Drywood Termites and Subterranean Termites

Drywood termites and subterranean termites are among the common most termite species. An infestation of termites can be destructive. In this article we discuss the signs and treatment methods of termite infestations.

Termites are classified under order Blattodea of which cockroaches are the other members of the order. Ants, on the other hand, are from order Hymenoptera which includes other insects such as bees, wasp and hornets.

Termites are eusocial insects which practice an advanced level of social organization. Unlike many other animals, termites practice division of labor and they live in colonies. Inside each colony, the individuals are divided into different castes, each having their unique duties to play in maintaining a proper functioning colony.

The Termite Society

In a termite colony, there are workers, soldiers, and reproductives which consist of the king, queen and alates. Termite workers are the ones responsible to find food for the other members of the colony so they are the culprits behind the damage we suffer from a termite infestation.

Their other responsibility includes maintaining the proper functioning of the nest, looking after the young ones as well as feeding the other members of the colony. The soldiers are responsible to guard the nest and protect it from intruders. The king and queen are involved in the reproduction of new offspring while alates are termites with wings that venture out to mate and establish a new colony.

Dampwood termites, drywood termites, or subterranean termites?

Termites can be divided into three types based on their behaviors and habitats.

Dampwood termites are termites that rely greatly on moisture to survive. They can be found in damp and decaying timber. Dampwood termites play an important role in the regulation of nutrient cycle in the natural ecosystem.

In contrast to dampwood termites, drywood termites are less dependent on moisture. They build their colonies in wooden structures and furniture and are able to glean water from the wooden materials to meet their needs.

The third type of termites is subterranean termites. Subterranean termites are dependent on moisture so they build their colonies underground or build mounds on soil to derive water from soil.

Among all the different types of termites, subterranean termites and drywood termites have more impacts to humans compared to dampwood termites. Subterranean termites and drywood termites are important urban pests because they can cause serious damages to human properties so they are given more attention by the pest control industry.

What are the signs of termite infestation in your house?

There are some tell-tale signs that indicate a termite infestation. Look out for the following signs of termite infestation to see whether your house is safe from termite infestation.

1) Wood powder near wooden structures or furniture

If you have been noticing fine, sawdust-like wood powder around your house, chances are your house might be infested by wood-boring insects such as wood-boring beetles or drywood termites. The wood powders are in fact the excretory wastes of the insects and they are also known as fecal pellets. The fecal pellets are found when drywood termites push out their feces out from the exit holes that can be found on the surface of the infested items.

2) Mud tubes

Mud tubes are tunnels constructed by subterranean termites to provide a sheltered pathway when they venture out of their nests to forage for food. They protect subterranean termites from desiccation as well as predators by isolating them from the external environment. The presence of mud tubes is an obvious sign of a subterranean termite infestation. When an active mud tube is disturbed, subterranean termite workers and soldiers can be observed.

3) Flying termites

Alates or swarmers are termites with wings. The wings enable them to fly out of their nests to mate. Subterranean termite swarms are larger and contain more individuals compared to that of drywood termites. Once an alate finds its “life partner”, they will settle down and establish a new colony. Termite swarms are one of the most obvious signs of termite infestations.

How to treat termite infestations?

What are some of the most effective treatment methods for termite infestations?

1) Baiting

As mentioned earlier, worker termites are the only ones in a termite colony that are able to forage for food. They feed and share their food with the other nest mates through a process known as trophallaxis. Baiting is used in the management of the subterranean termite infestations because it is able to eliminate the entire colony of subterranean termites. It involves feeding subterranean termites with baits that contains active ingredients that kills them. The entire colony collapses as baits are passed around the colony members, causing them to die.

2) Soil Treatment

To eliminate a subterranean termite colony, its nest, which is located underground, must be targeted. Soil treatment is usually done by injecting termiticides into the soil. Depending on the type of termiticide used, soil treatment is able to kill or repel termites that come into contact with the treated soil. Non-repellent termiticides are effective in eliminating subterranean termites while repellent termiticides create barriers that subterranean termites shun.

3) Treating the Infested Wood

Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites cannot be treated using baiting and soil treatment as their colonies are located inside the affected wood and not underground. Drywood termite colonies are usually smaller compared to that of subterranean termites and are found inside infested timbers. When treating an infested timber by soaking them in or injecting them with termiticide, you may get rid of the termite colony. The best way to prevent the spread of drywood termite infestation is by discarding the infested items or timbers.

