It’s a common joke made by real estate agents that if you live in Phoenix, the question isn’t if you’ll get termites but when.
When you discover you have a termite infestation, it can feel like a fast process for the termites to march in and take over your home and yard.
That’s not quite how it happens. Termite colony maturation to the point that you notice takes years, making it important that you call a professional pest control company at the first sign of termites.
Early Termite Colony Life
For the first two years of a termite colony’s life under your Phoenix home, there is slow growth that begins with a queen and king, less than a dozen young offspring, also called nymphs, and maybe one soldier. The queen is just beginning her 7-10 years of peak egg production. By the third year, there will be approximately 400 termites including as many as eight soldiers.
The size of all the termites in a young colony is smaller than in a mature colony but don’t let their size fool you. They can still build a nest and mud tubes and do damage to wood in and around your home.
Termite Colony Maturation
Colony size varies depending on the species. The two most common species of termites found in Phoenix are the drywood and subterranean termites. Drywood termite colonies max out at about 4,800 termites. Subterranean termite colonies are below the soil and grow to a max between 60,000 and 1,000,000 termites.
Yes, you read that correctly, ONE MILLION termites. Those are the colonies that have taken over large areas.
When you neighbor tells you they have termites, call Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Elimination immediately.
Termite Swarming & Budding
Once a colony reaches its maximum, a new colony will be formed through swarming or budding. Often mistaken for flying ants, young termites grow wings, sexually mature, and literally leave the nest to make it on their own.
Swarmers have wings that are long, narrow, and equal size, and their bodies are darker than the rest of the termites in the colony. While they have wings, they aren’t skilled at flying long distances. They are often carried by the wind to a new home where a new king and queen mate to start a colony.
Budding is used much less often as a way to grow a termite population. It typically happens when a colony is separated from its queen by reason of storm or other natural disaster.
When this occurs, supplemental reproductives take on the role of queen to grow the colony.
Termite colonies are particularly active during rainy, warm seasons like the Phoenix monsoon and it’s the reproductives that cause termite colony maturation.