Tag Archives: Termite Information

Do Termite Colonies Have a King?

Watch out for Formosan Termites this spring
Do Termites Have a King

You may have heard about every termite colony having a queen, but did you know that they must have a king as well? Yes, that’s true! Each termite colony is actually controlled by a queen and a king, and without a king, a termite colony will fall into disarray.

The King’s Function

Every termite queen needs to mate before she starts a colony, and to do that she selects a king from the swarm. They find a space for the colony to grow, and initially, he helps her start up the colony and take care of the termite larvae. Once the larvae have matured, they take over care of the colony. Thereafter, both the king and queen encase themselves inside a special part of the hive, called the “queen’s chamber,” and from there they rule.

Giving Orders

Both the king and the queen continue to release pheromones, which keep the termites from gaining sexual maturity, while keeping these immature termites essentially as slaves to the royal couple.

If you you would like to know more about termites, want more information about the king and the queen and their effect on the colony, or need to control them, please contact us at Allison Pest Control. We are Freehold exterminators serving Monmouth and Ocean County for nearly 100 years.

How to Exterminate NJ Termites – Part 1

Termite Control
Termite Control

Termite extermination is a job for experienced professionals for three main reasons:

1. The Eastern subterranean termites that chew on the foundation timbers of Monmouth and Ocean County homes live in massive nests deep underground. The termites that exterminators find munching on the support beams of your New Jersey home are workers foraging for food and represent only a small portion of the colony’s total population which can number in the hundreds of thousands, even millions.

2. Termites can travel a fair distance during foraging and nests may be located some distance from their food source (your home). Inaccessible and out of sight, the source of a termite infestation is usually impossible to locate when it is first discovered.

3. If every single termite in the colony, including the queen, is not exterminated; the colony will regenerate and continue to destroy your home.

Termite Extermination Methods

To overcome these difficulties, professional termite exterminators NJ use the termites’ own social behavior against them. The two methods professionals use to exterminate termites – bait systems and exterior barrier systems — use the insects themselves to deliver the termiticide to the underground nest. Termites spread the poisonous chemical to other colony members during normal feeding and grooming activities.

Termite Bait Systems Really Work

Termite Bait System. Considered a less invasive, more eco-friendly termite elimination system, the Advance Termite Bait System is a low- chemical extermination approach. Low-profile, in-ground bait traps are installed along likely termite pathways.

Traps are baited with cellulose and regularly inspected for termite activity. When termite presence is detected, traps are re-baited with poisonous food. Termites eat the food and spread it through the colony by regurgitation as they feed other colony members.

Next time: How Termidor works

Swarmers Signal Pest Problem

While gardening or mowing your Monmouth County, NJ lawn, have you ever stumbled across a “puddle” of what seem to be hundreds of winged ants milling around on the ground? If so, you have come across a group of swarmers, a sure signal that a massive termite or carpenter ant colony is located nearby and is chewing away on the wood in your home. Swarmers signal a serious pest problem and should not be ignored. Mark the spot; capture a few specimens if you can so the insect can be correctly identified; and call a termite exterminator NJ immediately.

Why Do Insects Swarm?

Termite and carpenter ant colonies swarm when they outgrow local resources and need to expand. When this occurs, the colony queen produces hundreds of winged reproductives. Reproductives leave the nest and climb to the surface where they congregate before flying off in mating pairs to start new colonies. Swarming typically begins in March as soon as the ground thaws and can continue through July.

Identifying Swarmers

To the untrained eye, swarming termites and carpenter ants look pretty much alike. Both have dark, ant-like bodies and long grayish-white wings. On close inspection, swarming carpenter ants exhibit an ant’s classic pinched waist and elbowed antennae; but these characteristics are usually hidden from view by their wings. Their wings are the easiest way to tell these two wood-destroying insects apart. Carpenter ants have a longer fore wing than hind wing while termites’ wings are the same size and nearly twice as long as their bodies.

The discovery of swarmers indicates that your Monmouth, NJ home is under serious attack by wood-destroying pests. Calling an experienced termite exterminator NJ immediately is the only way to stop damage to your home.

Division of Labor Allows Termites to Maximize Damage to Your Home

Living in huge colonies governed by a strict caste system, the Eastern subterranean termites found in New Jersey inflict considerable structural damage on Monmouth and Ocean County homes every year. Division of labor allows NJ termite colonies to grow quickly and cause maximum damage to your home.

Termite colonies are divided into four castes with each caste having a specific function in the colony. In addition to the reproductives discussed in our previous post, there are:

Soldiers are the colony’s defenders. Twice the size of worker termites, soldiers have overly-large “armored” heads that nearly double the insect’s length. When actively protecting the colony, soldiers excrete a sticky fluid that traps invaders which they then crush in their large, strong mandibles.

Workers forage for food, feed and groom the colony, tend the queen and nursery, and maintain and enlarge the nest. Traveling through tunnels they build between the nest and the wood they feed on, workers digest cellulose, returning to the nest to feed the colony by regurgitation and excretion.

Swarmers, called alates, are specialized winged reproductives that are produced when the colony outgrows local food sources. Produced between March and June, swarmers crawl to the surface before pairing off for a nuptial flight. Males die after reproducing, but females land, bite off their wings and burrow into the ground to found a new colony. Unfortunately, termites are poor fliers, often landing nearby and leaving your Monmouth County home open to multiple termite attacks.

The discovery of swarmers congregating on lawns or near building foundations is often the first visible sign of a termite infestation. If you find swarmers on your property, call Allison Pest Control’s expert termite exterminators NJ immediately. Swarmers indicate the presence of a large, mature termite colony on the property that should be treated immediately.