Every year termites do billions of dollars worth of damage to structures and crops. Nobody wants to hear that they have termites eating away at their home, but unfortunately, this is not an unusual situation. Being aware of this insect and the danger they can cause is the first step. To help you start thinking about and understanding the fascinating termite, here are some facts that you might find interesting.
1. Termites Never Sleep
The fact that termites are working and gnawing away at your home 24/7 can be a depressing thought. In fact, termite-inspired robots are being dreamed up right now, even though the real ones are winning the battle right now. Unfortunately, it is a fact of nature that termites are programmed to work for the good of the colony and do not need to sleep. And despite being workaholics, worker termites actually have a fairly long lifespan (2-3 years) when compared to most similar insects.
2. Termites are Important for the Ecosystem
Despite the fact that they are a huge nuisance to homeowners, termites are important decomposers. If they weren’t so destructive to homes, there wouldn’t be any need for termite control. They turn plant fibers and dead trees into rich soil and are an integral part of keeping forests healthy. They also improve already existing soil by aerating it with their tunnels.
3. Termites have a Complex Social Structure
Termites have a caste-like social structure with various positions that perform different jobs needed for the survival of the colony. The queen is the top of the caste system. She can live 20-25 years and lay thousands of eggs each year. Termite kings stick around to help with the duties of feeding young termites. Workers and soldiers gather food and protect the colony. Most are blind and have no need for functional eyes because they spend all of their time underground or in the confines of the nest. Lastly, reproductives are the next generation of kings and queens that will fly away to find mates and a new nest site. This complex social system has worked well because scientists believe that termites have existed for over 250 million years.
4. Termites are Prolific
The number of termite species on earth today is astounding. Worldwide there are as many as 3,000 separate and unique species. The majority of these species are found in Africa, but the U.S. is home to about 50 different types of termites. When the weight of all these termites is combined, there is approximately 1,000 pounds of termites for every human being on earth. No wonder pest control companies are doing so well around the world, the market is only growing.
5. Termites Can Do a lot of Damage
While this fact might not be surprising in itself, the numbers don’t lie. The Formosan subterranean termite is responsible for the majority of the damage done. The largest of these colonies can eat about a pound of wood per day. That may not seem like very much, but over months and years, the unseen damage can really add up. Formosan termites got the nickname of “super-termite” because of how large the colonies are and how quickly they can eat away at structures, causing large amounts of damage. Formosan termites are the most destructive, challenging, and economically disastrous termites in the southern United States.
While termites are fascinating creatures that are an important part of the ecosystem, they can also be serious household pests. At Six Brothers Pest Control, we understand the worry and stress that homeowners feel when they find out that their home has suffered termite damage. Luckily, in most cases, termite damage is slow enough that with regular control measures, you needn’t fear. Give us a call today to set up an inspection and treatment plan. We are here to help protect your home and family.