Signs & Types of Termites Phoenix & Mesa Arizona Metro

Subterranean Termites - USDA ARS Photo Unit, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

Subterranean Termites – USDA ARS Photo Unit, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

Wonder what Termites Look like?  These tiny white insects can cause considerable damage to the structure of your home as they eat away at the supportive wood frame.

Types of Termites

  • Subterranean Termites
  • Desert Termites
  • Drywood Termites

Subterranean Termites

Most termites, found in our Arizona Desert, are Subterranean Termites that live in vast colonies as deep as 50 feet underground. Subterranean Termites come up in search of cellulose, in the wood products of your home, to feed on. Our native species is Heterotermes. These native subterranean Termites flourish in our dry desert. They usually swarm during Monsoon season, and after heavy rains. This species build “Mud Tubes” that are small, strong, and air tight! Subterranean Termites like to nest in areas with more moisture, and under concrete foundations. Because these Termites are so small,  they can invade homes through very small cracks in concrete and expansion joints!  Homeowners often call us when they discover mud tubes going up a foundation, poking through a wall, or when they see flying termites “swarming”  around their home.

Signs of Subterranean Termite Infestation

  • Termite Swarmers are black in color
  • Mud tubes going up foundation or walls
  • Visibly damaged wood

Conducive Conditions for Subterranean Termites

  1. Moisture
  2. Direct wood to soil contact
  3. Faulty grade
  4. No Termite pre-treat before construction

Desert Termites

In the Arizona desert, we have the “Desert Termite” (Gnathamitermes & Wheeler Termites).  This type of Termite is doesn’t usually invade homes and cause damage.  “Desert Termites” mostly feed on wood, and PLANTS outside.  After a good rain or watering, “Desert Termites” build “mud tubes” that can completely cover dead plants or wood products.  Desert Termites also leave sheets of mud on Palm Trees, Cactus, and pieces of wood touching the ground.

Drywood Termites

Light Western Drywood Termites can be found in the Sonora Desert BELOW 4000 ft elevation.  Drywood Termites live INSIDE the wood they infest, and are rarely seen. These Termites are not as common in the Phoenix Arizona valley, but are an occasional problem.

Signs Of Drywood Termties

  1. Drywood termites expel piles of fecal pellets from nests out of tiny holes. (After you’ve cleaned the fecal pellets away, the straw colored pellets will build up again.)
  2. Swarmers are red
  3. Small holes, about 1mm in diameter
  4. Piles of small wings
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By Juliea Huffaker