Pacific Dampwood Termite

Cornfield Ant

Pacific Dampwood Termite, bugguide.net

Identification

The Pacific dampwood termite has three castes (types): workers, soldiers and reproductives. The worker termite is white with a brownish abdomen, about 20 mm long, wingless and has a round head. The soldier termite is wingless, about 20 mm long, has a reddish-brown body, and has a large head with long, black mandibles. The reproductive termite is 25 mm long, has wings (which break off after swarming), and is reddish-brown colour. The termite abdomen is broadly joined to the middle section, unlike the ant which has a very narrow join. The Pacific dampwood termite leaves large oval fecal pellets in the nest, whereas the Western subterranean termite does not.

Behaviour

Pacific dampwood termites colonize in moist and decaying wood in contact with the soil. The termite will chew and digest wood (with the help of special digestive bacteria) and create tunnels, or galleries, in the decaying wood. Termite colonies can have up to 4,000 termites. To spread their colony, termites swarm in late summer and piles of discarded wings can be seen on the ground during this time. Termite damage in the home can be extensive, often unnoticed by home owners. The presence swarms of termites inside the home, damaged wood with holes, and hollow sounding wood when tapped are indicators of possible termite infestation.

Prevention

Since the Pacific dampwood termite requires damp and decaying wood in which to live, it is important to reduce moisture in wood and to remove or replace damaged and rotting wood inside and outside the home. Ensure that there is a clearance of at least 15 cm between the soil and the wood siding around the exterior of the structure, and generally eliminate all contact between soil and wood. Use treated lumber where contact with the soil is unavoidable. Fill in cracks in the foundation and regularly inspect perimeter of home for signs of insect damage.

Control

Termite control requires a comprehensive and integrated approach. Consult a pest control professional to arrange for an estimate.