Termites, as a group, are the major wood destroying pest here in Las Vegas and all of Nevada. There is more time, effort, and money spent on preventing and controlling them than all other wood destroying pest combined. The Subterranean Termite is also one of the most spread out and destructive species in North America. This why Termite Control in Las Vegas is so important and why Termite Inspections and prevention methods are so important.
There are different species of Termites in Nevada while some are native to specific areas like southern and northern Nevada, others are found statewide. The life cycles, damage, and appearance of each of the species are so similar that they really can’t be identified unless you know what you are looking for. Each species has different characteristics between individuals in their colony yet they are almost impossible to distinguish between species. In other words, for practical purposes, this article will refer to them as Subterranean Termites.
With Termites in Las Vegas, NV there are basically three cases which make up a subterranean termite colony. The three castes are Reproductives, Workers, Soldiers/Nymphs. The Reproductives are categorized in two different ways. Primary and Supplementary Reproductives. The first is the Winged adult which is the Primary Reproductive. It is also known as an “Alate”. It is more of a dark brown color and has Brownish Gray wings. The body length is about 1/3” with its wings. The Supplementary termite is white in color, about 1/5” long and is without wings however they do have some wing pads.
- The Queen termite is a Primary Reproductive who has lost her wings and she usually has a bigger or enlarged abdomen.
- The King Termite is also a Primary Reproductive with no wings but does have Wing pads. The King termite does not have an enlarged abdomen.
- The worker/Soldier Termites are white in color, they lack both wings and wing pads, and these termites are bigger at about 1/2” long. The worker/soldier termites have a narrow thorax that’s smaller than its head and abdomen. There is a difference between a soldier and a worker. One is that the soldier has an elongated head which is yellowish in color. Also, it has larger mandibles/jaws than the worker. Both the worker and the soldier are blind.
Winged Primary reproductive termites are sometimes confused for winged ants, also know as flying ants. There are distinct differences when it comes to determining if the bug you are looking at is a Termite or a Flying ant. Red Rock Pest controls exterminators here in Las Vegas are highly trained to determine what species is invading your home. See this diagram below to determine if you are dealing with an ant or a Termite in Las Vegas.
LIFE CYCLE OF A TERMITE
The life cycle of a termite varies from species to species. At certain times o the year Primary Reproductives will emerge and it is usually in the warmer times of the year. They will emerge primarily in spring and fall, also after favorable conditions are present such as adequate moisture. In Las Vegas the Primary Reproductives will emerge from tiny exit holes in the soil. After they emerge they will perform a short flight where they will drop to the ground. They then lose their wings. Most people mistake them for flying ants during this stage. Not all of these Alate will fly. Some of them will actually run across the ground for awhile and then lose their wings. After this males and females will pair up and being to mate and to attempt to start a colony. The male and female will feed and groom eachaother and after only 1 day will copulate.
The growth of the colony is slow at the beginning. Not very many eggs are laid in the first year after the colony begins. Not only that but it takes about 50 days for a egg to incubate and hatch. The growth of the colony is complicated and generally has to be in prime conditions for males and females to be formed inside the termite colony. Las Vegas Pest control companies know this and this is why IPM or integrated pest management is introduced. Breaking one life cycle such as moisture can create a huge problem in the colony which can stop production all together.
During colony development 7 instars can be obtained but again, ideal conditions must be sustained. this can take up to 4 years to accomplish. The first and second instars of the nympth take between 14-18 days each. The third instar requires 1 month with the fourth instar taking 2 months. The longest install is the 5th. This can take up to 2 years and takes a large amount of feeding. Supplementary Reproductives will also add to the numbers and helping to grow the colony.
A full size colony can range anywhere from 5,000 termites all the way up to 500,000 termites. The King and King will live together throughout their lifespan. The Queen will live longer than the worker which only live between 3 and 5 years.
THE HABITAT OF TERMITES
Termites for the most part are ground-dwelling organisms. They live in chambers and tunnels that they create under ground. They survive by living in or around soil that is higher in moisture. In some instances they can live outside the soil but food supplies, moisture, and temperature must be perfect for this to happen. Soil acts as a safety barrier against the harsh surface conditions such as low moisture levels her in Las Vegas, NV and also the high temperatures we experience here. Las Vegas pest control companies can work in temperatures as high as 115 degrees. This is not good for Termites here in Las Vegas and the surrounding Henderson and North Las Vegas areas. Termites will range in depth depending on surface soil temperatures which is why Pest Control services in Las Vegas use different methods to treat and pre-treat termites. Red Rock Pest Control always recommends a yearly termite inspection which can prevent a termite infestation.