If you live in a subtropical area where termites are abundant, you may have heard the foreboding warning that nothing is more sinister than a swarm of these disgusting crawlers poised to tear your house apart. But, as it turns out, they're much more than that! Read on to discover ten lesser-known facts about termites and their amazing multitasking abilities that will change the way you think about them.
What is a Termite?
Most people think of termites as bugs that consume wood, but did you know that there are over 2,000 different species of termites? Termites, which are related to cockroaches and ants, are microscopic insects that live in colonies. Termites feed on cellulose, a form of plant fiber, hence they are particularly fond of wood. Termites have been known to consume up to 16 grams of wood every day!
Termites are found all throughout the planet. They thrive in hot, humid weather. There are also certain termite species that can survive in frigid areas. Termites are important members of the environment. They aid in the breakdown of dead trees and other plant matter, returning critical nutrients to the soil.
Subterranean termites are the most common termite in the United States, and they are notorious for causing significant structural damage to thousands of homes every year.
While most people perceive termites to be pests, they can also benefit humans and are even considered a delicacy in some civilizations! Termites are abundant in protein and fat, with a nutty flavor that has been compared to shrimp or pork. If you're feeling adventurous, why not give them a try?
What causes a termite infestation?
A termite infestation can occur through two methods: swarming or mud tubes. Swarming occurs when the colony becomes too large and the termites need to find a new home. Termites will swarm in great numbers, especially in the spring. Mud tubes form when termites are looking for a method to access to food, refuge, and protection from raiding predators. The termites will construct a mud tube that will allow them to transit between the ground and the food source.
What do termites consume?
Termites consume wood, paper, and other cellulose-containing materials. Cellulose is a carbohydrate that occurs naturally in plant cell walls. Termites consume wood from the inside out, which means they can cause structural damage to a building without being seen.
What is the best way to get rid of a termite infestation?
If you suspect a termite infestation, you must immediately contact a pest treatment professional. A pest control company can analyze the situation and advise you on the best course of action. Baiting and chemical treatments are two therapeutic approaches.
Different Types of Termites
The term “subterranean termites” is well-known to most people. These are the ones that dwell underground and form massive colonies. Termites, on the other hand, come in a variety of species.
For example, did you know that dry wood termites exist? These termites live in wood that is not in contact with the earth and can inflict as much damage to your home as subterranean termites.
Damp wood termites are another type of termite that lives in wet or moist wood. These termites are not as frequent as dry wood or subterranean termites, yet they can still do damage to your home.
Then there are Formosan termites. These termites were originally found in Asia, but they have since spread to numerous sections of the United States. Formosan termites are particularly dangerous because they form such vast colonies, with a single colony containing millions of termites!
Signs of Termite Infestation?
Homeowners should be aware of numerous indicators of termite infestation. The existence of termite swarms is one of the most evident symptoms. These are little, flying insects that are drawn to light and are most commonly seen in late spring or early summer. If you witness termite swarms near your property, it's a good sign that there's an infestation nearby.
Another sign of termite infestation is the presence of mud tubes. Termites construct these little tunnels to travel from their nests to food sources. Mud tubes, which are about the width of a pencil, can be discovered on walls, floors, or ceilings.
If you suspect you have a termite infestation, you should contact a professional pest exterminator as soon as possible. If left uncontrolled, termites can inflict significant damage to your house. A pest control company can examine the problem and identify the best line of action to eliminate the termites.
New Termite Prevention and Control Methods
One of the most startling aspects of termites is that emergency preventative and termite control strategies are available to assist protect them from wreaking havoc. If you have an infestation, you can get rid of it by using methods such as baiting and trapping. Pesticides can also be utilized, but they should only be used as a last option.
Another interesting truth about termites is that they are more active during the year's cooler months. This means that if you live in a termite-infested area, you need be extra cautious throughout the winter. Seal any gaps or holes in your home and check for signs of infestation on a regular basis.
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.
Finally, there are numerous facts regarding termites that may surprise you. For example, did you know that termites are good for the environment? This is because they aid in the breakdown of dead wood and other organic matter, which aids in the fertilization of the soil.
Termites are particularly important for the food chain because they provide food for numerous creatures, including birds, reptiles, and small mammals.
So, the next time you see a termite, resist the urge to exterminate it. Remember that these insects serve an important function in nature.
If you suspect your home has a termite infestation, your best bet is to call a professional pest control firm.