Termites are already often considered the worst insect pests that infest our homes, and cause immense damage. On top of this, there are numerous different termite species that can infest a house, and depending on where you live, you may be more or less likely to be targeted by the most destructive of termite species. Unfortunately, Arizona is home to one of the most widespread and destructive termite species, Reticulitermes tibialis, also known as the arid land subterranean termite.
The arid land subterranean (ALS) termite is the most widely distributed subterranean termites in the entire state. This bad boy is found everywhere, with sightings as far south as Yuma and as north as Page. It is very abundant in Flagstaff, and is the most common termite species that infests resident’s homes. The ALS seems to prefer the northern parts of Arizona and the colder, more humid climate as opposed to the extremely hot and dry conditions of the Sonoran desert region. This means lucky residents living in the southern part of the state don’t have to deal with this pest as often, as it is much less common in the south than in the north.
The ALS isn’t just a nuisance because of how widespread it is, however, as it is also one of the most destructive too. In its natural habitat alone, this voracious termite does a good bit of damage to the roots and stems of plants. It is a much more substantial threat to man made wooden structures. It will go after whatever it can get its hands on, including post, utility poles, and buildings made with wood that are untreated. The ALS termite has the ability to build mud tubes over the foundations of buildings that act as a shelter for termites traveling from the ground to other wood sources inside buildings. This means they are not limited to infesting wood only on or in the ground, and gives them the ability to attack structural wood contained inside buildings. However, it is less likely to build these mud tubes than other subterranean termite species, and when it does, it is more likely to go for moist, decaying wood rather than dry wood. This could be because of their preference for areas with higher humidity like Flagstaff.
Have you ever had an infestation of arid land subterranean termites?