If you live in a region with a subtropical climate, where a termite infestation is common, you may have heard the ominous warning that there's nothing more insidious than a swarm of these creepy crawlers ready to pull your house apart. But as it turns out – they're capable of so much more! Read on to learn ten lesser-known facts about termites and their uncanny multi-tasking that'll change how you think about them.
What is a Termite?
Most people think of termites as pests that eat wood, but did you know that there are over 2,000 different species of termites? Termites are tiny insects that live in colonies, and they are related to cockroaches and ants. Termites eat cellulose, which is a type of plant fiber, making them especially fond of wood. Termites can eat up to 16 grams of wood a day!
Termites are found all over the world. They thrive in warm, humid climates. There are even some species of termites that live in cold climates. Termites play an essential role in the ecosystem. They help break down dead trees and other plant matter, which returns vital nutrients to the soil.
Subterranean termites are the most frequent termite in the United States, and they are notorious for inflicting substantial structural damage to thousands of houses each year.
While most people think of termites as pests, they can benefit humans, and some cultures even consider them a delicacy! Termites are high in protein and fat, and they have a nutty flavor that has been described as similar to shrimp or pork. If you're feeling adventurous, why not give them a try?
How does a termite infestation happen?
A termite infestation can happen in two ways: swarming or mud tubes. Swarming occurs when the colony gets too big, and the termites need to find a new place to live. The termites will swarm in large numbers, often during the springtime. Mud tubes happen when the termites are looking for a way to get to the food, shelter, and protection for termites against raiding predators. The termites will build a tube of mud that they can use to travel between the ground and the food source.
What do termites eat?
Termites eat wood, paper, and other cellulose materials. Cellulose is a type of carbohydrate that is found in plant cell walls. Termites eat wood from the inside out, which means that they can damage the structure of a building without being detected.
How can you get rid of a termite infestation?
If you think you have a termite infestation, it is essential to contact a pest control professional. A pest control company will be able to assess the situation and recommend the best course of action. Treatment options include baiting and chemical treatments.
Different Types of Termites
Most people are familiar with the term “subterranean termites.” These are the ones that live in the ground and build huge colonies. However, there are multiple distinct species of termites.
For example, did you know that there are dry wood termites? These termites live in wood that is not touching the ground, and they can cause just as much damage to your home as subterranean termites.
There are also damp wood termites, which live in wet or moist wood. These termites are not as common as dry wood or subterranean termites, but they can still cause damage to your home.
Finally, there are Formosan termites. These termites are initially from Asia, but they have now been found in several parts of the United States. Formosan termites are especially damaging because they build such large colonies, and a single colony can contain millions of termites!
Signs of Termite Infestation?
There are several signs of termite infestation that homeowners should know. One of the most obvious signs is the presence of termite swarms. These are small, winged insects attracted to light, and they are usually seen in late spring or early summer. If you see termite swarms around your home, it's a good indication of an infestation nearby.
The appearance of mud tubes is another indicator of termite infestation. These are small tunnels that termites build to travel from their nests to food sources. Mud tubes are usually about the width of a pencil and can be found on walls, floors, or ceilings.
If you believe you may have a termite infestation, it's essential to call a professional pest exterminator as soon as possible. Termites can cause a lot of damage to your home if left unchecked. A pest control company will be able to assess the situation and determine the best course of action to get rid of the termites.
Emergent Termite Prevention and Control Techniques
One of the most surprising things about termites is that emergency prevention and termite control techniques are available to help keep them from causing severe damage. If you have an infestation, you can use methods like baiting and trapping to get rid of them. You can also use pesticides, but these should be used as a last resort.
Another surprising thing about termites is that they are more active during the year's cooler months. This means that if you live in an area with many termites, you need to be extra careful during the winter. Be sure to seal any cracks or holes in your home and regularly check for signs of infestation.
Overall, there are many things about termites that might surprise you. They are more than just pests – they can cause severe damage to your home. But there are ways to prevent and control them, so don't hesitate to take action if you think you have an infestation.
In conclusion, there are many things about termites that might surprise you. For instance, did you know that termites are beneficial for the environment? That's because they help break down dead wood and other organic matter, which helps fertilize the soil.
Termites are also crucial for the food chain, and they are a food source for many animals, including birds, reptiles, and small mammals.
So, next time you see a termite, don't be so quick to kill it. Remember, these insects play an essential role in nature.
However, if you suspect your home has a termite infestation, your best course of action is to contact a professional pest control company.