In the Okanagan Valley where termites are active and widespread, it is essential to maintain an effective termite prevention and control program. If you own a home in Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton or the surrounding areas, talk to your termite control expert, The Bugman. We can recommend methods to help protect your home from termite infestation and damage.
It's that time of year when all of nature is awakening and giving birth to new life. It's no different in the insect world. Winged termites (called swarmers or technically alates ) will be emerging from their colonies throughout the Okanagan to fly up in to the atmosphere for their annual mating flights.
Problems start when they are in our homes, and often the only indicator is the presence of these organisms often misdiagnosed as "flying ants". Ants and termites have considerably different habits and biology and generally don't co-exist well. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is their body shapes. Ants have three fairly distinct body segments that narrow at the waist and have noticeably bent antenae. Termites have a straight shape with two segments that often appear as one long slim body. If you look closely termite antenae are short and straight. The other difference is the wings. On a flying ant, the front set of wings is longer than the back set of wings. Alate termites have two sets of wings of equal length, often observed folded over their back extending beyond their body length. The flying stage of termites can range in size from 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch. While worker termites are usually light in color, flying termites are very dark or black. This pigmentation is necessary to protect the alates from harmful UV light rays and makes it possible for them to leave the nest and fly up into the atmosphere to mate.
Once the mating is completed in mid-air, the gravid females flutter back to the ground and start a new colony. Female termites lay eggs at an amazing rate and soon there is a fully functional colony which will include soldiers for defense against ants and other insect enemies. The largest numbers are workers that perform many specialized functions including: caring and rearing of young termites, feeding and watering other termites, and building shelter tubes (called mud or sand tubes).
Western subterranean termites require soil contact for moisture and access to their main nests which are always underground—hence the name western subterranean termites. Colonies are often located in buried logs or dead tree roots and they frequently attack wooden building materials that offer food and protection from the sometimes brutal heat and dryness of the day. This is why termites construct sand tubes, to gain sheltered access to cellulose materials, often wood in our homes, that they need to feed on. This is why the mere mention of the word termite can strike fear into the heart of any homeowner in the Okanagan.
If you see evidence of termites, call The Bugman right away to prevent further damage to the wood in your home. We offer 24/7 emergency service for termite extermination.