Know Your Enemy: 10 Things About Termites You Should Know

One of the efficient ways to grasp your enemy at its weakest point is to know some information about its behavior and nature. This is also true in wiping out the termite infestation on your property. Knowing some facts about termites would help you plan your ‘revenge’ without inadvertently spreading the infestation or risking your health. These same facts would also help in preventing the termite attack if ever you’re fortunate enough to be safe from an infestation at the moment.

1. They come in four common types

Household termites could either be drywood, dampwood, Formosan, or subterranean. These four types have varying behavior and choice of harborage. The drywood mites, for example, can survive without the moisture the other types need in order to survive. On the other hand, the subterranean type creates mud tubes and mounds to secure the colony’s passageways and to house the whole colony.

Each type requires different treatment approaches to kill the entire population. Professional exterminators are those knowledgeable about this one.

2. They eat 24 hours, non-stop.

Termites never sleep and they will spend their whole lives munching on wood 24 hours a day. This means that the damage in your house is growing even if you’re sleeping. This pest could munch a block of wood for as fast as three weeks depending on the size of the colony. Only workers munch on wood and they will deliver the food to the other members of the colony including the kings and queens. This is the reason why early detection and extermination is a must after reading these facts about termites.

facts about termites

3. The flying termites are the future kings and queens

The so-called ‘flying termites’ are actually the Alates of the colony which are equipped with wings to find a perfect harborage. Once they find a suitable place, the mites will undergo molting or shedding of wings to mate and produce multiple colonies.

Many homeowners dismiss it as harmless, flying ants. But soon after the swarmers are gone to settle down, the joke would be on the property owner. Again, early detection is key!

4. Worker and soldier mites are mostly blind

The soldier and worker termites will hatch and will live in the dark for the rest of their lives. This makes them almost blind; however, this doesn’t stop them from locating and munching cellulose-rich materials. Their blindness isn’t actually a weakness as they have the soldiers to raise the distress when there is a threat.

Termites don’t see their surroundings but they use their antennas and chemical discharge to communicate within the colony. As one of the facts about termites, this one doesn’t actually play a big role in the extermination.

5. They never live in small groups

Termites always live in a colony or worse, multiple colonies. There’s never an isolated case of a termite or two as it would surely come from a bigger group waiting for food. The Formosan mite is among the type with the largest colonies that can reach up to millions of workers in just one property. If left untreated, they can chew the whole foundation in just a few months. The smallest mite colony is composed of thousands and that isn’t really small if you think about it.

facts about termites

6. Their diet is beyond wood

This pest eats wood religiously but that doesn’t stop there. They would munch anything that has cellulose like paper, cardboard boxes, magazines, and even clothes! Termites aren’t picky eaters and they don’t spare any cellulose that comes their way.

Another fun fact about the eating habit of termites is they have to ingest the feces of their fellow mite before they start the woodwork. This is to equip their stomachs with bacteria that can digest hard cellulose.

7. Some mites can live up to 25 years

The queen is the center of the colony’s reproduction, and much to homeowners’ horror, it can live up to 25 years. This colony member doesn’t sit around and wait for food. It does its job of being an egg factory throughout its lifetime.

The lifespan of the other members including the workers and soldiers would only be in a maximum of one year. But upon the death of the queen, the colony wouldn’t cease. The king would mate the supplementary female members that have the ability to reproduce.

8. Termites are master builders ( as much as they are master destructors)

Termites build an organized network under the ground where they house the whole colony. The mound that looks like a chunk of soil is actually a centralized network where the termites lay eggs, attend to the young, and stock the food supply. Every mite has a purpose and every group has a room. These small pests are unbelievably organized and they can stage a pathway to your house without being seen.

Once they penetrate the household, they would form a neat harborage to evade capture.

facts about termites

9. The queen lays one egg per 15 seconds

As said earlier, the queen lays eggs all throughout its long lifespan. Depending on the type, some termite queens could pop out an egg every 15 seconds. That’s equivalent to 30,000 per day which will soon hatch and become workers and soldiers. Of all the facts about termites, this is the most crucial to know.

Due to the non-stop reproduction, the damage in the property the termites are infesting would also grow bigger.

10. They infest all year round

May it be winter, spring, fall, or summer, the termites will find a way to eat the wood in your house. During winter, they dig deeper into the soil or just stay in your well-heated household. The termites could slow down in reproduction or eating but they will never stop unless you exterminate the whole colony.

These facts about termites would be your springboard to locating and planning to exterminate the pest. It’s not as easy as it sounds but with the right methods and help of a professional, the mites won’t last long in your living space.