Heterotermes aureus, or the “desert subterranean termite,” as it is commonly known, is the most destructive and economically damaging termite species in southern California. These termite pests are known as “generalist feeders,” which means that they will infest and feed upon virtually every type of natural and finished wood source that they encounter, including hardwoods.
The desert subterranean termite can be found throughout the Sonoran Desert, but their population numbers decrease in more northern areas of California. While desert subterranean termites are not rare in Ventura County due to this species’ preference for inhabiting hot and arid coastal areas, western subterranean termites and western drywood termites tend to pose the greatest infestation threat to homes in the county.
Drywood termites inflict massive amounts of property damage every year in California, and unlike subterranean termites that initiate structural infestations from their ground soil habitat, only swarming termites from drywood termite colonies establish structural infestations while indulging in their seasonal mating flights. Despite the vast amount of research conducted on desert-dwelling termite pest species over the years, experts know very little about how swarming drywood termites select natural and finished wood sources for colony establishment. This is unfortunate, as drywood termites would be better controlled if researchers knew which types of homes the pests are most attracted to.
Many researchers believe that swarming drywood termite alates naturally take flight into areas where natural and dead timber sources appear to be abundant, which makes sense, as drywood termites can only establish new colonies with dead wood sources. Some research has indicated that drywood termite alates orient their flight paths toward unpainted and light-colored wood sources on the exterior walls of residential homes and urban buildings. This theory seems reasonable, as the erratic flying style and poor eyesight possessed by termite alates may cause the pests to mistake densely grouped houses in neighborhoods with densely grouped trees in wooded areas. Also, ongoing and aggressive urban expansion projects in California have robbed native termites of their natural habitat within a relatively short period of time in the state. Naturally, termites in California will need time to acclimate to the new and unrecognizable manmade environment that they have suddenly found themselves inhabiting in many areas of the southwest
Do you know when drywood termite swarms occur in Ventura County? Contact us for a termite control estimate!