Properly identifying termites


July 19, 2023

Mike Shields

Mike Shields

Successful termite control begins with the proper identification, before you can select the best treatment options. The world is getting smaller as populations increase; people and products come in from many other areas and countries, so with this comes different species of termites. Subterranean termites (Eastern, Western, Formosan, Asian and conehead species), drywoods (Kalotermitidae) and dampwoods (Archotermopsidae) all can be transported to new areas.

Over the past couple years, after an identification on the termite species for technicians who had “assumed” they were treating the common species in the area, I have heard such statements as, “We don’t have that species here.” You must be aware of the fact a different species may have been introduced into your area, and the correct treatment approach was not taken.

Damage from a mature colony of Eastern subterranean termites (Reticulitermes flavipes) can average around 7 pounds, whereas Formosan termites can cause 1,000 pounds of cellulose damage per year. To confuse the two can be a costly mistake.

Never assume, always identify. Different species may require different treatments. Make sure you have all the different treatment options in your toolbox. These options include liquid, fumigation and baiting — all are dependent on which termite species you are treating.

About the Author

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Mike Shields is a sales representative at Ensystex.

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