Arizona Termites or Subterranean termite species H. aureus is responsible for removing dead wood from our desert landscape, returning nutrients to the soil and bringing soil from lower strata to the soil surface. Unfortunately, our houses either are built out of cellulose (dead wood) or have a large amount of cellulose material within the structure. H. aureus are active 24 hours a day. If left untreated for a long period of time, they can do large amounts of damage to your structure.
They are the most common species of termite in Southern Arizona extending from the middle part of the state on south into Mexico. H. aureus does very well in the hotter, dryer climates of the Sonoran Desert. They forage for new food sources through exploratory tunnels or tubes made of soil, excrement and decayed material. They create a system branching out from the core of the colony in search of new food sources. And when a new food source is present they communicate to the rest of the colony through pheromones.
They are social insects and different castes within the colony performed assigned duties.
The worker caste feeds the colony and is responsible for the destruction of homes. A process called trophallaxis, which is the mutual exchange of regurgitated liquids between adult social insects and larvae, is used to feed the colony. This is important in obtaining control with certain treatment methods.
The soldier caste is responsible for defending the colony from invaders. Soldiers have large mandibles used to fight invaders and predators of the colony. They are unable to feed themselves and depend on the workers to feed them.
The reproductive caste consists of kings, queens, reproductive alates and supplemental reproductives. There job is to reproduce.
Arizona Termites are among the most successful groups of insects on Earth. The social organization is amazing and has ensured the survival of termites for hundreds of millions of years. They are here to stay and will be a constant battle for pest management professional in years to come.