Termites: Unwelcome Hitchhikers in Soil?

I was at Wal Mart yesterday and basically had two choices of soil for the plants I wanted to propagate: Expensive potting soil with fertilizer and chemicals in it, possibly toxic for edibles, or inexpensive Wal Mart organic potting soil.
But I figure that with organic soil, there would be more risk for unwelcome guests such as insects or fungus. Particularly, I'm wondering if termites could have hitched a ride in the soil. We don't have a termite problem and I would hate to start one. I'll do my own searching, but I would appreciate links about termites, termite control and prevention (like how to keep them away from the house). I saw a winged insect carrying off some soil. Think it was an ant, though.
The soil is marketed by Wal Mart Associates and "guaranteed" by Swiss Farms Products. The name of the brand is Garden Basics, the type is General Purpose Soil. I'm in Alabama if that's any help, as the bag also said that the packaging is "regional."
Daniel Phillips snipped-for-privacy@toppler.zworg.com [+]bandito[-]spam = [-]toppler.[+]zworg.com Be warned, may mistakingly bounce back as spam.
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Daniel Phillips wrote:

Sounds like you're the kind of fellow who wants to play gardener, but abhors the thought of getting your fingers dirty. Why don't you do us all a big favor and commit suicide?
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On Tue, 01 Jun 2004 16:12:38 -0400, Anna Maize

Um, that's a bit of an unfair statement, isn't it? You don't even know me. Were you in a bad mood when you wrote that?
On the contrary, I don't like using gloves in my work because I find them restrictive. That's how I got a thorn in my hand as I was cleaning up some sunflower seeds that fell from one of my containers (birds...now how's THAT for getting one dirty? I clean the feeders too, you know.). I've planted two rosemary, a rose, and potted two day lilies without fuss. The rosemary is growing great, the rose is blooming, and the daylilies are due for repotting. I also have a container water garden, complete with two fish, water lilies, and a nice bog plant. I have to get wet in that icky green water as I dig down in the bottom to remove decaying matter for the health of the fish.
I'm not creeped out about bugs. I just don't like destructive ones. Can't you sympathize with my concern? This is a great house. Old, interior has wooden walls, lots of property for a suburb. Big trees that rival most of the ones on the street. This country is accused of not having good enough safety nets, you know, so it's up to me to take precautions.
Me commit suicide? Hardly. I'm more into making others feel better. However, I will consider suicide if the house becomes irreparable due to termites. Thanks for the suggestion.
Daniel Phillips snipped-for-privacy@toppler.zworg.com [+]bandito[-]spam = [-]toppler.[+]zworg.com Be warned, may mistakingly bounce back as spam.
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On Tue, 01 Jun 2004 21:02:45 GMT, Daniel Phillips transmitted this:

I would guess that unless a queen, or several, very lucky reproductive swarmers through some bad luck (yours) managed to end up in that bag or dirt, then you'd have a problem. I was told that subterranean termite workers can't stray too far from the colony, this by the exterminator that treated my house after my foot went through my floor. Since then I've sort of become an advocate for perimeter treatment of houses. :)
Of course, I still have an old termite nest somewhere underground where our old shed used to be. They ate the shed, they ate a weakened tree, and the exterminator says he can't treat the tree stump. Lovely to see the workers every now and then when I dig a hole to plant something. :P
The thing to always remember is not to let any dirt touch wooden framework, and if you start finding piles of sawdust/dirt, even if it's near a concrete wall, call an exterminator before whatever's causing the dirtpiles gets too far into the house.
Gaping holes in the floor with termites running amok as soon as the tiles are pulled up isn't even a good reason to end it all, believe me. It's actually fun chasing them down and getting revenge. >:)
On the other hand, I have no idea how "drywood" termites travel, so...good luck with the dirt.
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:) I would guess that unless a queen, or several, very lucky reproductive swarmers :) through some bad luck (yours) managed to end up in that bag or dirt, then you'd :) have a problem. I was told that subterranean termite workers can't stray too :) far from the colony, this by the exterminator that treated my house after my :) foot went through my floor. Since then I've sort of become an advocate for :) perimeter treatment of houses. :)
If you were to turn up a piece of wood and it had a number of termites, now exposed running about, a percentage of them would be secondary reproductives, so if that piece of wood (bag of mulch) was transplanted to a new location and there was sufficient moisture, some of those secondary repros would mate and a new queen would be made to now start a new colony. The only perimeter treatment to do would be with a product called Termidor, otherwise you will probably just push then to the interior of the home.
Lar. (to e-mail, get rid of the BUGS!!
It is said that the early bird gets the worm, but it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.
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On Sat, 04 Sep 2004 04:20:24 GMT, Lar transmitted this:

...the workers can reproduce?
The piece of wood in my case is the beam that runs under my floor (which couldn't be removed because it would've cost too much--long story), we didn't see any new activity from the time the exterminator treated the house and we pulled up the tiles to the time carpenter came to sister the beam and replace the plywood floor, which was about two months.
I'll ask the exterminator if he used Termidor. I certainly hope so. -_-
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:) ...the workers can reproduce? :) :) The piece of wood in my case is the beam that runs under my floor (which :) couldn't be removed because it would've cost too much--long story), we didn't :) see any new activity from the time the exterminator treated the house and we :) pulled up the tiles to the time carpenter came to sister the beam and replace :) the plywood floor, which was about two months. :) :) I'll ask the exterminator if he used Termidor. I certainly hope so. -_-
No they aren't workers, they are secondary reproductives. They will develop into the "swarmers" in the Spring. When you expose a bunch of termites a certain percentage will be workers/nymphs another percentage being soldiers, guarding the tubes that have to be fed by the workers and then a percentage of the secondary repros, expecting to be fed by the workers. If a mass of termites become isolated from the main nest, some of the secondaries can take over as being queen for the new colony.
Lar. (to e-mail, get rid of the BUGS!!
It is said that the early bird gets the worm, but it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.
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Daniel Phillips wrote:

If you are in Alabama you are lucky you don't already have termites! There is stage when Eastern termites are winged. My house just swarmed with them last month. <yuck> That could have been a termite you saw since they typically swarm down here in May.
I am curious, too, now if they can come in generic soil.
amy <in Mobile>
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On Tue, 01 Jun 2004 19:48:11 GMT, Daniel Phillips
:) Particularly, I'm :) wondering if termites could have hitched a ride in the soil. We don't :) have a termite problem and I would hate to start one. Many parts of the country have between 7 and 14 established subterranean termite colonies per acre...sure they wouldn't put the house at any more risk than it is now if they were able to be brought in by way potting soil. For what it's worth I have never heard of native subs being transported that way though I have heard of Formosan coming from the coast in mulch and timbers..dry woods could possibly hitch a ride that way too.
Lar. (to e-mail, get rid of the BUGS!!
It is said that the early bird gets the worm, but it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.
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Dan if you want decent potting mix for propogation purposes, ditch Wal-mart and go to your nearest aggie feed and seed store. " Blue Seal" is a New England name, I'm sure you have a local who provides the same stuff.
Pay the little extra for a 3 cu ft or 5cu ft bale of Pro-mix or Farfard. Choose a brand and stay with it, over years you'll be glad to have a constant mix and know the watering component.
Just my 2 cents
Sue Western Maine

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