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How To Control Desert Termitesdesert termite

The most common type of termite known to target our homes are subterranean termites, and amongst this type of termite there exist several different species of subterranean termites. One of those types which are quite common in the Southwestern United States is known as the desert subterranean termite, or more simply, the desert termite.

Desert termites are almost exclusively found in the dry desert areas of the Southwest such as southern California, southern Arizona and some of the lowest deserts of northwestern Mexico. However, in recent years these termites have been going beyond the desert and have been reportedly found in parts of south and west Texas and going as far as appearing in Houston, Texas, which while hot and humid, is not a desert region.

What is quite different about the desert termite compared to other subterranean termites is that the desert termite doesn’t normally invade homes, tunnel into wood nor looks to damage the wooden structure of homes to satisfy their appetite. Instead, these termites typically feed on live, dead or decomposed plant materials for cellulose and are actually quite helpful for agricultural farmers who work on pastures and grasslands because their consumption of plant materials helps with rainfall filtration and promotes plant growth.

As their name suggests, desert termites thrive in the desert where the temperatures are high and the humidity is low. Desert termites commonly live in underground colonies where they create mud tubes to safely travel and forage for food and protect themselves from being out in the open. They also are known to live in desert plants like dead cactus.

Desert termites are not a threat to humans unlike their other wood-damaging subterranean termite cousins and can actually be beneficial to have on ranges, pastures and turf. At their worst, their eating habits and behavior may cause minor reductions in forage material for livestock.

If you have desert termites on your property and don’t want them around despite them posing little to no threat, Solutions Pest & Lawn can help you with our helpful DIY tips and product recommendations.

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To get rid of any sort of termite problem, you can use our trusty and proven Solutions Pest & Lawn 4 step process: identification, inspection, control and prevention. Desert termites are not known to harm or damage wooden structures and are actually benefit the environment however they can easily be confused with the more threatening termites. If you don’t want any termites on your property period, then these steps below can be helpful in successfully removing the desert termite population.


Step 1: IDENTIFICATION - It’s important to first properly identify the termites you see so you can distinguish the relatively harmless desert termite from the destructive other subterranean termites like the formosan termite. Desert termites are usually smaller in size to typical subterranean termites. Their body is a pale yellowish brown with a rectangular head and their body is flat and almost as wide as the head. The biggest distinguishing factor is looking at the swarmers. Desert termite swarmers measure between 1/2 to 5/8 inches long, whereas subterranean termites alates are less than a 1/2-inch long. The swarmer wings and bodies are light brown but subterranean termites have black bodies and transparent wings with veins.


Desert termite soldiers are also different in that they have slender and straight mandibles compared to the thicker and more curved mandibles of Formosan or Eastern subterranean termites. If you are having trouble properly identifying the termite, you can always reach out to us for help by taking a photo of the termite and emailing it to identification@solutionsstores.com. We will respond back to you with the proper identification and give you tips and product recommendations for control.


Step 2: INSPECTION - There are several signs to watch out for when checking to see if you have a sizable desert termite infestation. Desert termites themselves would be a good start but they can be hard to find since they are usually out at night and are very tiny. Other signs to watch out for are mud tubes, frass and swarmer wings. Desert subterranean termites are usually found out in the forage production area and prefer to forage in shaded soil or areas made wet by irrigation. What you also should look for during inspection of the areas that you suspect are infested are mud tubes. Desert termites will readily construct mud tubes up, over or around solid objects in order to reach a timber food source. These mud-tubes are slender, solidly built and pale yellow to tan in color. On rare occasions, desert termites will hang around structures in their search for timber and you may see narrow, free-hanging tubes from ceilings, shelves and overhangs. Arm yourself with a flashlight and take a look around to see if you have an infestation and where the highly active areas are.

Step 3: CONTROL - Once inspection is complete, you can then move onto control. Desert termites again are rarely ever a threat and they can in fact be beneficial to have around so there isn’t a true solid management option which targets desert termites. For desert termites you known are residing in the soil in turfgrass, the best way to control them is by treating the soil with a high-quality termiticide, such as Taurus SC. You can apply this termiticide via trench method. Another option is to use a Redeye Termite Monitor and stick it in the soil, the indicator will let you know if termites have gotten into the monitor and then you can inject FiPro Foaming Aerosol into the Red Eye to take care of the infestation.


Step 4: PREVENTION - To prevent desert termites from coming back after they have been eliminated during the control process, we recommend using a product called Reclaim IT and apply it using a poly sprayer around those areas which were infested. Reclaim IT is a repellent and will keep desert termites from coming back. Along with this we also recommend using Termite bait stations around your property to be used as a monitor for termite activity. Using these tools along with cultural methods such as practicing normal lawn care by using sufficient amounts of water and fertilizer, will overcome any future problems of infestations caused by desert termites.


Shop our desert termite products on this page. For more information, call us, email us or live chat with us on our website for free expert help. We are always standing by and eager to assist you.

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