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Eastern Subterranean Termites

02/29/2016

By Ralph H Maestre BCE

Eastern Subterranean Termites (Reticulitermes flavipes) is the most common termite found in North America. These termites are the most economically important wood destroying insects in the United States. They feed on cellulose material such as the structural wood in buildings, wooden fixtures, paper, books and cotton.

There are four different "castes" of a termite colony: workers which are approximately 1/4-inch long, light-colored and wingless; soldiers which have elongated heads with mandibles; supplementary reproductives are light-colored and wingless or have very short, nonfunctional wings, and the primary reproductive caste made of the queen and king, sometimes multiple kings. All termites hatch from eggs and start off as young ones known as nymphs. These nymphs will change into the different caste members depending on the needs of the colony.

termite eggs, nyc exterminating

The above picture shows the white eggs, nymphs, workers, and one soldier caste members

A mature colony can range from 20,000 workers to as high as 5 million workers. The colony's queen may add 5,000 to 10,000 eggs per year to the total. Colony growth is slow, and it may take four to 10 years before reproductives, also known as swarmers, are produced. A special caste of supplementary reproductives assist the queen in egg laying helping to speed up the growth of the colony. The king and queen in a colony can live for many years, while workers only live for about two years.

Alate termite

A primary reproductive caste member with wings is known as an Alate

starting a new colony of termites

Once they lose their wings they are known as de-alates and start a new colony as the primary reproductive king and queen.

Termite Queen

Termite Queen with extended abdomen filled with eggs

Along with Reticulitermes virginica, R. flavipes is responsible for 80% of the $2.2 billion spent annually in the United States on termite control. An average colony can consume five grams of wood per day, which is the equivalent of 2 feet of a 2x4-foot pine board annually. Colonies are largely located in the ground below the frost line. Secondary colonies, sometimes known as aerial colonies, can exist above ground. Above ground colonies must have access to a moisture source, such as a roof or plumbing leak. Eastern Subterranean termites will often build shelter tubes for travel between their colonies and their food sources. This is to regulate the moisture levels and for protection within the colony. Termite Treatment

We at Magic Pest Management LLC perform both conventional in-ground liquid treatment and a termite baiting system. Liquid treatments are very effective, but have limitations due to application regulations. Magic Pest Management technicians are trained to keep up with the latest changes in the regulations and follow all label directions.

An alternative to a liquid treatment is the Dow AgroSciences LLC's Sentricon® Always Active Termite Colony Baiting Elimination System.

The Sentricon® Always Active System is sold only through pest management firms that have been authorized and trained by Dow AgroSciences. This termite bait was the first to be commercially introduced into the United States and has been marketed since 1995. It is labeled to be used as the sole measure to achieve termite control, without a supplementary soil treatment. Every station is baited all of the time and monitored to maintain optimal performance in protecting your property. Magic Pest Management has used it around private residential homes, commercial establishments, warehouse, and other structures where permitted by the label. Magic has eliminated thousand of termite colonies over the last 19 years using this product throughout Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Nassau County.

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