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Termites Can Reveal How Our Ancestors Migrated Across Earth

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:58 pm December 14, 2017

Termites Can Reveal How Our Ancestors Migrated Across Earth

The regions of earth where modern termite species dwell has raised many interesting questions for scientists. Pinpointing modern termite habitats is not difficult. Scientists know where certain termite species exist today. However, signs of prehistoric termite activity have been discovered in regions where certain termite species are no longer located. In these situations it seems clear that certain termite species had, at some point, migrated to new regions of the globe where they are still active today. This is not necessarily unusual, as climatic conditions on earth have changed dramatically in the past. These past climatic changes have forced all animal species, living and extinct, to relocate to more hospitable environments. But you would not expect tiny insects to be capable of traveling great distances, especially over large bodies of water. The subterranean termite species known as Macrotermes gilvus is active in southeast Asia. At some point in the distant past, these termites managed to reach islands such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. So how did termites travel across the ocean? The answer to that question has also helped researchers understand how our human ancestors migrated to different parts of the world thousands, and even millions of years ago.

Today sea levels are much higher than they were when mankind’s early ancestors walked the earth. Due to lower sea levels, there once existed ancient land masses that connected modern islands with mainland continents. The Macrotermes gilvus termite species traveled these land masses to their farthest reaches over many thousands of years. These termites remained there after sea levels rose above the connective land masses. Researchers have recently found genetic evidence of these particular ancient termite migrations. Genetic markers in modern Macrotermes gilvus termites reveal the migratory routes taken by these termites when they dispersed two million years ago from a region that is now located in mainland Myanmar. Experts believe that our humanoid ancestors also took advantage of these land masses when searching for more agreeable habitats. These ancient land bridges have long been the go-to explanation for the modern existence of termites on islands. But only recently has this assumption been backed up by hard science.

Do you think it would have taken thousands of years and many generations of gradual travel for termites to reach areas of land that are now islands?

Termite Mounds Have A Special Chamber For The Royal Couple

Filed under: Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:11 pm December 7, 2017

Termite Mounds Have A Special Chamber For The Royal Couple

It is good to know that some termites are not attracted to the wood in our homes. Many termites prefer to inhabit mounds where fungi are grown for sustenance. Some mound building termites are not considered pests at all. Most mound building termites that are considered pests do not destroy wood; instead many termite pests that live in mounds destroy certain crops. There are no mound building termite species residing in the United States, but most other continents in the world have an abundance of different mound types.

Termites mounds are like cities that never stop undergoing construction. Most of you probably know that termite mounds are built in a manner that allows for internal climate control. However, most people are not aware that termite mounds are like palaces that contain many different chambers. Some of these chambers are dedicated to growing fungal crops, while other chambers store harvested fungi. There are also chambers that store eggs. And of course there is a royal chamber. The royal chamber obviously houses the queen and king termites. These mounds are intricate and technologically complicated even when it comes to human understanding. But for termites, the mound is an enormous temperature controlled city that lies beyond the limits of an individual termite’s understanding.

Although a termite mound may look indestructible, the walls of a mound are marked with numerous holes. These holes take in outside air. The air becomes warm as it travels through the mound. The warm air rises and is expelled through a chimney where the air is immediately cooled by outside air. This causes the air to drop back down into the mound. This cooled air then circulates through the mound. The circulation process repeats and it keeps the temperature in the mound cool and constant. Fungal gardens are cultivated in order to feed the mass amount of termites living within a mound. The constant temperature within the mound is a must for the proper cultivation of fungal crops.

Worker termites will often venture up to the royal chamber in order to take the queen’s eggs to a nearby nursery. The workers then clean these eggs. The eggs are fed compost until reaching adulthood. The bottom of the nest extends six feet below the ground where temperatures are particularly cool. This area is called “the cellar”. The cellar’s ceiling is thin so that moisture from the above structures can be absorbed and evaporated quickly, which further cools the cellar. These mounds can house up to millions of termites at a time.

Have you ever seen a termite mound while vacationing in another country?

Termite Infestations May Lead To Mass Demolitions

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:26 pm November 30, 2017

Termite Infestations May Lead To Mass Demolitions

If you have never experienced a termite infestation in your home, then you probably know someone who has. Termite infestations are common in every American state except for Alaska. If you are not a homeowner, then you can spare yourself the fear of a possible termite infestation. If you are a homeowner, then you know that a termite infestation could leave you broke if it is not detected quickly enough. This is why termite inspections are always necessary in order to save money in the long run. According to a recent survey, a whopping eighty four percent of homeowners have experienced a pest infestation within the past twelve months. The same survey found that eighty percent of homeowners are worried about a possible pest infestation, and termites were among the most feared of all pests.

