For more than 250 million years, termites are one of the large group of insects that exist on Earth. With over 2,600 known termite species, they can be found on almost every continent. Where they can survive in nearly any climate, they especially thrive in and inhabit tropic and sub-tropic areas and cannot in polar regions due to the low temperatures. Because they devour decomposed a huge amount of decaying plant material, ecologically, termites are valuable insects. However, when they live in or near human developments their presence can be devastating in the billions of dollars a year in damage they do to residential, commercial, and other structures involving wood. They will also eat through furniture and other materials made from wood. Today, we at A-Tex Pest Management would like to take the opportunity to continue to share some interesting termite facts.
Termite Castes in a Colony
Generally, termites live in colonies, where there are workers, soldiers, and swarmers (the reproductive king males and queen females), as well as nymphs (the younglings). Each cast frequently has different coloring, sizes, and characteristics that allow them to perform their specific functions. Though they initially look similar to ants, they are more closely related to cockroaches. Mounds and tubes they use to reside in are built from the workers and are made of soil, mud, digest wood, saliva, and even feces. Not only do the workers build their nests, but they also maintain and repair them. One of the largest mounds on record was 42 feet tall (about the height of a two-story house). Protecting the mounds and the colony, are the soldiers. To alert the other termites of danger, the soldiers will kick the walls of the mounds. Since the soldiers and workers spend their whole life in the dark, they are almost completely blind. For mating purposes, the kings and queens are able to see. Female termites, generally, live from 15-25 years and lays about one egg every 15 seconds, resulting in up to 30,000 eggs a day. Being fast reproduces the termites accommodate millions of termites in their large mounds.
What Type of Wood Do Termites Eat?
There are some scientists that project that for each human on the planet, there is a 1,000 pounds of termites (about the weight of an adult cow). Typically, the various types of termite species eat living and decaying wood as well as some fungus that frequently develop on dying trees. Without help of the intestinal microorganisms, termites could not digest cellulose from the wood. To help them digest the food, there are more than 100 different species of bacteria and protozoa that live in their guts. Because the young termites are not born with the microorganism in their guts, they start to eat the wood in the fecal matter of adult termites, which also gets them the bacteria and protozoa they require by adulthood. Beneficial for both the microorganism, the tight interaction between the two is known as symbiosis.
What Eats Termites
Termites are prey for many other animals including larger bugs, birds, anteaters, aardvark, aardwolf, pangolin, and echidna. Additionally, in some parts of the world, termites are a special treat people enjoy eating.
Termite Pest Inspections, Control Treatments, Removal & More in Round Rock, Leander, Pflugerville, Cedar Park & Austin Texas
In Texas, there are subterranean termites, desert dampwood termites, and western drywood termites that the specialist of A-Tex Pest Management are qualified to eliminate if they infest your home or business. Call us sooner than later to prevent further damage if you know or suspect termites are infesting your home or business.