What are the five things to know about termites?
- What exactly are termites?
- What are their general characteristics?
- What is their food?
- The environment can benefit from termites
- They communicate via chemical interaction
Termites are creatures known for their vicious appetite for wood. Chomping their way into destroying our homes. That’s what they’re notorious for. Termite control and other pest control operators in the Philippines, always make good work of exterminating them from your home, but never really provide facts about these creatures. They may be much more than just pesky pests. Let’s take a look at the five things to know about termites!
What exactly are Termites?
Termites are eusocial insects that mainly feed on vegetative matter for cellulose. Cellulose is an organic matter that is found in dead trees, plants, and wood. Termites are subterranean, meaning they thrive in dark places, ideally underground. They make their way into homes via underground tunnels. Houses left unchecked may fall prey to these subterranean pests, as the wood in your house is a perfect meal for their colony.
Termite colonies consist of over hundreds of thousands of termites that contain only one king and one queen. Depending on the termite species and their living conditions, their numbers may quickly multiply. That’s why most termite control services suggest having your house inspected at least once a year to prevent termites from spreading into your home.
What are their General Characteristics?
Termites work within a caste system each with their own specific role. A colony would have five different types of termites working under one socially organized system. This would consist of the workers, the soldiers, the reproducers, the queen, and the king. Each of the types of termites under a certain caste can be distinguished based on their physical characteristics.
The workers are the majority of a termite colony’s population. Due to their massive number, they are the most commonly seen types of termites. They are white-bodied and wingless. They collect food, help expand their home, and take care of the eggs and nymphs.
Soldier termites have a single and essential job for the termite society; their job is to protect the colony from any threats. Whether it’s an outside threat or an attack within the system of the colony, the soldier termites will handle any threats. They can be easily identified as they are generally larger and have a huge head with massive mandibles.
The reproducers or reproductive termites are tasked to expand the existing colony and find new places to thrive. These termites look unique. They have dark colored bodies and have a pair of wings. They take flight to look for new breeding grounds to start a new colony. Once they’ve found a new place to spawn, they will shed their wings and institute new colonies.
The queen is the heart of every termite colony. She is responsible for producing thousands of eggs in a single day. The queen is usually the hardest to locate as she must be strategically placed in a location that is far away from any harm. The queen is the largest, several times bigger than any member of the colony.
The King Termite is the second most important member of the colony. His job is to keep the population of the colony growing. There is little known about the king termite. But general, he is known to spend the rest of his life with the queen to reproduce eggs. Physically, the king is about the same size as a worker but darker.
What is their Food?
Termites love to feast on dead plants and wood. Their main source of nutrition comes from cellulose which is found in wood and plant byproducts. Though their diet is not limited to wood, leaves and dead plants. They are also known to consume plastic, paper, and other synthetic materials. This makes them one of the most caustic pests to invade a home.
The Environment can Benefit from Termites
Whenever we hear about termites, we get this sudden notion of house destroying pests constantly feeding their way through the wooden components of your home. But in nature, this may not be the case. More often than not, termites actually play a vital role in the environment. In forests, termites help decompose decaying trees and break down any plant fibers; giving way for new plants and trees to grow. Underground, they create tunnels that help aerate the soil. This helps improve the quality of life for new plants.
Termites Communicate via Chemical Interaction
Termites communicate through chemicals that they disperse wherever they go. This is excreted through a gland that is located on their chest. What’s interesting is that every colony has its own unique scent. No same colony will ever share the same chemical smell. This keeps members of the colony close. This chemical can also be used to control each other’s behavior and to influence how nymphs will develop.
These creatures are more interesting than they seem. In nature, they’re more than just pesky pests. Most of these things mentioned may not even be known by your pest control operator in the Philippines. Knowing more about these creatures may help you exterminate them faster and remedy your home. Knowing that they play a vital role in the ecosystem may be one of the most surprising facts about them. It just so happens that our homes are made with the same thing that’s in their diet.