Arizona has large numbers of insects that cause inconvenience, plus other stinging insects that serious reactions could result from their stings and bites. Adding to the relative docile European honey bee, Africanized honey bees and yellow jackets can cause impact to residents and their health. Arizona also has a few species of venomous ants. Of the more than 300 types of ants in the state, probably the most important are the various species of fire ants. Although there has been the discovery of the invasive, super-aggressive red imported fire ant in Arizona, it is not established in the state.
Two of the more noticeable wood-destroying or damaging insects found in Arizona are termites and carpenter ants. In addition, there are pest pressures from both inconvenience and medically important flies, bed bugs, rodents, stinging wasps, spiders, and cockroaches.
Termites in Arizona, Arizona Termite Species
Termites are considered social insects since different aspects of the colony’s main functions are carried out by three separate groups or castes: reproductive adults, soldiers, and workers. In general, workers feed and maintain the colony, soldiers defend the colony, and winged reproductives (swarmers) expand the colony and begin new colonies. The queen, a special member of the reproductive caste, produces eggs regularly to ensure the colony remains populated.
The effect of termite problems comes from all three of the major groups of termites: subterranean termites, dampwood termites, and drywood termites.
This group of termites base on building their colonies below ground and must maintain contact with the soil to meet their requirements for moisture. Subterranean termites rummage through soil for the search of food sources and make construction of mud tubes that aids in protecting them from dehydration until they can return to their colony to refill moisture and feed other members of the colony. Throughout the state the Subterranean termites are regarded as the major urban pest termites.
Arid Land Subterranean Termites
These termites are considered the most widely spread subterranean termite in Arizona. However, the preference of this group of pests is not the extreme desert conditions of southern Arizona. A major behavior with this termite is it prefers to attack wet, decaying wood rather than solid, dry timber.
Desert Subterranean Termite
The most destructive termite in Arizona is the desert subterranean termite. It will attack construction lumber, floors and rafters, including different kinds of dead wood, such as cactus, desert trees, utility poles, and posts.
Dampwood termites infest wood that with a high moisture content. The only dampwood termite regarded as being structurally important in Arizona is the desert dampwood termite. Generally, these pests infest wood that is below ground level and close to the termite colony. They also invade living shrubs and young trees, and then makes use of its sap to provide the needed moisture for its survival. Typically, from late May through September this termite produces reproductive swarms.
Attacking wood that is low in moisture content is part of Drywood termites behaviour. In certain locations throughout the state, drywood termites are important pests that can do damage that demands for important costs for control and repair.
The two principal drywood termites in Arizona are known as the dark western drywood termite and the light western drywood termite. It doesn’t need contact with the ground, but can inhabit within the same wood used as a food source.
Through the process of tunneling in dry wood, this group of termites creates small hollows called “kick holes” basically used to remove their fecal pellets from galleries. One of the first signs of infestation are piles of fecal pellets beneath kick holes.
Dark Western Drywood Termites
Generally, the dark western drywood termite is the most widely distributed and destructive of its type in Arizona. Often these termites are being transported from place to place in Arizona and to other states through wood products like furniture. The dark western drywood termite also attacks dead trees, dead branches on living trees, and solid structural wood on structures. Major building components that may be infested are flooring, doorframes, soffits, fascia boards, and roof sheathing. The infestation of these termite will also affect utility poles, posts, and stored lumber.
Light Western Drywood Termites
The location of the light western drywood termite is in the true desert regions of Arizona where the elevation is less than 4,000 feet. This specie can tolerate drier conditions than can the dark western drywood termite.