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Nowadays, the word termite only needs to be mentioned to throw a homeowner into hysteria. The dangers that termites pose are known far and wide. Despite this, people are still too uninformed or unaware that the problem can be prevented. You don’t need to wait until they show up and chew through half your foundation before approaching the problem.
That’s exactly how and why these destructive little invaders get away with racking up so much yearly in home damages. Most people don’t realize they have a problem until it’s so widespread that it could be considered an epidemic. This doesn’t need to be the case when you take advantage of our expert termite services. It is always best to head a potential problem off before it even evolves into a problem. And that’s exactly what we can help you do with termites. It all starts with a better understanding of the enemy.
Understanding The Termite
In all honesty, the only thing you need to understand about termites is how to keep them out of your house and keep them out for good. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, it requires a much better understanding of the predator and its social behaviors. A good pest technician can help put a proper termite pest control plan in place to do this very thing but taking the time to learn a bit more about the enemy is always highly advisable and extremely beneficial.
You’ll find that there are thousands of termite species. Some spread to the farthest corners of the earth, some in sub-tropic climates, some in rural areas, and some in the big cities. Even though there are a vast number of species, there are only two that homeowners likely end up contending with. Anything that makes the situation even more bearable is that all termite species are divided into a caste system.
All termites begin life as larva and grow into a nymph, but after a series of molts, each individual termite will take on a certain class. Some will evolve into workers, some will become soldiers, and some might even grow to be part of the reproductive class. It is only members of the reproductive class that might eventually grow into kings or queens. Soldiers and workers, as important as they are, will never evolve from a larvae-like appearance. Only the kings and queens fully mature.
Interestingly enough, these members can evolve or devolve at any time when the hive requires it. Soldiers and workers can become reproductive members. Reproductive members can even be bumped down to the working class. As you can likely imagine from the assigned caste names, each class is represented by a specific task within the colony.
Gathering And Feeding
Gathering food and keeping members fed are two of the most important tasks of any colony. It is the worker termites that are responsible for these tasks within the termite community. They not only gather the food, but they keep the soldiers and larvae fed. Some of these effective little crawlers can cover more than 300 feet in a single foraging expedition.
Workers are tasked with these jobs because they are the only members that develop proteins necessary to digest cellulose. They partially eat and digest food before distributing it to the other members. Soldier termites grow these large mandibles for defending the colony, which also happen to prevent them from feeding themselves. It is because of these large defensive mandibles that they require feeding. Workers also drop partially digested food into the mouth of the larvae, similar to that of a mother bird feeding her fledglings.
With all that in mind, it should be noted that termites are not sole wood consumers. When many people think of termites, the first thing they think of is wood destructive. Some species of termites do burrow into wood, but it is not the wood they are after. It is cellulose, which can also be found in various products. Anything from cardboard to old newspapers contains consumable cellulose.
As with any society, the members are going to require a safe place to live. It is also the worker that is tasked with the building of this nest. They uniquely create these nests by gluing dirt and other organic material to form walls or tubes. Workers are oftentimes required to leave the nests to forage for food. This is something they accomplish safely through tunnels. Tunnels that they construct themselves.
Despite their resilience and adaptability, these invaders do require just the right amount of moisture and humidity. Venturing into the open air could result in their downfall.
The Defense Of The Nest
It probably doesn’t take a pest control expert to surmise that it is the soldier termite that is responsible for the nest defenses. They protect the king, queen, workers, and eggs, as well as the colony itself. Soldiers develop oversized jaws that are used for injecting poison into threatening attackers. Although there is always only one king and queen in a colony, the numbers of workers and soldiers can vary.
The number of these classes will depend solely on the size of the colony. The colony always commits the majority of its resources toward establishing efforts. When the colony is young there will be more working termites, roaming about getting everything in order and developed. As the colony matures, many of these workers will grow into soldiers.
Another common activity within any colony is communication. Communication is also a necessity among the termite community. This is a task that is accomplished in one of two ways. Either through vibrations or pheromones. Members of the same colony can recognize each other through smells or scents. They’ll also be able to distinguish between various castes through smells.
The soldiers emit specific pheromones while the worker emits a similar yet different odor. Vibrations are an entirely different thing altogether. Vibrations are created by members banging their heads. Vibrations are most commonly used when there is a threat detected. The soldier will bang their heads on the walls of the colony to alert the other members to an unwanted presence.
These communication methods will sometimes be used when holes or tunnels need to be repaired. These vibrations can indicate where the repairs are needed. Despite the miniature size of termites, it is possible to hear or notice these vibrations inside your wall. It’s extremely rare, but there have been some instances when homeowners have reported detecting these vibrations.
Using a stethoscope can greatly help bring awareness to these noises.
No colony would survive or grow if it couldn’t properly reproduce. Termites are certainly no different. As you’ve likely already figured out, it is the reproductive members that are tasked with this job. When termites are ready to mate, these members grow wings and molt with a more durable exoskeleton. The wings are used for locating and inhabiting a new colony site.
Reproductive members usually leave the nest through a small hole where they’ll search for new potential colony sites. Once a site is located, they’ll drop, shed their wings, mate, and start the whole colony building anew.
Working With A Reputable Termite Professional
As you can see, the termite colony is one of many complexities. Because of their resiliency and unique abilities, they are much harder than common insects to eliminate. The best approach is to never let them become a problem. And that is something we’ll be more than happy to help you with. Call us for a free consultation, and we’ll come out to evaluate the home, identify weaknesses, and get your property set up with a termite prevention program that will help you sleep more soundly at night.
If you have any other pest control issues please check out other services.
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