In Kansas City, Missouri the roof of a house recently caved in. Once firefighters arrived on the scene it was determined that the collapse was caused by a termite infestation. This particular house is just one of many damaged houses in the city that will have to be demolished by the local government. However, the recent collapse occurred at a home made of bricks. This proves that non-wood constructed homes are also vulnerable to termite infestations, as some parts of a house made of bricks must contain wooden materials. The owner of the termite-damaged home has said that he wants to have the necessary repairs done, but the city has added the house to a long list of other damaged homes that need to be demolished. The demolition list now includes three hundred and fifty houses in Kansas City. It is not known how many of these houses have become damaged by termites. However, pest control experts have noted similarly damaged homes near the site of the recent collapse.

Do you find it hard to believe that hundreds of homes in one city could have become damaged by termites?

 

 

Do Termites Enjoy Greater Evolutionary Success Than Ants?

Filed under: Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:32 pm October 19, 2017

Do Termites Enjoy Greater Evolutionary Success Than Ants?Carpenter Ant

Ants may have existed on this planet for a very long time, but the evolutionary history of termites goes farther back than most insects, including ants. Both ants and termites are eusocial insects, meaning they live within colonies, and adapt to the environment collectively. Some scientists theorize that ants may have developed into eusocial insects by mimicking the social behaviors of termites millions of years ago. Unlike ants, however, the general physical appearance of termites has not changed much since they first appeared on earth during the triassic period. Ants first appeared on earth millions of years later during the cretaceous period. Despite the fact that termites are millions of years older than ants, ants have managed to diversify into well over twelve thousand different species. Whereas there are only between twenty six hundred to three thousand different termite species in existence today. For some reason, termites have not evolved as rapidly as ants.

Are ants a more successful type of insect than termites since the number of termite species in existence is far fewer than the number of ant species? Probably not, as the number of species belonging to one type of insect does not necessarily indicate superior adaptive abilities. One reason why termites have not evolved as much as ants and other insects is largely a result of the adaptive success that termites have enjoyed since day one. Early termites were blessed with adaptive features that made them uniquely successful creatures. As a result of this success, termites have not needed to adapt to new environments as much as other insects have. For example, since many termites hide beneath the soil and feed on the cellulose in plant matter, large predators were not able to easily access termites. A termite’s living conditions have always provided shelter from enemies as well as sustenance in the form of plant routes in order to survive. Therefore, termites can access everything that they need to survive while rarely risking their lives out in the open wilderness. When compared to termites, ants are quite vulnerable to predators, therefore ants have adapted many different physical features that have allowed them to thrive within different environments.

Do you think that there exists any other types of modern insects that are better suited for survival than termites?

The Last Invasive Termite Family Was Found In America During The 1990s

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 6:10 am August 18, 2017

The Last Invasive Termite Family Was Found In America During The 1990sTermites New Jersey

Many of you have heard of the eastern subterranean termite, as these termites cause more property damage than any other type of termite in the United States. Other termites that cause millions in damage each year include dampwood and drywood termites, and of course, Formosan termites. Since Formosan termites are invasive, and not as widely distributed within the US, then they must be the most recent termites to have invaded America, right? Well, not really. It is true that Formosan termites (Coptotermes formosanus) have only existed within America since the 1960s, but there is another invasive termite family that was found in Miami, Florida in 1996. I am referring to the Asian subterranean termite, or Coptotermes gestroi. Although many people often get Formosans and Asian Termites confused, due to their many similarities, these two termites are completely different.

Asian termites have not moved beyond the state of Florida. This is due to the Asian termites preference for more tropical regions. So far, Asian termites have not populated any regions that are farther north than Riviera Beach, Florida. However, these termites have been discovered infesting numerous structures and boats in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach, Broward County, and especially Key West.

Asian termites are frequently found on boats that are docked within saltwater. Formosan termites, on the other hand, have a much heavier presence heavy within Florida. Formosans are able to survive in more temperate climates when compared to Asian termites. Currently, west Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Riviera Beach are the only three locations in the world where both Formosan and Asian termite populations overlap.

