Friday, April 04, 2008

Subterranean Termites, Of Course

It is a warm spring day in Southern California. The first Allen’s hummingbird chicks left the nest on April 1 and 2. This year, I don’t mean to brag... but, I have four nesting Allen’s hummingbirds. So far all the nests are safe and sound and the little ones are growing fast. I would take photos but...

We had a soft, unmeasurable rain two nights ago. Follow that nocturnal dampness with two sunny days warming the ground and what do you get? Swarming
subterranean termites, of course.

I’d take a picture, but I can’t find the camera.

You’ll have to believe me when I say these small, black termites with their two pairs of fluttering wings harken back to primordial times. Their flight is less flying and more rising up, clinging to the air and hoping for a breeze. They just need to get far enough away from home to drop to the ground, loose their wings and start their own wood devouring colony of their own.

Does it surprise me to see swarming subterranean termites? No. Deep soaking winter rains encourage abundant flowers and the expansion of termite colonies. I’d love to show you a photo of the blooming photinia and flannel bush, but the camera is not to be found. (flannel bush at the top, photinia here, Michael found the camera) It is somewhere in the boxes of items that need to be moved back into the house after... you guessed it...TENTING FOR TERMITES!

We had dry wood termites. They are bigger, more reddish brown in color when they take flight. Subterraneans? No, we didn’t have those. But somewhere up the hillside, these little guys are living underground naturally. Now, they are taking to the air, floating down the canyon right toward out house.

Where are my western fence lizards when I need their hungry mouths? Where are the insect eating birds? Well at least the black phoebe has shown up and is snatching termites out of the air.

As soon as I find that camera...

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