Termites have a very thin cuticle (skin) and are subject to rapid desiccation (drying out) if exposed to the environment outside their enclosed habitat. In order to maintain a highly controlled environment, termites must live in a closed system. Colonies in wood are always contained within an outside shell of cellulose material. In this way, they are protected from exposure to the outside.
Today, we all opt for eco friendly techniques for almost everything we do. However, when it comes to end termites, the clock is not on your side. Nobody wants to see his or her house damaged up to the extent of leaving it. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent your house from the termite attack.
Powder post beetle larvae cause millions of dollars worth of damage in the US and Canada annually, and are almost as destructive as termites. Adult beetles lay their eggs in the surface pores of wood. The larvae bore into the wood as soon as they hatch. Living in the wood, they create tunnels called galleries as they eat their way through the timbers. When the larvae are nearly full grown, they bore near to the surface of the wood and pupate. The adults bore out through the surface soon after pupation, pushing a fine powdery wood dust, usually a copper to yellow-gold in color, out of the wood as they emerge.
The presence of shelter tubes over the surface of foundation walls is the primary sign of a termite infestation. These tubes are 6mm (1/4 inch) to 12mm (1/2 inch) wide, and can extend many centimetres in length until wood is discovered. These tubes protect termites form the drying effect of air, and maintain the termites` contact with the soil.
Several species of powder post beetles are to be found in the U.S. and Canada. They vary in length from 1/16" to 3/8", but generally have flattened bodies, a prominent head and segmented antennae. True powder post beetles attack only hardwoods (particularly oak, hickory, ash, walnut and cherry) but other species of wood boring beetles attack both hardwoods and softwoods.
Careful site preparation and clean-up can do much to discourage the colonisation of a new or existing building site by termites. Where forest or orchard land has been cleared, tree roots must be completely excavated and removed along with any other buried wood.
The second method is called "budding". In this method, when a colony becomes sufficiently large, or a portion of a colony becomes separated from the main colony, new secondary reproductives are formed from larvae or nymphs and the nucleus of a new colony is established.
Foundation walls and slabs should be designed to inhibit the entry of termites into the building, and to facilitate inspection for shelter tubes. Sheet metal and steel mesh barriers properly designed and installed, are also an effective means of control. Wood products and other building materials should be selected with regard to termite resistance.
Reproductive termites are similar but have wings. Termites are weak flyers and will only attempt to fly if the air is still and there is high humidity without the likelihood of rain. The largest member of the termite family is the queen. She can be up to 4 inches long and lays up to 4 eggs a minute! If she dies, one of the reproductive termites takes her place.
The subterranean termite is very closely associated with the soil, which is its main source of life-sustaining moisture. Termite food consists of cellulose obtained from wood and wood products. Decaying damp wood is preferred but termites are also able to feed on sound, dry lumber.