they then feed. Subterranean termite colonies are always connected to the soil and/or close to a moisture source, as well as near food sources.
A mature queen produces 5,000 to 10,000 eggs per year. A termite queen may live for up to 30 years, and workers as long as five years. There are 45 types of termites active in North America including drywood and dampwood termites.
Subterranean termite colonies are established by winged reproductive termites, which usually appear in the spring. Both the male and female reproductive termites feed on wood, tend to the eggs, and build the initial nest. The presence of swarmers is a telltale sign that a formidable colony is residing in the nearby structure and/or its immediate vicinity.
For effective termite control, it is important to begin with a thorough inspection to determine the extent of the termite infestation before actually figuring out how to treat termites. You should look for the points of entry into the structure, moisture problems, and other contributing factors. The next step is to devise a plan for control. Since termite control is extremely difficult and costly when delayed, it is essential to contact a pest control company for more information on how to treat termite infestations, as well as termite identification.