These two termites are also notorious for their ability to quickly devour wooden objects, and other materials containing cellulose, in a relatively short amounts of time. Formosan termites are found in several more southern states, but, luckily, experts believe that Asian subterranean termites will remain most active in southern Florida. However, experts say that a northward expansion is likely for Asian termites.

Did you know that there was a difference between Formosan subterranean termites and Asian subterranean termites? Do you think that these two termites could successfully produce offspring?

Termites Will Eat Their Way Into Swimming Pools

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: , , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:05 am August 14, 2017

Termites Will Eat Their Way Into Swimming Pools | Termite Control

We all know that termites love to chew through wood, or anything containing cellulose, such as various forms of plant matter. Different termites threaten different forms of wood. Some types of termites stick primarily to forests where they can take their time destroying trees. Other termites, mostly eastern subterranean termites, but many others as well, enjoy destroying the wood located within people’s houses. When it comes to other materials, such as plastic, rubber or vinyl, termites will obviously show no interest in consuming such materials. However, termites are thirsty creatures, and they will chew through any type of material in order to access large sources of water. Swimming pools, for instance, are not immune to termite damage.

Termites may find their sustenance in cellulose from wood, but their powerful mouthparts are capable of chewing through synthetic materials if they are motivated to do so. Many pool owners have complained of what looked to be termite damage on their pools, but found such damage to be improbable. Unfortunately, termite damaged pool liners are not at all uncommon. What termites want is not a belly full of plastic or vinyl; instead, desperately thirsty termites are looking to satisfy their need for water, as termites require plenty of water in order to survive.

Pool owners may notice a gradual loss in pool water occurring over several days, or weeks, but initially, not much is thought of this water loss. After a while, and often after some inspection, tiny little holes can be found in various spots on above ground pools. Even pools built underground can be accessed by termites since many termites travel through dirt below the soils surface. Even below ground plastic pipes that are attached to swimming pools can become compromised as a result of termite damage.

Obviously, pools that are built with wooden materials are at even greater risk for termite damage. So resorting to wooden pool linings, over plastic or vinyl pool linings, will certainly not spare your pool from damage caused by termites. Just about any synthetic material can be penetrated by termites. If you should find that your pool has been damaged by termites, pest control professionals can offer anti-termite treatments that will end termite related pool damage.

Luckily, termites are not able to convert plastic into food, so termites are better off finding water sources elsewhere. But the astounding amount of available water within swimming pools must be an awfully tempting water source for parched termites.

Have you ever found termites floating within your pool? If so, did you later discover that termites had accessed your pool by chewing through its synthetic lining?

Termite Warning Signs!

Filed under: Termite Control — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:51 am May 2, 2017

Termite Warning Signs! 

  1. Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the home.
  2. Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped.
  3. Darkening or blistering of wood structures.
  4. Cracked or bubbling paint.
  5. Small piles of feces that resemble sawdust near a termite nest.
  6. Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the home or swarmers themselves, which are often mistaken for flying ants.

Researchers Identify Different Termite Personalities

Filed under: New Jersey Termite Control,Termite Control,Termites — Tags: , , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:40 pm November 9, 2016

Researchers from all over the world come together in Namibia every year in order to study the amazing white ants. White ants are not ants, in fact they are not even closely related to ants as they are actually termites. After carefully studying termite behavior, researchers were able to identify distinct personality traits belonging to different termites within a colony.Termite Control

White ants, like all termites, demonstrate advanced social behavior as well as advanced technological feats. For example, termites are able to control the temperature of their nests by using the wind to clear the nests of all the stagnant air that exists within the termites’ nest. While observing complicated social behavior, researchers noticed that different termites perform different functions for the good of their colony.

These different functions correspond with different personality traits. For example, some termites are “initiators,” which involves roaming around the nest to find lazy termites to recruit for construction projects. Other termites are tasked with providing members of the colony with water. Scientists are still trying to figure out if all this advanced termite behavior is a result of many robotic termites working together, or if termites, like us, have a soul and are not so “robotic” as we are inclined to think.

Do you think that termites are only intelligent when viewed as a collective society, or can individual termites demonstrate advanced social and technical behavior?

 

 

How to Tell the Difference Between a Carpenter Ant and a Termite

Filed under: Ant Control,Termite Control,Termites — admin @ 7:00 pm May 16, 2016

What are Carpenter Ants and Termites?

