Friday, September 5, 2014

Agricultural termites

It's that time of year again.  I just received my first call today.  Termite season!  What?  Termites are usually a problem in the spring you say?  While that is true for some types of termites, I get most calls on agricultural termites in late summer into fall.  Since we've been getting sporadic rain about town the past few days, I imagine that I will be getting more questions on these in the coming days.

Agricultural termite mud tubes covering Bermuda grass.  Photo by Al Haegelin.
Agricultural termites are not like drywood termites or subterranean termites in that they prefer live grasses and weeds to feed upon instead of dead wood.  Because of this, agricultural termites usually do not attack structures.  They will make mud tubes covering vegetation to provide them protection while they are feeding.  These termites are often found in large fields growing forage, but can sometimes also been found in more urban settings such as lawns or sports fields.

While agricultural termites are not usually considered a pest, large populations can cause problems in forage crops or turfgrass.