The word ‘termite’ may strike fear in the heart of any homeowner, and for good reason. The critters cause over $5 billion in damage every year to structures, and homeowners’ insurance does not usually cover the cost. Despite the problems they cause though, termites are incredibly interesting creatures. Below are the ten most fascinating facts about termites to help you better understand where these bugs come from, and how they behave.
1. Queens are Important
Many insects live in colonies that are ruled by a queen, and that holds true for termites as well. Termite queens generally live anywhere between 15 and 30 years and during that time, they can produce hundreds, if not thousands, of eggs every day. Without a queen, a termite colony would quickly crumble.
2. Kings Play a Role, Too
While queens may be regarded as the most important termite in a colony, kings have an important role to play, as well. They fertilize the eggs that support the colony’s population, and they also chew food for young termites to provide them with their meals.
3. Swarmers are Particularly Interesting
Termites sometimes leave their colony to go from one of their own. To do this they need wings. Once swarmers have found the location for their new colony, they then shed their wings, which is often the first sign to homeowners that they have a problem. While sometimes, swarmers will simply discard the wings, other times they will eat them as a supplement to their meals.
4. Built-In Security Systems
Although termites are known for eating wood or more specifically, the cellulose found within it, not all termites take on this role. Termite soldiers have larger heads than other termites and they use them to bang their heads on walls when they sense danger. The sound created from this banging alerts all other termites in the colony that there is danger nearby.
5. The Smell of Termites
Homeowners are not generally made aware of the presence of termites through smell. However, just like ants, termites will leave a pheromone tail behind them. This guides other termites in the colony to a food source, identifies new locations to nests, and helps recruit new soldiers.
6. Their Diet is Not Always Delectable
Eating wood can wreak havoc on a digestive system, even a termite’s. To prepare for this, termites will often eat the feces of other termites in the colony. They do this to consume the microorganisms necessary to protect their system so they can start gnawing through fibrous wood.
7. They are Great Sharers
The fact that termites often share their food is one of the most effective methods of termite control. Through a process known as ‘proctorial trophallaxis’ termites consume food while also bringing some back to the colony to feed younger termites. That food often includes bait so when a trap is set, it eliminates far more than just one or two termites.
8. Cleanliness is Key
Termites face a number of dangers within their colony, including the fact that bacteria and parasites harmful to the critters may infiltrate it. To prevent this from happening, termites regularly clean each other and when the queen is in a reproductive cycle, the workers will clean her, as well.
9. Termites have been Around for a Long Time
It is easy to see why termites are so difficult for homeowners to get rid of once they have infested a home. Termites have been around much longer than people. In fact, these little critters were around during the Cretaceous period, the same timeframe in which the Tyrannosaurus rex and triceratops dinosaurs wandered the earth. Recent scientific research has also shown that a lesser-known dinosaur, the Albertonykus borealis, consumed termites as a regular part of their diet.
10. Blind as a Termite
It should not be surprising that termites are blind. They spend most of their time in walls and foundations, which are fairly dark places. As such, they have no need for sight but instead, they use their antennae, which have moisture-sensing receptors to direct them to their food source. However, while worker termites and soldier termites are certainly blind, queens and kings are not. They use their vision to help them find a mate.
A Washington Termite Control Company can Eliminate Your Problem
It is true that termites are fascinating creatures. Still, that does not mean you want to share your home with them. If you believe you have a termite infestation, our pest control experts in Idaho, Oregon & Washington and its surrounding areas can help. At Pointe Pest Control, we know the effective solutions to use against termites so you can take your home back once and for all. Call us today at (866) 633-1573 or contact us online so we can visit your home and provide you with a free estimate.