Termites FAQ

Q: What are the common signs of termites?

A: This depends on the type of termites that are present. The most common are the Subterranean Termites that create “mud tubes” typically seen below the exterior stucco of the house or structure. They can also commonly be seen along garage expansion joints, interior baseboards, plumbing, and other fixtures.

Drywood termites on the other hand do not create “mud tubes” and do not need the amount of moisture that Subterranean Termites do. They establish their colonies within the wood itself. In order to create more room, digested wood is “kicked out” of the gallery in the form of six-sided fecal pellets called frass, which resembles sand or sawdust. Discarded wings may also indicate a Drywood termite infestation.

Dampwood Termites are less common than the other two types of termites previously mentioned, but they still pose a problem in the Southwestern States. Needing more moisture to survive, they feed and colonize in rotten and decaying wood in your homes that are near some type of leak or source of moisture; whether it be from rainwater or a leaky pipe. The termite galleries are smooth in texture and go along with the grain of the wood.

Q: How do I identify a Termite?

A: There are 3 main castes to a termite colony, the alates, workers, and soldiers. Alates, often called swarmers, are the reproductive caste that range from ¼” to ½” in size. The color can vary from a tan to dark brown. They possess 2 pairs of equally sized wings during their brief flight that are shed once the swarming has been completed. The workers are wingless, tan/cream in color, slightly smaller than the alates. The soldiers resemble the workers in size and color, however their heads are yellowish brown with large protruding black mandibles. There are 3 main types of termites in the Southwestern States. This includes, Subterranean, Drywood, and Dampwood Termites. Please refer to their individual pages for further information on how to identify a termite.

Q: How do termites travel?

A: The most common travel method for termites is through the soil. An infestation can usually be traced to a live new colony established by a king and queen outside of the structure itself. The termites then can squeeze through cracks in the slab, expansion joints, around plumbing, brick voids, and other gaps as small as 1/32″ on the structure. Another way termites may travel to start a new colony is with swarming. The reproductive alates will take flight and flutter aimlessly until they land, at which point will try and secure a new home for a colony.

Q: Can Termites move through concrete?

A: Termites cannot travel or burrow through solid concrete, however they can squeeze through cracks or gaps as small as 1/32″. This usually means concrete sections that were poured separately, plumbing pipes, expansion joints, etc. If you own a block home; please refer to our Block Home Blog for more information about pest infestation and control through concrete.

Q: Are termites blind?

A: Workers and soldiers among most termite species are blind since they do not possess eyes. However the swarming reproductive alates do have eyes as well as lateral ocelli and do have sight.

Q: How much damage do termites do?

A: Since termites eat non-stop, 24 hours a day, it is estimated that they cause approximately $5 billion in damages a year to U.S. residents. Over 4 million homes this year will be at risk for infestation.

Q: What is the life span of a termite?

A: Very short with Desert Termites on the job! However in an unhindered location a subterranean queen may live anywhere from 30 to 50 years depending on the specific species of termite. Drywood queens may only live 10 to 12 years. The workers and soldiers however live much shorter lives, typically up to a year or two.

Q: Do termites fly?

A: Only the reproductive alates “fly”. It essentially is more of a flutter than flight, indicating that a mature colony has grown to capacity and now has sent the reproductive termites out to start a new colony elsewhere. Once the swarming is over and the alates have landed, they shed their wings never to fly again.

Q: What is the busiest season for Termite activity?

A: Termite colonies remain active and forage for food year round. Although the activity increases during the warmer climate, there is no specific termite season in Arizona. However termite swarms maybe observed after rainfall during warm weather such as the monsoon season or during spring.

Q: How did termites enter my home?

A: Termites most commonly travel through the soil and may have entered your home through cracks in the slab, expansion joints, around plumbing, brick voids, and other gaps as small as 1/32″ on your home. They may also have entered through their “mud tubes” from the exterior, traveling up behind the stucco of your home.

Q: My neighbors were treated for termites – should I be worried?

A: Termites commonly travel underground from a live colony and forage year round for food. Most commonly an infestation started from a colony or multiple colonies near by. The best recommendation would be to contact Desert Termites for a free termite inspection of your home. We’ll be able to detect any signs or damage termites may have caused and let you know of our findings!

Q: Do you really need to drill for a termite treatment?

A: The best way to protect your home is to create a continuous termiticide barrier around the exterior parameter of your home. The areas without concrete can be trenched and filled with termiticide. However concrete slabs that are adjacent to the foundation must be drilled in order to maintain that continuous protective barrier. Exceptions to this are the post tension slabs that restrict drilling for safety purposes, which means only trenching is necessary. Please Refer to our Termite Treatments  for further information.

Q: Are the chemicals safe that you use?

A: Yes, we only use Termidor for our termite treatments. It is the safest termite control product on the market. The main active ingredient is Fipronil, which is actually used in some spray on flea products for pets. After the termidor is diluted, there would be less active ingredient than in some of those products. Also since we follow the label and apply as directed, you can rest easy knowing that children, and family members are out of harms way; and of course, all our chemicals are certified for pet safe pest control.

Q: How long after a treatment does it take to eliminate an entire infestation?

A: It can take up to 90 days depending on the severity of an infestation. We use genuine Termidor for all of our liquid barrier treatments. Termidor is a slow acting non-repellant termiticide that uses the “transfer effect”. This means the termites that travel through the barrier are unknowingly carrying the Termidor back to the colony, eventually eradicating the entire population.

Q: How can I protect my house from Termites?

A: It is a bit difficult to protect your home without a liquid barrier of termiticide around your home or bait stations. However you can make conditions less appealing to termites. This includes: repairing leaks immediately once observed, reducing or eliminating excessive moisture around the foundation i.e. plants/ foliage near exterior walls, moving wood/ cellulose debris away from home, and much more. If you own a Block Home, your home can be susceptible to termite infestations.

Q: How common are Termites in Arizona?

A: Extremely common! In the greater phoenix area, there is estimated to be 3-5 termite colonies per acre of land. As you move toward the outskirts and beyond the cities the numbers almost triples! In Arizona there is a saying; “There are homes that have termites and homes that will have them”; so Contact Us for your FREE Pest Control Consultation!