Soldier termites are similar in size and colour to workers, but have an enlarged brownish coloured head with large modified mandibles (large biting jaws), used for defense.
Baiting involves placing bait tubes or traps in the ground at intervals around a building -several dozen for a typical house. Pieces of untreated timber or other cellulose-based material are inserted into these tubes as bait for termites. The tubes are monitored and, when termites are observed feeding on the bait, it is replaced with treated bait containing a chemical that the termites then carry back to the colony. The chemical is slow acting, so termites are unable to associate its source with its effects. Over a period of several months, the entire colony may be destroyed.
The subterranean termite Reticulitermis flavipes (Kollar) is probably the most destructive and widely distributed species in North America. This species has acclimatized to southern Ontario to such a degree that 27 municipalities report some degree of infestation.
Proper ventilation is essential to eliminate moist conditions. The main areas of concern are verandas and crawl spaces. The amount of ventilation will be variable according to regional and local factors, and must meet building standards.
Winged termites are darker. Termites have six legs, all of which are short. On ants, the front wings are longer than the back pair and they don`t break easily. Termites have four wings of equal size (twice as long as the body) which do not break easily. Ants have narrow and defined waists. Termites have thick undefined waists. Ants have elbowed antennae. Termites have straight ones which resemble tiny strings of pearls. They do not have eyes unless they are winged termites. Termites are actually more closely related to the cockroach family rather than the ant family.
Subterranean termites were first reported in Ontario at Point Pelee in 1929. It has subsequently been reported in Toronto (1938), Windsor (1950), Kincardine (1954), Oxley (1955), Amherstburg and Dresden (1968) and Guelph (1975). Presently in Metropolitan Toronto, the termite infested area extends through a radius of approximately 30 kilometers.
The environmental and health risks associated with chemical usage have led to the withdrawal of several termiticide products from the market. Barriers consisting of a layer of precisely sized sand or crushed stone below and around foundations are an alternative means of preventing termite entry.
It is useful to know for termite identification that almost every type of termite lives in the dark, apart from the winged ones that fly or any termite when they are constructing something. This means that you normally only see them when something is open or broken. When they are exposed, termites attempt to follow their scent trails to get home. If they can`t get home, they either squeeze themselves into a small gap or wander around looking lost until they find another termite.
The series of galleries (area hollowed out) created by termites in wood give a honeycomb appearance. These galleries follow the wood grain. Interior galleries contain greyish specks of excrement and earth, called frass.
Powder post beetles only do significant damage when multiple generations continually re-infest the same piece of wood. Also, powder post beetle damage is restricted to hardwoods, and since most structural framing is made of softwood lumber it is rarely attacked by these insects.