Termite infestations are destructive so they must be taken seriously. While there are measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of termite infestations, early detection of termite activities and proper treatment methods will minimize the damages cause by termites.


Fumigation Treatment

Fumigation Treatment: All You Need to Know

Fumigation treatment – The never-ending battle between humans and pests has led to the rapid development of pest management services in Singapore. The wide-ranging pests and their nature of behaviour can interfere with human activities. The difficulties of controlling pests – due to the limitation on certain treatments’ application – has led us to using fumigation treatment to deal with severe pest issues.

Fumigation treatment in Singapore is usually carried out in the freight, shipping, storage and food manufacturing industries. All fumigators must apply for training and licence from the NEA (National Environmental Agency). Beyond that, pest management companies are also responsible for the application of fumigation permits before they are allowed to carry out fumigation treatments in Singapore.

Fumigants in Singapore

Fumigation treatment is a unique form of action for pest management. It is usually adopted by pest management companies and clients when there are no other feasible forms of control to the target pest. However, most fumigants such as hydrogen cyanide, methyl bromide and hydrogen phosphide are toxic to pests as well as humans. Nevertheless, fumigation treatment has effective killing effects and has become an inevitable pest management method in Singapore.

Mode of action of fumigation treatment

Fumigation treatment is a process of release or dispersal of toxic chemicals onto the targeted pests. It can be very fast as the volatile nature of fumigants is able to pass through inaccessible spaces. It has almost no limit to penetrate any object as long as tiny pores are present on the surface of the treated object.  In other words, the entire structure is secured with the fumigation treatment. The toxic chemicals enter the pest body mainly through its breathing system.

Target pests in fumigation treatment

In general, fumigation treatment is helpful in dealing with all types of pests including stored product pests, wood borers, subterranean and drywood termites, bed bugs, cockroaches and even rats. It is often carried out in enclosed shipping containers, vessels and warehouses.

Fumigation on smaller structures such as infested wood and furniture is usually done for targeting drywood termites and wood borers. In this case, infested wood has to be removed and placed in an air-tight space to allow the proceeding of fumigation treatment.

Disadvantages of fumigation

One main disadvantage of using fumigation treatment is that there is no residual effect on the treated structure. Therefore, no residues remain in the treated spaces once the areas have been ventilated and cleaned properly. Hence, it does not help in protecting the treated structure from future pest infestations.

Since the knockdown effect of target pests depends on its respiration rate, low temperature of the treated environment may make the pest less susceptible. This is due to the fact that the lower the temperature of the surrounding, the lower the respiration rate of the pest.

Factors contributing to fumigation failure

Fumigation failures are common. It can be due to the improper application and pest resistance. In addition, inappropriate choice of fumigants and loss of fumigant through leakage in treated spaces can also affect the effectiveness of the treatment. Hence, a leak detector is sometimes utilized before the treatment.

Final note

Fumigation treatment, while seen to be effective because of its volatile and gaseous nature to target pests, can actually be harmful to human and pets. The excessive use and misuse of the fumigants not only pose harmful effects on human’s health but cause adverse effects on the treated commodity and property.

The use of it must be handled by trained and certified fumigators as they will have enough knowledge on its application and precaution steps before and after the treatment. Careful planning and application must be adopted before the treatment is carried out. The appropriate choice and use of fumigants are vital as it may cause fumigation failures and hazards to the environment.


termite infestations

7 tips to protect your home from subterranean termite infestations

Termite infestations – Have you found mud tubes forming on your wall or at the side of your cabinet? Have you seen discarded insect wings on the ground around your home? Have you heard hollow sounds when tapping on wood or timber inside your house? If yes, subterranean termites may have already established their nest inside your house! If not, now is the time for you to do some prevention.

Subterranean termites are known to be the highly destructive insect pests in the urban environment. Each year, about US$40 billion of damages were accounted worldwide. Their silent activities inside the structures can cause serious destruction well before you notice the infestation.

No one wants their home to serve as termites’ food. Getting rid of them can be expensive and repairing of damaged structures can be troublesome. Therefore, it is vital to protect your house before the intrusion of subterranean termite infestations.

Here, we discuss 7 tips to protect your home from subterranean termite infestations.

