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Subterranean termites live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas, above ground, that contain up to two millions members. They build distinctive "mud tubes" to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air. Termite colonies are organized into "castes", or classes, depending on their tasks. The castes are either workers, soldiers, or reproductive termites.
In the spring, groups of reproductive termites "swarm" and go off to start new colonies. If you happen to see a swarm of termites, this means they are reproductive termties, and are typically carrying eggs.
Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species. They can collapse a building entirely, meaning not only safety issues, but finanacial ruin for the owner. Although termites could number in the millions, you may never see them or even any evidence of them, until you discover they've done serious damage to your home or structure. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites work like shears, cutting off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time. Only a licensed Pest Management Professional carrying a category 12 license can perform a termite treatment.
Carpenter Ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nest. Even though these ants first invade wet, decayed wood, the may soon begin building paths though dry, undamaged wood. If they gain entry to a structure, they pose a threat to the property. These ants don't eat wood; they hollow out the wood to create "galleries", or nests. Look for shredded bits of coarse sawdust, If you think you may have an infestation, try tapping on the area with a screwdriver. If there are carpenter ants at work, it may sound hollow and you may even hear the sound of disturbed ants rustling around inside.
Some ways to prevent carpenter ants from invading your home are by keeping tree limbs cut back from your home; correcting plumbing leaks, moisture problems, and roof leaks; and by sealing cracks or holes along your structural foundation.
Carpenter Bees may look like typical bumble bees, but they lack the yellow stripes and rather than have a fuzzy abdomen, they have a smooth, shiny abdonmen. Unlike bumblebees, carpenter bees are solitary insects.
Carpenter bees nest in the spring and prefer bare, unfinished wood. Females will drill a nest, about the size of your fingertip, while the male hovers outside of the hole as protection. Thankfully, the males actually do not have a stinger and cannot sting. The females however, do, so if you happen to see a bee hovering near a hole, DO NOT poke anything inside, or you may be at the receiving end of a stinger!
Because these bees prefer bare, unfinished wood, the best prevention is a coat of paint. Always be aware and cautious of bare-wood rafters beams in garages, sheds, and barns as well.
More information can be found at www.pestworld.org and www.ohiopca.com.