Carpenter ants, also known as sugar ants, reside in damp and decaying wood. They are mostly found in forested areas. They build their nests in woods, however, don’t consume them.

Termites, on the other hand, eat wood. The drywood kind are found in furniture and hardwood flooring. They thrive in warm humid climates and can cause moderate to severe destruction of property.

How to Spot the Difference between Carpenter Ants and Termites

Carpenter Ants vs Termites

Physical distinction between carpenter ants and termites

Carpenter ants are mostly black in color. There are some species that are red/orange and black in color as well. The wings on the front are larger than the hind ones and they measure anywhere between 1/2″ and 5’8″. The antenna is elbowed in the case of carpenter ants.

Termites have straight antenna and are either dark brown or black in color. They measure 3/8″ in length. The wings of termites are of the same size and easily breakable. The wings are longer than the body.

Where can you find carpenter ants and termites

Carpenter ants can be found on porch floors, columns and pillars. They can also be found in gardens where the wood is in contact with soil and branches of trees. They are easily found in firewood piles, stumps, window sills and sometimes even in appliances and electrical equipment.

Termites can be found on wooden floors, mud tubes and furniture. Termites can also be found in dark places of the house, for example, a dingy basement without windows, doorways, sills, porches and any surface in contact with soil. If you spot discarded wings or hollow wood around the house, it is likely that it is infested by termites.

Damage caused by carpenter ants and termites

Carpenter ants looks for decayed wood and then make their way to sound wood in homes and businesses. They chew but do not eat the wood. Once they are done chewing, the texture appears almost sandy. Damage is hard to spot, however, if you spot ants regularly around a structure you should seek professional help.

Termites cause more permanent damage to property than carpenter ants.  Homes primarily constructed of wood are not the only ones that are threatened by termites. Other materials can cause termite infestation as well since they are capable of cutting through plaster and can be found feeding on floors, ceilings, walls, cabinets and wooden furniture. It is sometimes difficult to spot the damage as it can be internal and until severe damage is done, it can go undetectable. In that case, a professional pest control company’s help should be taken to assess the situation otherwise it can lead to severe damage.

If you find a swarm of either of these insects in your house or business place, you should immediately seek professional help before the situation worsens. For effective New Jersey termite control and New Jersey carpenter ant control, trust Horizon!

Carpenter Ants vs Termites: How to Tell the Difference

Filed under: Ant Control,Termite Control,Termites — admin @ 12:42 pm March 22, 2016

People often confuse carpenter ants and termites, and for good reason: both are tiny, black wood-eating insects that swarm inside of homes. However, termites can cause significantly worse problems for your home than carpenter ants. This is because carpenter ants usually isolate their activity to their nesting area, and mainly search for already damaged wood. In contrast, termites can eat through any kind of wood in any part of your house. For this reason, it is important to know the difference between carpenter ants vs termites.

How to Tell the Difference

TermiteThe main difference between the two insects is in their appearance: the insects’ wings, antennae, and bodies are distinct and therefore discernable. Both termites and carpenter ants have four wings each. However, the front set of termite wings are noticeably longer than the pair in the back, and will always be the same size on any termite you come across. The wings on carpenter ants, in contrast, come in all sizes and are evenly matched in front and back.

Another, slightly more detailed, way to dell the difference between carpenter ants vs termites is in the antennae. While carpenter ants’ antennae are crooked in the middle, termites have straight antennae that appear to be beaded. Finally, the two insects’ bodies are distinct and allow identification. Carpenter ants look similar to any other ant: they appear to have segments because of the thin waist in their middle. In contrast, termites are not narrow at all, and can be identified by their straight bodies.

Carpenter AntIf you are not able to find any of the insects, another great way to tell if you have an ant problem or a termite problem is to look at the clues around your house. Since carpenter ants do not actually eat the wood they burrow in, you should be able to find wood shavings or sawdust near their nesting area. In contrast, termites will leave trails of mud and other debris as they work to eat away the wood in their nest. If you find remains of other kinds of bugs, this is a good sign that your house is host to carpenter ants vs termites, since termites do not eat other bugs.

While the above tips are a great start to identifying carpenter ants vs termites, it is important to take care of the infestation problem regardless of which insect your house is host to. For effective NJ termite control and NJ ant control, you can rely on Horizon Pest Control. Call us today!

 

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