Yesterday I had privilege to talk to that intellegent pest expert, Dovid Davis, a Baltimore pest control specialist. Dovid and I had never talked about termites, so I asked him to tell me about them. And, I was glad I did, because this proved to be the most fascinating discussion I have had with Dovid.
David said that we were gernerally going to talk about subterranean termites. They naturally dwell in the soil, like earthworms, and they feast on cellular and wood byproducts such as paper. Dovid told me there are basically three stages of the termite life cycle, which are identified. One of these is the nymph stage. As a nymph, termites look alot like a maggot, meaning a tiny white worm perhaps a fifth of an inch or even smaller in size. They live in colonies. The heart of the colony is the queen, whose unique purpose is to create the workers; and, there can be loads of them in a colony. They are all her children, and while they work, she just creates babies. The workers, in turn, feed their queen, and they all eat together, below the surface.
Here, Dovid told me an amazing fact about termites, if termite workers are placed in open air they die within 20-30 seconds. They can’t be exposed to the open air. A humidity level of 15-18% will dry them out. This fact reminds me somewhat of man’s life on the moon.
So the workers live inside these termite tunnels. When the queen wishes to enlarge her colony, she will then produce another type of termite termed a swarmer, which is a flying termite protected by exoskeleton. This outside shell permits this termite to survive above ground.
According to Dovid, the swarmers will generally be present in the middle of March and April. They’re birth is triggered by warm weather. There can be up to 5-10 thousand in one swarm. swarmers do not eat wood. Their sole purpose is to fly around, choose a mate, (the swarmers come in male and female.), and locate another underground area where they can develop a new colony. And all of this must occur in less than 20 hours, which is the average life span of the swarmer. And that, Dovid said, ends the description of the life cycle of the swarmer.
Now Dovid provided some more incredible information about the underground insect. Should they want to expand their colony without using swarmers, they have to create additional termite tunnels. To do this, they use a bit of the soil, and a bit of their waste, and they make a tunnel from point A to point
B. Now here’s the astounding fact. When you go into someone’s basement, and see mud tunnels running up and down the walls, these tunnels are termite turnpikes for the termites going from the soil up to a wooden beam, and back down the wall again. Like vampires, they must return to the soil every 24 hours or they will perish. And this activitycvg goes on continually 24 hours a day.
Now if you open a hole in the tunnel to examine it, workers will immediately begin to either repair the tunnel or shut it off. They will shut off the hole of the tunnel and then build an additional tunnel connected to it. They will make use of these tunnels to go along cinderblock walls, up through thecenter of the brick or even around it. The tunnels may rise even 10 feet from the floor, allowing the termites to feast on roof studs, while enlarging the tunnel as they go.
Amazingly, the termites can live like this for 60-90 days or for 10 years. While we think of termites as lowly creatures, their lifestyle is not unlike the life man will have when he colonizes the Moon or Mars, and have to live in airtight bubbles to survive.
Then Dovid got to the heart the conversation. Now that we know their lifestyle, how does a pest specialist kill the termites. Dovid told me there are two phases. First the pest specialist has to block termites from entering the house from the outside soil, and he has to kill the ones that have already penetrated the house.
While treatment for termite extermination varies, the most common technique is to go on the outside of the house around the grounds, this is stage one. What Dovid does is to dig a 6-8 inch deep trench and put in a long rod into the soil so that it penetrates down to the footers, and inject with a termiticide. This will kill the termites who are seeking to get in. As they come in contact with the termiticide, it will kill them. Internal walls are treated by drilling into whatever substrate, the wall is made of and injecting with a termiticide.
According to Dovid, the efficacy of the treatment will range anywhere from 5-10 years if left undisturbed. However, if there is an gap in the chemical barrier or if you miss a spot of as little as 6 inches because of piping or a tree stump, if there is a gap of even one inch, termites will locate it and enter the home. So an average home uses between 75 gallons and 125 gallons of termiticide for a single treatment.
Dovid left me with one more amazing fact. The new generation of termiticides is singular among insecticides. Whereas the old generation termiticides were repellants, with a smell that drove the termites away, the new generation are attack viruses, which specifically target termites. When the termite crawls through the spray he will pick up the infection and then bring it back to the queen. It takes 2-3 three weeks to knock out a colony. And the virus doesn’t attack humans.
Well, that wraps up another episode of Day in the Life of Dovid Davis Pest Specialist, and I wish you all a pest free day!
Article Source httpwww.adjustable-bed-center.comadb
Termites, those inveterate insect wood choppers, live an amazing mostly subterrenean lifestyle that at times can be likened to man living on the moon where he would be confined to living in plastic air containing bubbles.