Termite infestations are particularly common in Arizona for several reasons. For one thing, termites are abundant in desert ecosystems because they are one of the few organisms in such regions that maintain soil fertility by breaking down dead plant matter. For those who are unaware, termites naturally consume cellulose, which is the fibrous material contained within plant matter. The particular termite species inhabiting the Sonoran Desert are physiologically adapted to thriving in the tremendously dry and hot desert environment, which makes them physiologically, and consequently, behaviorally unique among North American termite species.
Since the unique natural behaviors exhibited by southern Arizona’s native termite species have not been thoroughly described, it is difficult to exploit their behaviors for control purposes. Also, urban centers and housing developments are continuing to expand into barren desert areas of Arizona where subterranean termites are prevalent. This is why the rate of termite infestations in the state have, and will continue to remain high for years to come. Luckily, however, multiple subterranean termite prevention measures have proven effective in urban and suburban areas of southern Arizona, but drywood termites remain a serious threat to structures in the region.
In most US regions, drywood termites are either absent or of little economic importance, but this is not the case in the southwest where drywood termites are responsible for nearly half of all documented property damage caused by termites each year. While subterranean termites generally inflict more damage to structures than drywood termites, infestations of the latter are far more difficult to detect within homes. This is because drywood termites initiate infestations as winged swarmers (alates) on just about any exterior location of houses, while subterranean termite infestations remain in close proximity to their ground soil habitat. Since subterranean termite workers create conspicuous mud tubes in order to access above-ground structural wood around the foundation of homes, their infestations are usually found before serious destruction occurs.
Have you ever inspected your home for drywood termite damage?