Useful Facts About Termites

Termites have been around since time immemorial, but it remains as probably one of the most misunderstood and underestimated pests out there. Some people easily dismiss their destructive powers, partly because of their small size and their unobtrusiveness while wreaking havoc.

Despite the damage they can potentially cause, termites we need termites because they are important to the environment. When they are in their natural habitat – not in our homes – they help break down decaying wood into the soil and help break down animal faeces.

Here are some fascinating and interesting facts about termites that can hopefully help you understand these insects a little better. As the saying goes, “Know thy enemy.” If you know what you’re dealing, you’d know how to react properly if a termite inspection happens in your property.

Things you need to know about termites

1. Termites are found everywhere

Termites can be found in the wooden areas surrounding your home. They build underground tunnels to help them travel to where there are food sources, which may include your home. Termites can travel up to about 100 metres to find food.

In Australia, a significant portion of properties stand close to where termites live, so the likelihood of termite infestation is high.

2. Termite damage can be very expensive

Damage caused by termites can be more expensive than damage caused by fire or natural disasters.

In Australia, the cost of repairing termite damage can amount to between $5000 t0 $10,000. Add in the cost of treatment, the cost could go up to between $30,000 to $100,000, depending on the size and location of your home.

3. Alates can be misidentified as ants

Flying termites, or alates, are different from ants. Termites have straight antenna while ants have curved ones. Termites have a straight torso, while ants have pinched bodies. Termite wings are all similar in sizes, while flying ants have back wings that are shorter than the front wings.

4. You can’t go DIY with termites

There are commercial products for eliminating termites, but you can’t be sure that you can get them all. You need the expertise of professional pest control technicians to identify, treat and control termites effectively.

5. Your home needs termite protection

The incidence of termite infestation is high in Australia. In numbers, 1 out of 5 houses, or anywhere between 130,000 to 180,000 houses, in Australia are attacked by termites each year.

This is why termite protection in the form of barriers, manual and chemical, are a must in each Australian home. This is an effective way to be proactive against termite infestation.

6. Termites are more active during summer

Termite activity tends to be higher during the warmer months when they are storing food for the winter. However, in a subtropical climate like in Australia, termites are active all-year round.

7. Termites may live underground but they leave signs of their presence

They may be sneaky, but termites do leave signs of their presence. You might be facing a termite infestation if you see these following signs: wood that sounds hollow when tapped, cracked or bubbling paint, mud tubes on exterior walls or crawl spaces and a temporary swarm of winged insects around your home, especially the windows and doors.

8. There are simple ways to prevent termite infestation

Here are simple ways to protect your home: install screens on exterior vents; store firewood and lumber away from your home; eliminate moisture from your home by repairing leaky pipes and other fixtures that are prone to leaks.

Need termite treatment services? Call our team of professionals today!

Fun facts about termites

1. Termites are excellent natural architects

Termite mounds are considered one of the most fascinating and excellently designed animal-made structures in the world. It is so impressive that it gets to outlive its builders, remaining standing long after it has been abandoned. It is not uncommon for other insects to take up residence in the ruins of a termite colony.

2. Termites work 24/7

Termites never sleep! However, there is both a positive and negative sides to this. Their amazing colony is the result of their tireless work. On the other hand, a termite infestation can do significant damage fast because termites don’t rest.

3. The queen lives a long life

Queens live for a long time. Some species live up to 25 years and others for 50 years. Though, workers tend to live for a year or two, this is offset by the queen’s ability to lay many eggs every single day. This longevity is probably a huge contributing factor to the resilience of termite mounds.

A termite mound can be quite enormous, so huge that it can fill a truck full of termites. No kidding! A truck full of termites is real and quite scary.

4. And there is a king

A queen will not be complete without her consort – the king! The king lives a much shorter life than the queen and will live without if the queen suddenly dies. The two of them release a pheromone to suppress the reproductive ability of other termites.

After a few years, when the colony has become more established, they allow other reproductive, call alates, to leave the colony, find their mate and establish their own. The queen and king hole up inside the royal chamber from the beginning of the colony and never, ever get out.

5. Termites are all about hygiene

Termites are very diligent when it comes to hygiene. They need to keep their colony clean to keep bacteria and germs away as well as parasites. The microorganisms pose a threat to the survival of their colony.

6. Termites fart

The special bacteria found in their digestive tract allow termites to break down cellulose, a material found in wood. They emit termite gas, which is odourless and undetectable. However, termite gas has methane, a greenhouse has. Termites contribute to climate change as they account for up to 3% of the methane emitted into the atmosphere.

This figure would have been higher if not for the fact that termite colonies foster the growth of certain species of bacteria that utilise methane as their main source of energy.

7. Most termites can’t see

This shouldn’t be a surprise since termites live underground for the most part. Only the queen and king have eyesight, but they are weak. The other termites don’t need eyes to get around. They use chemical markers and bang their heads to travel from place to place. Sometimes the banging is loud enough to be heard throughout the tunnels, or mud tubes.

8. Termites produce a sound

One of the signs of termite infestation is the sound they make, and you can hear it if you listen attentively enough. The headbanging they do would not be heard by human ears, but you can hear them work as they dig a tunnel throughout the timber foundation of a home. With the use of a stethoscope, you can hear the distinct banging sound they produce.

Termites also make rustling sounds as they chew away at the wood in your home.

These facts are all useful, but we can all agree that the only thing we should know about termites is how to get rid of them.

However, termites are believed to pre-dated humans, so their total eradication is likely impossible and should not be made the goal in termite control. Termite infestation, always call for professional assistance from licensed pest control technicians.

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