Termites

If you have termites in your home in Charlotte, Concord, Monroe, Mooresville, Gastonia, or surrounding areas give us a call at (800) 250-2423 or (704)545-2847 

Termites in the Charlotte area mostly feed on the cellulose and lignin found in plant cell walls; cellulose and lignin are the main ingredients of wood and all paper products. Termites cannot directly digest the cellulose so they rely upon symbiotic bacteria and protozoa living within their intestines to supply most of the enzymes needed for cellulose digestion.  Termites are sometimes called white ants.  They may resemble ants in size, but ants have a narrow waist and elbowed antennae while termites have a thick waist and antennae that resemble a string of beads. In the Charlotte area Eastern Subterannean termites are the only type seen in the Charlotte area.

Ecologically, termites in the Charlotte area and around the world play an important role in the environment by helping to break down and recycle dead wood and other plant tissues.  They become pests when their appetite for wood and wood products extends to human homes, fence posts, building materials, cardboard, and other valuable products.  In tropical and subtropical forests where termites are abundant, railroads must use expensive metal ties because wooden ones are quickly destroyed. The average acre of land in the Charlotte area contain seven colonies of termites. The goal is not to exterminate all termites, but to control all the termites that might enter your home.

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Reproductive
Caste
Queen  -  Fertile adult female.
King  -  Fertile adult male.
Soldier
Caste
Non fertile males and females with special morphological adaptations for defense of the colony.
Worker
Caste
Immature males and females (nymphs) - offspring of the king and queen, with potential to molt into replacement soldiers or reproductives if needed.

The Termite Colony. In Charlotte  termites live in  nests, or colonies with hundreds, thousands, or even millions of its brothers and sisters.  In fact, the termite colonies in Charlotte are really a large, extended family. Various groups of individuals within this family have different functional roles according to a "caste system".  The worker caste is the largest group in the Charlotte area.  It consists entirely of immatures, both males and females.  These soft-bodied, wingless individuals perform all of the hard labor in the colony:  they clean, maintain, and repair the nest, gather food and water, care for the young, and construct new tunnels and galleries as the colony grows.  These juveniles all have the genetic capacity to undergo additional molts and become soldiers or reproductives, but most will spend their entire lives as workers. For the control of termites call us at (800) 250-2423.

Members of the soldier caste are larger in size but fewer in number than the workers.  They are also wingless, but they have large heads with powerful jaws.  Their job is to guard the nest site and protect it from attacks by ants or other invaders.  In some species the soldiers lack jaws but have a large gland in the head that shoots defensive chemicals through a nozzle at the front of the head.  The soldiers have what appears to be large jaws, but must be fed and groomed by the workers because they are unable to care for themselves.

The reproductive caste always includes a male and a female, who are the parents of the termite family and founders of the colony. The nest of subterranean termites in the Charlotte area are found below the frost line.  Some species also have a few supplemental reproductives who share the egg laying duties.  These are the only adult insects in the colony.  The queen lays large numbers of eggs which develop into more workers and soldiers as the family grows.  In every mature colony, there also develops an annual population of young winged reproductives that swarm from the parent nest for a short mating flight. Termites swarm in the Charlotte area at the end of Febuary to June. After flight, the delicate wings break off, and the new king and queen set out to find another nest site and start a new colony.  Large colonies with multiple reproductives may also split into two or more daughter colonies, a process known as "budding".

The termite's caste system is regulated by pheromones.  The king and queen each produce special pheromones that circulate throughout the colony and inhibit workers of the same sex from molting into reproductive adults.  A death in the royal family (or an increase in the size of the colony) results in a lower concentration of the corresponding pheromone and, subsequently, one or more workers will molt into replacement reproductives.  Likewise, the concentration of sex-specific soldier pheromones regulate the numbers of male and female soldiers to fall within an optimal range based on colony size.  Excess numbers of soldiers or reproductives may be killed and eaten by the workers.

Kinds of Termites.   About 2750 different species of termites are known.  These can be divided into two groups: those that live entirely within wood, and more advanced species that tunnel and nest in the soil. The Eastern Subterranean termite is primarily found in the Charlotte area, however outside of Charlotte in Rutherfordton NC they have found formosan termites by David Spillman at Goforth Services. For the most part in the Charlotte area we are only dealing with Eastern Subterranean termites.   In terms of their ecology and behavior, the most primitive species are similar to certain wood-dwelling cockroaches with whom they may share a common ancestor.  These primitive species often have specialized habitat requirements, nesting only in rotten wood, damp wood, or dry wood.  Their colonies are rather small and persist only as long as the food resource lasts.  All wood-dwelling termites produce distinctive waste pellets which are often the first sign of an active infestation. Dry wood termites are not usually found in the Charlotte area, but we have found them in our Wilmington office and on the Outer Banks.

Subterranean termites construct underground nests and have the ability to tunnel through the soil to find new food resources.  These colonies are often long-lived and may grow to include several million individuals.   The subterranean termites often invade wooden structures above the ground by building earthen tubes that serve as protective tunnels between the nest and their food source.  These tubes are good evidence of a termite infestation. The termite tubes are generally what the termite inspector would be looking for on and under homes in the Charlotte area.

 

Termite Control done by Home Spectors in Charlotte, Mint Hill, Pineville, Davidson, Cornelius, Hunterville, Matthews, Gastonia, Dallas, Belmont, Bessemer City, Cherryville, Cramerton, Dell View, High Shoals, Lowell, McAdenville, Mount Holly, Ranlo, Monroe NC, Indian Trail, Hemby Bridge, Lake Park, Marshville, Marvin, Mineral Springs, Fairview, Stallings, Concord NC, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, Midland, Mount Pleasant, Mooresville NC, Love Valley, Harmony, Troutman, and Stateville.
If you have termites in your home give us a call at (800) 250-2423 or (704)545-2847