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Control of termites is traditionally achieved by installing a protective chemical barrier between the colony and the home. Newer techniques involve baits and liquids which are designed to eliminate the colony. Other techniques involve treating the wood. A treatment today will more than likely integrate multiple techniques, depending on each situation. With TERMIDOR many problems associated with incomplete control are no longer a problem.
These pests reach a food source such as your home, by building tubes of soil and frass, to connect their colony to the food supply. The colony is located in the ground and once wood is found, they will automatically return to the same location, again and again. "Subs" are often noticed by homeowners when the reproductive termites swarm and emerge into the living space of the home. The remainder of the time the workers go unnoticed, chewing away on the interior of the walls. It takes a carefully trained professional to find evidence of subterranean termite activity.
TERMITE PROBABILITY MAP
Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites do not need to have contact with the soil. They nest inside the wood making elimination more difficult. If the colony cannot be located, complete house fumigation may be the only treatment. Drywood Termites can be brought in firewood from our neighboring forest regions where they are common. They have been found in desert homes, probably due to firewood or untreated lumber being delivered there. Once a colony is established, it is just a matter of time before they swarm and find a neighboring home to infest.
If these termites are discovered before they spread too far from the original infestation site, more options are available for treatment. Treating the wood in place can be accomplished if the colony can be isolated. This may mean partially removing siding or interior walls to expose the damaged area. This may sound extreme, but is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of fumigating your home. Early detection can mean saving big bucks as these termites have a healthy appetite.
Much like Drywood Termites, these guys live in wood. They do not actually eat the wood but tunnel through it just like most ants tunnel through earth. We find carpenter ants in much of the same places as Drywood Termites and for the same reasons. We have also discovered Desert Carpenter Ants which are native to the desert areas, but these do not seem to be a significant economical problem. Until recently control of carpenter ants has been difficult. TERMIDOR, which is labeled especially for carpenter ants has made this task much easier and less costly. We have had good success in the Las Cruces and Silver City areas.
Carpenter Bees are not usually considered structural pests, as they prefer Yucca poles most often. However, vegas that extend through to the exterior of a stucco style home are quite vulnerable. Also porches, overhangs, barns and especially untreated pine lumber seems to be frequent targets of this pest. Carpenter Bees do not eat wood, they excavate tunnels in order to lay eggs. Not much damage is done by one queen bee laying her eggs, but she and her offspring will return year after year. I have seen considerable damage in one case, where rafter tails and porch roof supports were almost gone. Typically, painting or treating the wood with a wood preservative and/or repellent chemical works to discourage them.
There are dozens of species, mostly of the order Coleoptera (beetles). In some cases the grub does the damage and in others the adult beetle is responsible. They attack stressed and standing trees, fallen trees, furniture, lumber, barns and sometimes homes. They can be seen emerging from firewood in your home as an adult beetle in the dead of winter. The Red-Headed Ash Borer and the Locust Borer are often mistaken for wasps because of their colorful markings. But when I get a call for wasps in January I automatically ask about firewood. Most often, wood borers will not attack treated or painted wood, but some species will not be discouraged by paint or varnish. Treatments for these insects almost always involves treating the wood or injecting galleries.
Horntails are also known as sawflies and are not considered structural pests. They typically infest standing but stressed trees. They can however be brought into a home in firewood or untreated lumber. If treatment becomes necessary, injecting suspected galleries with a pressured insecticide works well.
See Wood Destroying Insect Report for details on conducive conditions and the scope of our inspections.