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What Are the Different Types of Termites in Canada?
The most common species of termites in Canada include:
- The Eastern subterranean termite (Reticulitermes flavipes)
- The Western subterranean termite (Reticulitermes hesperus)
- The pacific dampwood termite (Zootermopsis angusticollis)
Subterranean termites can inflict damage to homes, whereas dampwood termites target moist, rotting wood. The sudden presence of dampwood termites typically indicates a moisture problem.
How To Identify Termites
Termite colonies have three main social castes: Workers, soldiers, and reproductive. Each termite can differ in appearance, depending on its caste. Subterranean termites produce smaller workers at 6 mm, while dampwood termite workers can measure up to 20 mm.
Many termite soldiers have large mandibles, and reproductives have two pairs of wings. Termites of each caste have three body parts: A head, thorax, and abdomen.
Most people confuse termites for ants, as they look similar. You can differentiate the two by looking at the following:
- Termites have straight antennae, while ant antennae are slightly bent.
- The wings on a termite are of equal length, whereas an ant has front wings that are longer than the back.
- A termite’s waist is broader and uniform to the rest of its body, while ants have a narrower waist.
What Are the Signs of Termites?
Termites consistently leave behind evidence of their presence. You may notice mud tubes along walls, fences, and steps near your home. Termites dig these tubes to help them travel between their colony and potential food sources.
Dry and moist mud lines are the most common indicator of a termite infestation, especially in basements, sheds, or garages.
Most homeowners notice spotted, striped, discoloured, or warped wood in or near their living space, indicating that there are termites below the surface. Knocking on wood and hearing a hollow sound is a telltale sign of termite damage.
How To Prevent Termites
Reducing the moisture levels in your home or building can make it a less-than-desirable place for termites to thrive. Fix leaking plumbing and ensure all drainage flows away from your home or building. Ensure that you store lumber or firewood in a dry place away from structures.
How To Remove Termites
Pest control professionals are necessary for termite removal. In most cases, the application of termiticides on or in the soil is needed to prevent further infestations. Industry professionals have the knowledge, training, and certifications for termiticide application.
Where Do Termites Live?
To avoid drying out, termites live in warm, humid environments. These insects thrive in tropical/subtropical regions. In the colder parts of Canada, subterranean termites nest below the frost line and make their way into warmer structures, such as homes or businesses.
What Do Termites Eat?
Termites derive nutrients found in cellulose. These pests often consume live/dead wood, twigs, grass, roots, plant litter, paper, cardboard, cotton, and plant materials.
How long Do Termites Live?
Swarming reproductive termites leave their colony to procreate and initiate new colonies. Once mating has been successful, they land and shed their wings. Termite pairs become the king and queen of their new colony, where they are responsible for colony reproduction.
When a queen hatches her eggs as larvae, they grow and molt. Eventually, they’ll become one of three castes in the colony. The typical lifespan of workers and soldiers is up to two years, while queen termites can live for up to ten years.
Commonly Asked Questions
Why Do I Have Termites?
Termites prefer to live in warm, humid environments. They can find their way into heated homes or businesses through damp, rotting wood.
Should I Be Worried About Termites?
While termites play a role in the ecosystem by recycling wood, replenishing the soil with essential nutrients, and facilitating decomposition, they can cause significant damage to homes and other structures. Termites are capable of eating and excavating through wooden floors, window frames, doors, panelling, furniture, and other structural components. Colonies can eat up to half a kilogram of wood every day. A serious termite infestation requires the help of professional pest control experts.