Extension Notes By Gus Westerman, County Director
State of Possibilities
It is still early in the year for insect issues, but I have already had several folks inquire about termites. As the soils begin to warm, they are beginning to become active and we will see emergences in the coming weeks as the snow recedes. Early emergences can occur in basements or crawl spaces where it is warmer this time of year. Termites DO live in Colorado and in Dolores County. At least five species of termites live in Colorado, with the native arid-land subterranean termite being the most abundant. Problems with termites are far less common in the state, however, than in more humid areas of the country. But, with more irrigated landscapes, which increases soil moisture, comes an increase in termites. You might suspect termites in your home if you see winged creatures flying about. Such flights typically occur in February and March and may involve scores of insects.
These reproductive termite forms can resemble winged ants, but on close examination you will note several differences. Winged ants, for example, show a pinch at their “waist;” they feature elbowed antennae and possess hind wings that are smaller than front wings. Conversely, termite wings are of equal size, their antennae resemble a straight string of small beads, and termites lack any constriction in the mid-section of their bodies. We have a CSU Fact Sheet on the difference between ants and termites that clearly points out the differences.
Termite infestations can and will cause serious damage to your home if left untreated. Termites are very much a problem in the Dove Creek area and homeowners need to be on the lookout for this problem. Always contact a professional exterminator and get several bids that should include the length and conditions of the warrantee on the work performed. I do not recommend that you try and treat this problem yourself.
In nature, termites are scavengers which break down brush, dead trees and other woody plant materials that accumulates on the forest floor. The products of this breakdown process are returned to the soil as humus which helps complete the necessary plant-soil cycle.
Until recently, it was thought that the only termite found in Colorado belonged to the group known as subterranean termites, however, it has now been confirmed by Colorado State University Entomologists that one of the drywood termite species has become established in several Western Colorado areas. The importance of this discovery is that drywood termites can live and nest in sound dry wood and do not have to live and nest in the soil as subterranean termites do. The presence of drywood termites is not always obvious and is seldom noticed until damage is discovered. A behavior characteristic common to drywood termites is the construction of “kick holes” in the infested wood from which the insects push out small seed like fecal pellets. In fact, the accumulation of the very characteristic fecal pellets, or frass, near infested wood is used to diagnose drywood termite infestations. Homeowners can take certain preventative measures but chemical control usually requires the services of qualified pest control operators when drywood termite infestation is found.
Information provided by CSUCE and Dolores County.
Join us every Thursday in February from Noon to 2:00 in the Extension Office for the Ag Business Management Team Lunch and Learn Webinar Series. This is FREE an a very informative series that will help YOUR FARM BE MORE PROFITABLE!!
The upcoming topics will include February 13th: Using the Futures Market to Manage Price Risk, February 20th: Using the Options Market to Manage Price Risk, and February 27th: Price Seasonality, Selecting a Broker, Pre & Post Harvest Market Planning.
These are available to participate from your home however there is a fee. Call the Extension Office for details. The webinar format is interactive and will allow for live questions. Each webinar session will be recorded for review if you miss a session or for additional viewing to clarify concepts.
The Annual Fruit Tree Pruning Work-Colorado Research Center in Yellow Jacket, CO from 9:00am to 3:00pm. March 21st
There is still time to join the Dolores County 4-H Club!! Contact us for details!!
For further information concerning these topics or any other subject, stop in or call Gus, Oma, or Joey at the Colorado State University Dolores County Extension Office, 677-2283. Cooperative Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.