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Lesson 5 Types of Termites Learning Levels 4-5 Types of Termites All termite species are categorized into one of three termite types based on their feeding and habitat preferences: 1. Drywood Termites 2. Ground (subterranean) Termites 3. Dampwood Termites We will only be discussing drywood termites and ground termites because they are the types which inhabit and cause damage to human homes. Dampwood termites are rarely found in urban areas and prefer to make their home in damp, rotting wood logs in forested areas. Why Learn About the Types of Termites? 1. All termite species within each group share important characteristics 2. Between the types there are many differences 3. Each type of termite requires different treatment approaches based on whether they live outside or inside the home. All Termites… 1. Are social insects 2. Have different family members with different colony jobs 3. Eat wood along with other plant parts containing cellulose (main component in plant cell walls) 4. Prefer to live in the dark 5. Need water, food and shelter in order to survive Now that we know some things that all termites have in common let’s look at some of the differences between the types of termites… Drywood Termites • Build colonies inside the wood they eat • Small families ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand • Eat less than a pound of wood per year per colony • Keep to small areas such as pieces of furniture, doorways or windowsills • Many drywood termite colonies can live in a house at the same time Drywood Termite Soldier Ground Termites • Build their colonies beneath the wood they eat • Large families having an average of 3-5 million members, and in the right conditions can grow to as large as 10 million • Have healthy appetites and lots of mouth to feed, an average colony can eat 1,000 pounds of wood each year • Colonies can get as long as a football field and as deep as 20 feet into the ground Termite Clues Most of the time we do not see termites…only what they leave behind. Check out the termite clues for both drywood and ground termites, so that you can become a termite detective and stop the mighty munchers before they eat you out of house and home! Drywood Termites Many Veined Wings FRASS Kick-Out Holes Odd-shaped Patterns • FRASS: Sand-like droppings that are pushed out of the drywood termite colony. Frass can appear in many shades of brown and black depending on the color of the wood being eaten. • ODD-SHAPED PATTERNS: Drywood termites like both hard and soft wood. They are non-picky eaters and leave odd-shaped patterns in the wood they eat. • KICK-OUT HOLES: Tiny pin-sized openings made by drywood termites. Drywood Termites use these holes to push their frass out of their colony. • WINGS: Drywood Termite Alate wings have many veins on the top side. Their wings also have a rainbow reflection, similar to the look of oil on water. Ground Termites Single Veined Wings Mud Tunnels Carton Line Patterns • CARTON: Made mainly from waste, soil and saliva. It is left behind in the wood eaten by ground termites. Carton is also built within the colony as a living space because it helps to maintain a moist, warm environment. • LINE PATTERNS: Ground Termites like soft wood only. They are picky eaters and leave line patterns in the wood they eat. • WINGS: Ground Termite Alate wings have only two veins that run side by side along the top of the wing. Their wings are dull colored with no rainbow reflection. • MUD TUNNELS: Protective pathway from a ground termite colony to their aboveground food source. Mud tunnels protect termites from light, heat and wind. Know Your Termite Clues Carefully look at the provided termite damage samples. Practice identifying each sample and to which type of termite it belongs. Put your new termite detective skills to good use around your own home and see if you can uncover any unwanted visitors. Good Luck!
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