1. Ventilate and reduce moisture source

Understanding your enemy will help you better prepare against termite infestations. Hence, understanding the conditions that favour subterranean termite activities are important, for example their dependency on moisture. Moisture damage wood structures should be replaced as this types of wood is most welcoming for subterranean termite infestations. Moisture damage wood is one of the roots of moisture problems in every house. Ensure crawl spaces (floor joints and subf-looring) are properly ventilated to minimize the amount of moisture around the areas.

2. Maintain your building exteriors

Leaky pipes around your home need to be repaired to prevent water from leaking into wooden siding and windows.  Furthermore, trim all shrubs near home exteriors can help to quickly dry damp areas.

3. Use proper landscaping materials

Synthetic mulch can be used when landscaping. Unlike wood mulch, it does not feed termites and any other pest. Besides, pea gravel can be used for keeping your wood mulch from contacting your home’s foundation.

4. Reduce or monitor planter boxes around your home

Planter boxes abutting building wall can give the chance or facilitate the process for foraging termites to enter the building. Make sure there is no close proximity between planter boxes and building walls to avoid future subterranean termite infestations.

5. Use of wood polish

Wood polishes not only give a good looking appearance to the wood used but also provide a protective coat to the wood. It can also provide water resistance to the wood which helps reduce the moisture source for subterranean termites. Make sure wood polish is applied thoroughly on the wood surfaces including the edges and sides of the wood used to prevent any entry point found by subterranean termites.

6. Get your home inspected annually by an expert

Subterranean termites are the most highly destructive insects that can damage your home. Early detection of subterranean termite infestations can help to avoid financial burden. Hire a pest control professional who is trained in termite detection. They have adequate equipment and experience to look for the tell-tale signs of termite infestations.

7. Barrier treatment

This management treatment can be divided into treatment prior to construction (pre-construction soil treatment) and after construction (corrective soil treatment). Pre-construction soil treatment involves creating chemical barriers in the soil around and under the building foundation to prevent the intrusion of soilborne subterranean termites. Corrective soil treatment, in contrast, creates chemical barriers along the perimeter of the building.

The occurrence of subterranean termite infestations can become challenging to house owners to successfully manage on their own. Proper inspection and identification of the type of termites is a more efficient way to manage them.

Click here for further information. Killem Pest can solve your problem!


common pests in your garden

What Common Pests Are Found in Your Garden?

You may love spending time in your backyard and tending to your garden. Your children and pets also enjoy playing outside. Perhaps you grow flowers, or vegetables and fruit for you and the family to eat. However, many different types of pests enjoy the garden just as much as you do, and that can be a problem. Let’s take a look at some of the most common pests that like to hang out in the garden.

Bees and Wasps

If you see a bee or two in your garden, it’s not usually a sign to worry. In fact, bees are essential for pollination, and they can do your garden, and the rest of the gardens in the area, a favor. However, when it comes to wasps, or if you have too many bees that are causing problems, you may want to contact a bee or wasp removal specialist to have them removed because the stings are not only painful, but may also be fatal to people that are allergic to bee and wasp stings.

Bee on Flower

Snakes

Most people hate seeing snakes in the garden, and they do have the potential to be a problem. If you have non-venomous snakes that are small and not overly aggressive, they can help to control the rodent population, which is another garden pest we will discuss. However, if the snakes are venomous, if it is very big, if you are unsure about them, or if you simply have a fear and dislike for snakes, you should have them removed as soon as possible. This is an especially good idea if you have children or pets.

Garden Snake

Termites

If you notice termite mounds in your garden, this is a very bad sign and an indication that you already have an infestation. While those termites will not be interested in the flowers and vegetables you are growing, they will be interested in marching to your house so they can start eating the wood so get a termite control specialist in to remove them as soon as possible.

Termite Mound by Tree

Rodents

Rodents in the garden can be very destructive. They may start to eat at the items you are growing, and they are disease carriers. Nothing good comes from having rodents in the garden, and they may also decide to move inside your home where they can get at even more food and cause more issues.

Mouse

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are very dangerous, not just annoying. These pests carry diseases, such as the Zika Virus and Dengue. They breed in areas of standing water, which could be a bird feeder, a puddle, or a water collection bin. It is always a good idea to have someone take care of the mosquitoes before they become a problem.

Ants

Depending on the types of ants in the garden, it might not be a problem. Smaller ants can help with the pollination as they are crawling around the garden, and they can also help to keep caterpillars and other types of pests at bay. They do not generally cause issues by eating anything in the garden, but if you have a lot of ants, they could always decide to head inside. It might still be a good idea to contact pest control.

