How To Tell If Your Phoenix Home Has A Termite Problem

It can be surprisingly difficult to tell if your Phoenix home has termites. Do you know why? Because the termites in Phoenix that do the lion's share of termite damage are subterranean termites. These termites have many characteristics that make them difficult to detect. Would you like to know what they are? Stick with us and find out.

The Termites That Eat Your Home

termites

There are a few different types of termites in a colony. There is, of course, the queen. She lives at the heart of the colony and creates her minions. Another type is the king. He stays by his queen's side and helps with creating offspring. The offspring they create are called workers. All termites start out as workers, even queens and kings. If it becomes necessary for a worker to develop and take on another role, the queen makes this happen. Along with being a queen or a king (which start out as reproductive swarmers) a worker can develop into a soldier. The job of the soldiers is to protect the workers while they work.

In a colony, there are many more workers than soldiers. It is important to understand that the workers are the only termites that feed on the wood of Phoenix homes. When termites develop beyond this stage, they stop chewing and digesting cellulose and start to get their sustenance from the termites that continue to be workers. If you want to understand why it is so difficult to detect termites, you need to know how termite workers behave.

Workers Can Dry Out Easily

If you're hoping to see worker termites and stop them before they damage your Phoenix home, don't hold your breath. They stay almost exclusively inside their tunnels. When you are in your yard, you won't see them crawling around by the thousands in tunnels under the ground. When you're in your home, you won't see them tunneling by the thousands inside the wood of your home. The primary reason is because a worker termite has a thin skin that dries out easily. It needs to stay hydrated or it will die.

One sign that can make a termite infestation obvious is the appearance of mud tubes on exterior foundation walls. Workers make these above-ground tunnels so that they can go from the ground to the wood of your home. If mud tubes are created in a location that is visible, you could detect termite activity this way. Unfortunately, their need for moisture causes them to create shelter tubes in hidden places, such as foundation walls behind landscape vegetation or in the shaded space underneath exterior structures.

Sometimes the damage that worker termites cause to wood is visible. If there is wood-to-soil contact in a damp location, you might see erosion or trenching of wood near the ground. This type of damage will also likely be in hidden places.

Do you see the problem? While mud tubes and damage can be seen, it is often hidden where moisture and humidity are high. These locations tend to be hidden from view both on the outside and inside of your home. If you hope to find these warning signs, you'll probably have to roll up your sleeves and do some work. You may even have to get a little dirty. 

Workers Live In Utter Darkness

While termite workers are born blind, they have the ability to detect light. The receptors they use are highly sensitive so the slightest amount of light will make workers uncomfortable. This is why researchers have observed workers feed on wood without breaching their tunnel walls. They sense the light and stop short of breaching through to the outside. This aversion to light has a few implications.

  • Your home can have millions of workers feeding on it without any visible evidence.

  • Workers are prone to create shelter tubes in dark spaces.

  • Workers are prone to create damage in dark spaces. 

Let's Talk Swarmers

When a termite colony matures, a queen will begin developing workers into reproductive alates. These winged insects are called swarmers because they gather together during the mating process. Swarmers are able to see, and they are attracted to the light. Their attraction to light helps them find their way out of their colony and out of their tunnels. If you see swarmers, it can be a warning sign of a mature nest on or near your property. But termite swarmers can be hard to detect.

  • Swarmers are only ⅜ of an inch long.

  • Swarmers usually exit the colony outside of man-made structures because it is brighter outside than on the interior.

  • Swarms only last for less than 30 minutes.

  • Often it is only the shed wings of termites that provide a warning sign that there was a swarm.

Termite Protection In Phoenix

If you want to detect termites before they harm your property, the best way is to contact Green Pest Control. We offer industry-leading termite detection and protection. Reach out to us today to get termite protection in place for your Phoenix area home.