I Have Not Seen Termites at My House…
Termites: Contrary to what some individuals believe, termites do exist in the Klamath Basin and are even common in some areas, especially the geothermal areas. The termites are attracted to the warm, moist ground conditions. If undetected, termites can cause extensive damage to the structural integrity of the home. The average homeowner has never seen a termite, mostly because termites are very secretive and are not readily visible to the untrained eye. Termites can burrow 25 feet or more underground and prefer to spend their life underground – away from light and air. They are able to detect sources of heat and are often seen first near water heaters or furnaces in homes. For further information, see the “Living With Bugs” guide.
Carpenter ants: Carpenter ants are active indoors during many months of the year, usually during the spring and summer. When ants are active in the house during late winter/early spring (February/March), the infestation (nest) is probably within the household. When carpenter ants are first seen outdoors in the spring and summer (May/June), then the nest is likely outdoors and the ants are simply coming in for food. The natural food for Carpenter ants consists of honeydew from aphids, other insects, and plant juices, but they will readily forage for water and food scraps within the house. Under natural conditions, carpenter ants nest in live and dead trees and in rotting logs and stumps. However, they will also construct their nests in houses, telephone poles, and other man-made wooden structures. Nests are typically started in deteriorating wood which has been exposed to moisture. Often, the colony will extend its nest to adjacent sound wood. Nests are commonly found in railroad ties used for landscaping and other wood in contact with the soil.
INTERESTING FACTS: Ants of the genus Camponotus are known as Carpenter ants because they house their colonies in galleries they excavate inside wood. Carpenter ants do not eat the wood they remove during their nest-building activities, but deposit it outside entrances to the colony in small piles. The wood is used solely as a nesting site. The galleries of carpenter ants are kept smooth and clean, and are not lined with moist soil as termite galleries are.
Powder post beetles: Powder post beetles in the larval stage of development bore through timber and create channels throughout the wood they have attacked. These channels greatly weaken the structural integrity of the wood. Beetles will continue to re-infest a wood source with their eggs until it no longer provides enough sustenance for them, which means they have reduced the once-sturdy timber to a hollow shell.
Dry Rot: The fungus that is commonly referred to as “dry rot” actually requires elevated moisture levels to begin growing and damaging wood. Dry rot is frequently found in areas of the structure that have minimal ventilation or where the installed vents have been covered over for extended periods of time. Once the fungus spores have started to germinate, the fungus grows through the wood and destroys the structural properties of the wood by secreting enzymes that turn wood cells into glucose, which the fungus uses for food, enabling the fungus to continue growing.