What Should You Do?

If you have pests in the garden, the best way to get rid of them is to call a professional for help. They can come and look at your problem, and then determine the best way to proceed and to provide you with a pest free environment.

If you would like more information on how Killem can help you keep your garden pest free, visit our residential pest control services page.


safe pest control with children

How to Carry Out Safe Pest Control with Children and Pets in Your Home

Safe Pest Control with Children and Pets in Your Home – Let’s be honest, no one wants to have pests in or near your home, especially when you have children or pets.

Infants and babies may be exposed to more pesticides than adults because they often spend more time closer to the ground, touching furniture bases or playing in the gardens where pesticides may have been applied. Infants and babies are also more likely to put fingers, toys and other objects that may have come into contact with pesticides into their mouths.

There are many different types of pests that can cause serious problems if they get out of hand, and you need to find ways that you can control those pests safely and efficiently, without compromising the health and safety of your children and pets.

You can do some basic things that will help to keep the pests out of your home, but there might come a time when you need to call in the professionals.

What Are the Most Common Types of Pests?

While there are many different types of pests that could be plaguing your home, some of the most common and intrusive include:

Ants

Cockroaches

Mosquitos

Rodents

Termites

Pests have the potential to destroy your home, get into your food and carry diseases. You should never have to live with pests. You should find ways to eradicate them.

What Are Safe Pesticides?

When it comes to choosing pesticides that you want, or you want your professional provider to use in and around your home, you need to be very careful. Many brands on the market are full of chemicals that could harm your children and your pets if it were ingested.

When you are choosing pesticides that you can use to deal better with the pests that you find, you should look for those that are organic and that do not have toxic chemicals in them.

One of the best things about working with Killem Pest for your pest control needs is that we use original, non-generic chemicals that are environmentally friendly and they have a low mammalian toxicity. This means that even if children or pets accidentally ingest the pesticide, they would not become ill.

In addition, you can do other things that will help to keep your children and pets safe. If you are putting out bait for rodents, for example, never leave it in an area where your children or pets could have access to it. They could put it in their mouth. Instead, put the bait into a locked bait station or in an area that cannot be opened or reached by children or pets so that only rodents can access it.

If the pest control company has come and sprayed, make sure that any of the residual spraying has dried before allowing children or pets into the area. Make sure your animals are not licking the plants or the walls where the chemicals were sprayed, too.

You should also always make sure your children wash their hands after they have been playing outdoors, and stress the importance of not touching any bait stations that you might have.

Pet Pest Control SafetyChild Pest Control Safety

How to Keep Pests Away

The following are some very simple and basic tips that can help you to control some of the pests in and around your home:

  • Keeping your food in airtight containers can help to control the influx of ants, as well as rodents and roaches.
  • If you have fruit that is left out on the counter, check it regularly to see if there are any bad spots on it, as this can draw fruit flies and other types of pests.
  • A natural type of pesticide that you can make at home is citrus oil. You can use equal parts orange peels and water, and simmer them. Remove the peels and put the water into a spray containers and then spray around the windows, doors, and other areas where pests might be getting into the property.

Call in the Professionals

Of course, when it comes to pest problems, sometimes, the DIY home pest control methods are simply not enough. You need to call in the professionals that can provide you with a thorough service and remove those pests for good no matter what type they might be.


what you need to know about termites

Killem Pest Profile Series: What you need to know about Termites

The Most Economically Destructive Pest

In our previous posts, we mentioned the different treatments that can be carried out to prevent termite infestations. Some of the more common methods include soil treatment, corrective soil treatment, rodding, baiting and dusting.

Common Questions About Termites

Are termites harmful?

Termites are the most economically destructive pests. In the US alone, it is estimated that termite infestations cause US$30 billion in damage to crops and manmade structures. In addition to the high economic costs involved with termite damage, the structural damage caused to buildings, ceilings and furniture is also a danger to humans.

Will termites bite humans?

Following on from above, termites feed on cellulose and are not known to bite humans or even other insects (although ants are the natural enemy of termites). Nevertheless, if the termite colony has no other sources of food or if the colony is threatened, termites may on the rare occasion bite humans. The bite is like a pinch, but the pinches are not believed to result in any illnesses or disease in humans

Can termites eat through concrete?

