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There are about 10 species of termite that can be found in the desert of the American Southwest. Desert termites are common termites that can most commonly be found in the arid states of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Desert termites, like all other termites, break down dead plant material back into the soil as usable nutrients. Desert termite nesting habits can improve soil conditions and help improve moisture retention.
Desert termites are often mistaken for subterranean termites because they both live in the soil. While subterranean termites are considered a structural pest that creates millions to billions of dollars’ worth of damage to property across the United States each year, desert termites do not damage man-made structures and rarely harm crops, grass or farmland. Instead, desert termites are considered a benefit to desert ecosystems.
Desert Termite Appearance
You might be worried that termites that you’ve seen near your property are subterranean termites because you’ve heard of their destructive nature. Desert termites have a light brown body and are about 3/8 of an inch long. Desert termite alates, or reproductives, are around 1/2 to 5/8 of an inch in length. The subterranean termite alates’ bodies are less than 1/2 an inch long. Desert termite alates’ wings and bodies are light-brown, while the body of the subterranean alate is black and has transparent wings with characteristic veins.
Desert Termite Behavior
Like all other termites, desert termites are social insects that live in large eusocial colonies, meaning that the colony is made up of different castes of termite, each with its own specific job.
Unlike subterranean termites who swarm during the day from January to April, desert termites swarm at sunset after a summer rain.
Find A Pest Specialist For Desert Termite Control
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