Desert Dampwood Termites

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Paraneotermes simplicicornis

APPEARANCE

The swarmers, or winged reproductives, kings and queens of this species are dark brown; soldiers are brown or yellowish in color; and nymphs have spotted abdomens. Probably the best way to determine the presence of these termites, as well as other species of dampwood termites, is the appearance of the infested wood. Tunnels that have very smooth walls – looking almost like they have been smoothed out by a woodworker using sandpaper, connect chambers within the infested wood.

BEHAVIOR, DIET & HABITS

The nymphs are the caretakers of the colony and feed the kings, queens and the soldiers. This desert termite prefers to eat damp wood that is below ground, but will also consume shrub or tree roots, fence posts and doorframes. Desert dampwood termites also damage living trees by feeding on and girdling them below the ground surface.

Paraneotermes simplicicornis causes significantly less economic damage than subterranean termites and other dampwood termite species. Desert dampwood termites seldom infest homes, but when they do, they are likely to be found in wet wood that is kept damp by water leaks or excessive moisture from standing water. Therefore, the presence of this termite often indicates moisture and wood decay within the home. For this reason, it is very important to make sure that gutters and downspouts work properly to drain rainwater away from the house.

REPRODUCTION

The colony’s winged reproductive adults swarm during late May through September and, after mating, start a new colony.

SIGNS OF AN INFESTATION

Common signs of a dampwood termite infestation include the presence of fecal pellets, dead swarmers, and soft spots in wood that is infested.

DISTRIBUTION

Desert dampwood termites prefer the arid and semi-arid regions of the southwestern states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and southern California.

OTHER INFORMATION

Dampwood termite control may be labor intensive and exacting. Always contact your pest management professional to identify if you have a termite problem and, if so, which termite species has invaded your property. If you need termite control, your pest management professional (PMP) will recommend the products, methods and techniques that will be most effective and efficient for your home.

In addition, your pest management professional will suggest that your termite control program also include an annual termite inspection. One of the most important aspects of dampwood termite control is locating the moist wood that supports the colony and eliminating that source. Doing this requires a comprehensive inspection by an experienced PMP who is familiar with the habits and habitats of this termite species.

Termite Control

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