Reticulitermes Hesperus common name, the Western Termite, may conjure cute images of white insects in cowboy hats wearing miniscule six shooters, but these costly pests are more Bugsy Siegel than John Wayne.
Responsible for millions of dollars in damages every year, these Termites live in on the west coast of the United states, and are generally found throughout California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and Nevada.
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Reticulitermes Hesperus – The Western Termite
Reticulitermes Hesperus: They’ve achieved biblical numbers in central California, particularly in the larger cities containing many old structures; a problem not to be scoffed at.
The Western Termite is most especially destructive to Douglas Fir and other softer construction timbers; Summer hardwoods are, for the most part, safe.
They are attracted to moist, dark places, and survive by burrowing their colonies into wood, riddling oftentimes essential pillars and beams with a honeycomb of cavities that devastate a building’s structural integrity.
In the Western Termite’s high activity zones, one in five buildings are estimated to be afflicted, or to have been afflicted in the past ten years.
These termites are white or off-white in color, and have a social structure very similar to that of common black ants: a queen lay larvae which grow to either be workers, soldiers, or winged breeders.
Western termite nests swarm during wet periods, when it is most ideal for a young king and queen termite to establish a new colony.
A well established western termite colony can easily contain several million insects. Untended, they are capable of literally destroying a house, or any other wooden structure. Their highly defensive instincts makes it an incredibly bad idea to disturb one of their nests.
Should you find that these termites have taken up residence in your home, contact a professional exterminator: do not do anything that will panic the insects. Should an alarm be raised, they will scatter and cause even more damage, and possibly establish other colonies within the building.