Termites feed on cellulose, which is an organic compound in the cell walls of plants and that wood is made off. Termites do not eat concrete, however they are very resourceful and will squeeze through tiny cracks and thus opening up poor quality concrete for more termites to get through. Once termites are inside, they build tunnels which get wider over time and therefore it appears like they have eaten through the concrete.

What are the main types of termites?

There are 3 main types of termites that can be found in Singapore: subterranean termites, drywood termites and dampwood termites. It is important to note that treatment varies depending on the type of termite.

Lifecycle of Termites

Termite Lifecycle

There are few physical differences between the workers and nymphs of the different species. As such, termite identification is based on the soldiers or alates as well as the damage that is left behind.

Dampwood soldiers can be as large as 20mm and have large mouthparts on the front.

Drywood soldiers have large mouthparts with teeth and are larger than those of subterranean colonies.

Subterranean soldiers are creamy white in colour, but their head is often brown. They do not have wings and have large mouthparts.

Termite Species

Drywood Termites – These termites do not like moisture and typically live in wood such as dead trees, structural timbers of hardwood floors. Unlike subterranean termites, they do not need contact with the soil as wood is sufficient.

Dampwood Termites – These termites live in wood with high moisture content such as decaying wood and trees that can be found on the ground.

Subterranean Termites – These are the most common species of termites in Singapore and require three things: food (wood or cellulose material), a consistent source of moisture and a moderate to tropical environment. They can be found in structural timbers in buildings and in soil greenery outdoors. These termites will build their nests underground.

Below are examples of the kind of damage Subterranean Termites can cause:

 

Subterranean Termite Infestation Wall PipeSubterranean Termite Infestation Wall Pipe

Tenacious Termites

Termites are social insects and live in colonies. There are many ways that termites can enter a property. Some of these include coming in:

  • Through construction joints
  • Through wall joints and cracks
  • Through floor cracks and slab penetrations
  • Through plumbing and electricals

From our experience, we have even found termite trails at the 43rd story of a building!

For more information on how Killem can help eliminate your Termite problems please visit our termite control page.


What Pest Control Services and Procedures are available from Killem?

With unwanted animals and bothersome insects interfering with daily activities and damaging our personal property, we find ourselves thinking of Pest Control. But, what is Pest Control exactly?

Effective Pest Control is a process of exterminating an extensive range of vectors and unwanted insects, through specific ways and methods, from spaces that we occupy on a daily basis. These spaces include our homes, offices, schools, shopping centres, and local dining areas. These pests are nuisances, and pose a significant health hazard to us and our loved ones.

In our warm and humid climate, Singapore provides a common breeding ground for pests such as Mosquitoes, Rodents, Common Ants, Cockroaches and Flies. These vectors are prevalent in our community, and find their way into our homes from places such as bin chutes, drains and local hawker centres.

Although, there are some home remedies and DIY solutions that might be able to get rid of these pests temporarily, a long term solution for your recurring vector problems, would be to engage a professional pest company.

Pest control is broadly split into three main areas: mosquito control, general pest control, soil treatment and anti-termite prevention.

Mosquito Control

Mosquitos are the most dangerous of pests as they are carriers of diseases such as dengue fever and the Zika virus. Some techniques used to eliminate mosquitoes include fogging, misting and spraying.

General Pest Control

This area of pest control includes control and prevention of flies, snakes, bed bugs, ants, cockroaches, bees, wasps. Appropriate treatments depend on the pests, for example spraying can be used to prevent and eliminate ants, cockroaches and bed bugs.

Soil Treatment and Anti-Termite Prevention

Termites are the most economically destructive pests as they can cause severe structural damage. Treatments include soil treatment, corrective treatment, rodding and anti-termite baiting.

You can find out more about termite prevention methods via our Termite Control Services page

At Killem Pest, we use the latest and most efficient technology to combat pest infestations, such as Larvasonic to eradicate mosquito breeding and electronic rodent traps to notify us when rodents are caught. Our office staff are trained to answer any questions you might have and to advise you on the most effective treatment.

Killem Pest Control Officer Spraying

In addition to our advanced technology and the professionalism of our staff, Killem Pest has also partnered with trusted companies, to ensure that the chemicals we use in our pest treatment, have been approved to international standards and are not generic. These chemicals also contain low mammalian toxicity, and are also extremely environmentally friendly Visit our pest control equipment and technology page, for more insight.

Join us in our next post, as we explain more about the different treatment methods we use to eradicate pests from our daily lives!