Termites are like a stealth wood shredder. These tiny insects attack your home from their underground nests, gnawing into soft, wet, damaged wood before chewing into healthy wood. A termite colony of 60,000 insects can munch through one lineal foot of pine 2×4 every 120 days. But termite colonies can include hundreds of thousands to millions of hungry insects, causing considerable damage in a relatively short time. And since these insects never sleep, they’re crunching away at your foundation timbers 24/7 while you sleep blissfully unaware of the attack on your home.
Termites are beneficial insects in nature. They process downed trees, keeping the forests tidy. Unfortunately, termites can’t differentiate between dead trees and construction lumber which makes them a serious pest threat for Monmouth County, NJ home owners. In Monmouth and Ocean Counties, NJ, termites damage 1 in 5 houses.
Interesting Termite Facts
Despite their destructive behavior, termites are fascinating insects.
Termite queens produce eggs constantly. Some species lay 40,000 eggs each day.
One of Earth’s oldest insects, termites have been scavenging the planet since the dinosaur era more than 200 million years ago.
Termites are related to cockroaches.
Termite queens far outsize the workers that tend them. Queens can be several inches long, as big around as a pencil and live for decades.
Containing more protein than beef, termites are considered a culinary treat in some countries. Africans like their termites fried. South Americans prefer theirs barbecued.
When colonies grow too large and need to expand, a number of ant species produce winged reproductives called swarmers. The species Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey home and business owners need to worry about is carpenter ants. These large, black ants tunnel into wood, chewing out large galleries where they live and raise their young. Because these wood-destroying pests do their damage out of sight, inside wood boards and beams, their presence often goes undetected for some time.
Carpenter ants can do significant damage to your home or business before their presence is discovered. If you spy flying ants on your property, call a licensed Monmouth County ant exterminator immediately. Accurate identification and prompt extermination can minimize expensive structural damage to your home or business.
5 Facts About Flying Ants
1. Not all flying ants are carpenter ants and they might not even be ants. Wood-eating termites also produce winged reproductives that, to the untrained eye, look very much like flying carpenter ants.
2. Swarmers are not good flyers. At the mercy of the wind, they frequently land near their home colony. It is not unusual for multiple colonies of carpenter ants (or termites) to be located on the same property.
3. Only females survive the reproductive flight.
4. Swarmers only keep their wings for a short time. When they land, females bite off their wings and burrow into the ground to begin a new colony.
Most of us find nature fascinating, but we prefer to enjoy nature’s many creatures outside in their natural environment. When insects, mice, squirrels and other pests invade our homes, we feel threatened. We’re happy to share the planet with insects and wildlife, but not our Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey homes!
The problem is that most common insect and animal pests invade our homes in stealth mode. They enter uninvited, often in the dark of night, sometimes underground, through small cracks and crevices that escape our notice. When they move in, these pests take up residence behind cabinets, inside wall voids and under baseboards where they live and flourish unseen by unsuspecting home owners.
Colonies of ants, termites and other problem insects can grow to damaging size before homeowners even realize they have a problem. Wood-destroying pests such as carpenter ants, termites and powderpost beetles damage wood from the inside out. There presence is rarely discovered by homeowners until after these pests have caused significant structural damage.
Protect Your Home and Family
Allison Pest Control’s trained and experienced New Jersey pest exterminators know what to look for and can correctly identify invading pests. Taking a proactive approach to pest control by scheduling a free pest inspection is the best way to discover pest problems before they threaten your family’s health or damage your home.
Dictionary.com defines ‘frass’ as “the refuse and excrement of boring or leaf-eating insects.” More commonly, many home and organic gardeners refer to frass as “insect poop.” While the excrement of plant-eating insect larvae such as caterpillars is called frass and sold as a natural garden fertilizer; to New Jersey pest extermination professionals, frass is an indication of a serious insect infestation by wood-destroying insect pests.
How Is Frass Formed?
In the insect world, frass is a fine, powdery, sawdust-like by-product of the boring and tunneling activity of wood-destroying pests, including carpenter ants, carpenter bees, termites and powderpost beetles. Appropriately derived from German words meaning “to devour” and “insect damage,” frass is a mixture of wood particles, insect saliva and excrement left behind as certain insects or their larvae chew tunnels into raw wood. Frass from termite activity is less evident than that from the activity of other wood-destroying insects because the Eastern subterranean termites that infest Monmouth County homes and businesses pack their tunnels with mud to maintain the humid environment these insects require.
Sign of Infestation
Frass is a much more obvious sign of insect infestation where carpenter ants, powderpost beetles and carpenter bees are concerned because these insects bore hollow tunnels into wood. Infestations of these insects often produce piles of frass at insect entry points that help expert insect exterminators NJ locate and identify wood-destroying insect infestations. Like termites, powderpost beetle larvae actually ingest wood as they tunnel through it. Carpenter ants and carpenter bees, however, do not. These insects feed on the same materials as other ants and bees, tunneling into wood to lay their eggs or create large hollow galleries to house their nurseries.
Big and black, carpenter ants are the undisputed kings of the New Jersey ant kingdom and a formidable wood destroying pest. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood; but the tunnels they carve into wood are nearly as destructive. Carpenter ants live in wood planks and beams, chewing long tunnels and large galleries into the wood to house their colonies and nurseries.
In time a carpenter ant infestation will create a “honeycomb” effect, leaving a hollowed out interior covered by a thin veneer of wood. An undetected carpenter ant infestation can weaken structural timbers and eventually lead to structural collapse.
Prevent An Insect Invasion
Taking the following preventive measures can prevent carpenter ant damage to your Monmouth County home or business and will also help keep other New Jersey ants and insects from invading your home:
• Repair leaky pipes and roofs promptly. Carpenter ants and termites need water to survive and are attracted to damp wood.
• Move stacks of firewood away from your house. Stacks of unfinished wood exposed to the elements are a magnet for insects and mice.
• Remove construction debris and lumber from crawl spaces and yards. Like firewood, old lumber provides a home for unwanted insects.
• Scrape wood mulch a foot or so away from the foundation of your home. Wood mulch provides cover that allows carpenter ants to access foundation timber and ground-level window and door sills. Use stone mulch around foundations.
• Prune overhanging trees and landscape plants away from the walls and windows of your home to remove landscape “bridges” to window and door frame wood.
If you find discarded insect wings littering the floor of your basement or garage or scattered over the windowsills of your Monmouth County, NJ home; you have a serious insect problem and should call an experienced insect exterminator NJ immediately. A litter of discarded insect wings indicates a mature infestation of either termites or carpenter ants. Both of these wood destroying insects can cause severe damage to Monmouth County homes and businesses.
Which Is It Termites or Carpenter Ants?
As we’ve noted in previous posts, when termite and carpenter ant colonies grow too large for available resources, they expand by swarming. Both insect species create specialized winged reproductives which crawl to the surface either from underground nests (termites) or nesting galleries tunneled into the wood (carpenter ants). Swarmers of both species look like winged ants and can only be correctly identified by close inspection of their body shapes and wing sizes by an experienced termite and ant exterminator NJ.
What Discarded Wings Mean
Once they reach the surface, winged reproductives pair off and fly away in mating flights. Males die after mating. Females land, bite off their wings and burrow into the ground to begin new colonies. Because swarmers are poor fliers, they frequently land nearby and are easily stopped by obstructions like windows and doors. Discovering a litter of discarded wings is an indication that swarmers have landed and burrowed in to begin new colonies. It is not unusual to find multiple termite or carpenter ant colonies on the same property.