Termites found in UAE  are ant-like insects. They have several sizes and colors. The queen and king – or reproductives – are large, winged, and black or brown in color. Soldiers, workers and immatures are much smaller, wingless and white or cream colored. Termites are social insects, living together in large colonies, and caring for their queen and her young. This document covers Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques for control of the two species in UAE, dampwood and subterranean termites. How to tell a termite from an ant. Termites are similar in appearance to ants but it is not difficult to tell them apart if you have a specimen to look at. A dampwood queen is about 1 inch long and workers are about 1/2 inch long. The subterranean termite queen is about 1/2 inch long and workers are about 3/16 inch long.


Note flexible antenna.

Note lack of “waist”.

May or may not have wings.

(Carpenter) Ant:

Note “elbow” in antenna.

Note “waist”.

May or may not have wings.

If you identify a termite, have an experienced pest control professional determine the species and extent of infestation. The methods used to control termites depend on which species you have. Dampwood and subterranean termites are the most common species in UAE. Subterraneans are the termites responsible for 95 percent of termite damage. It is possible to have both species infesting the same structure. Drywood termites may be imported in lumber from outside the state, but are not likely to establish a lasting colony

Facts about termites

Hazards of termites

Termites eat and tunnel into wooden structures and sometimes furniture. They may also attack stored books or other paper materials. Termite colonies grow slowly and the damage is done slowly. Because they are hard to detect, the damage can be extensive by the time it is discovered. They do not pose a risk to human health, only to property.

Benefits of termites

Termites are beneficial insects in the natural environment because they break down wood debris to convert it to soil.

They should be left alone if they are in a location where they are not bothering humans

Termite food Termites

only eat wood or wood products such as paper and cardboard. The workers and nymphs can convert the cellulose in wood fibers to sugar with the aid of a microorganism in their gut.

They feed other colony members through regurgitation and excretion of digested wood.

Attractive nest locations

They leave large numbers of fecal pellets in their wood galleries, however the pellets will not be seen unless the galleries are uncovered.

Subterranean termites live in moist ground and travel into the along the foundation to either wet or dry wood. They may live in wet wood if it is constantly wet.

Subterraneans are more common in eastern Washington.

They do not leave fecal pellets in their galleries.

The termite life cycle

New winged reproductives (kings and queens) swarm or leave the established colonies where they were hatched, usually on warm evenings and especially after rain.

If climatic conditions are right, termites may swarm at other times of the year.

The reproductives find a mate, find a suitable site, eat a gallery into the wood and seal themselves into it. The queen begins to lay eggs and both the king and queen feed their first offspring.

The eggs hatch as nymphs of one of three adult castes with different social tasks – soldiers, workers in some species, and reproductives.

When those first worker or soldier nymphs are old enough, they take over the task of feeding the reproductives and caring for the new eggs.

Workers and soldier nymphs are the ones that damage and feed on wood.

Unlike ants, workers and soldiers areboth male and female. Ants are the major natural threat, especially for a small, new colony. It takes several years before the colony grows large enough to swarm.

An established colony often has more than one pair of reproductives and may swarm every year.

Kings and queens live and reproduce for many years

If you see the following signs in your house, you might have termites:

  • sawdust-like droppings
  • dirt or mud-like tubes or trails on the structure
  • damaged wood members (like window sills)
  • swarming winged insects within the structure, especially in the spring or fall


Construction practices

Construction practices used by builders can be critical in keeping termites from invading your home.

A consultation with your builder, your pest management professional and your lending institution is important for meeting all local requirements.. A liquid termiticide application applied to the soil substrate before the concrete is poured is called a termite pretreat. This application is recommended for all structures particularly in the low desert areas.

Pre-Construction –

What you do before building your home may save you a lot of headaches afterward.

Contact your builder and work with him or her to agree upon a plan to prevent termites from invading your home.

Ideally, the time to protect a house against termites is before it’s built.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Remove all cellulose materials like stumps, roots and wood scraps from within 25 ft of the structure,
  • When possible treat the soil with a termiticide below the footer before it’s poured,
  • Make sure there is adequate drainage away from the house,
  • If ABC (Aggregate Base Concrete) fill is called for in the specifications, insist on leveling and packing this gravel based material as firm as possible,
  • Make sure the soil is level and adequately compacted within the concrete frame,
  • Concrete must be poured within 24 hours of the termiticide application, but the shorter the time interval between the treatment and the concrete being poured the better,
  • Avoid all non-treated wood to soil contact, particularly in high moisture areas,
  • Exterior woodwork should be located a minimum of six inches above the grade or soil lineyou disturb it contact your Pest Management Professional.
  • If you home is less than 5 years old it should have received a “final grade “ termiticide treatment, if the house is older there is a good chance that the final grade treatment has degraded, so inspect the stem wall at least twice a year

Chemical Barriers

Conventional Liquid Barrier

The standard in the pest management industry for termite control has been conventional liquid termiticides. The process consists of trenching and rodding a structure.

The procedure prescribes digging a 6” wide trench 6” deep around the structure.

All areas that butt up against the structure like a patio are down drilled. Down drilling consist of drilling 1/4” holes through the concrete approximately 12” apart so the termiticide can be injected into the holes.

Once all the trenches are dug and holes made the liquid termiticide is applied based on labeled instructions and maximum rates.

laws require full-labeled rates must be applied. The termiticide is applied to the trenches at the required 4 gallons of finished product per 10 linear feet.

Finished product is what comes out of the hose once the concentrated chemical and carrier in this case water is mixed together. In addition, the finished product is applied through the drill holes based on label requirements. Upon completion of the treatment, the trenches are backfilled with the extracted soil being mixed with the chemical in the trench. Drilled holes are plugged and sealed over.

If treatment is necessary inside the structure, this is done by down drilling usually adjacent to the infestation or possibly into the wall voids. Because of the nature of termites and the difficulty in conducting a through visual inspection, termites could return.

 A good treatment should result in an absence of termites visually after 3 months.

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