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Termites & Their Eating Habits


Termites are by far the most destructive pest of all time. Especially, when you have wooden bearings, floors, and walls, you would not want any of these creatures to reach your structure. As responsible homeowners, it is your responsibility to take good care of your house. It provides security and safety to you and your family. And I’m sure you cannot afford to lose it. 

To get rid of termites, you need to get to know the creature from its physical characteristics, to its reproduction capabilities, lifestyle, habitat, and eating habits. To give you an overview, here are some of the most important facts about termites.

Eusociality refers to the highest level of organization or sociality. It is characterized by cooperativeness, brood care, and overlapping generations within a colony. Termites belong to the group of eusocial insects like ants, wasps, and bees. Just like these creatures, a termite colony has a form of divided labor.

All over the world, there are over 3,106 species of termites recorded. Yet a few hundred more is left to describe. Just like ants, the termite colony consists of sterile male and female workers and soldiers. But unlike most colonies, they have a king and a queen. Apart from these, a termite colony also has a secondary queen and a tertiary queen just in case the primary queen dies. The lowest termites in the hierarchy are the soldiers and the workers who are responsible for labor, foraging, brooding, and nest maintenance.

Their caste is considered among the most successful groups of insects on our planet. According to entomologists, they exist and colonize most landmasses on Earth except in Antarctica because they cannot survive the cold. The queen termite has the longest lifespan among all the insects. Entomologists report queens that can live up to 30 to 50 years. Unlike most insects, termites do not undergo a complete metamorphosis. After they hatch from their eggs, they become nymphs, and soon, adults. This is one of the reasons why termites are called superorganisms because they form a part of a self-regulating entity.

Unlike most species, termite eggs undergo three to four molting periods before they become nymphs. When they reach this phase, they usually molt into termite workers and after further growth and development, they turn into soldiers. However, the development of nymphs to become adults takes several months to accomplish. During their molting, they need their environment to be in optimal condition. They must have sufficient food, moisture, and protection.

Termites are named after the Latin word termes, meaning “woodworm or white ant.” Despite their name, these creatures must not be mistaken as ants. In 1934, entomologists suggested termites be classified under the family of cockroaches because they resembled the wood-eating cockroach or the wood roach. In the 1960’s F.A. McKittrick noted the termite’s similar morphological characteristics to the cockroach. Further studies in 2008 found that these creatures shared some strands of phylogenic characteristics from their RNA.

However, a study in West Texas sprung a controversy when researchers found that termites emerged way earlier than cockroaches. Entomologist, F.M. Weesner claims that termites emerged 251 million years ago during the Late Permian era. The entomologists found the fossil remains of the most primitive living termite, the Mastotermes, and they traced back its remnants to a caste system from more than 100 million years ago. They eventually found that although the termite and the cockroach shared specific characteristics and habits, they should be regarded as two different groups or species. 

Feeding Habits of Termites

Termites feed on wood and other wood products that contain cellulose. These creatures have protozoa in their stomachs and intestines that allow them to break down wood and absorb their nutrients. Although termites are known to be soft-bodied creatures, they have very hard mandibles equipped with sharp shears that enable them to bite off small fragments of wood, one piece at a time.

Termites love to infest wooden buildings and trees. They rely on the moisture and food they get from lumber and wood panels. Which is why they can be found mostly on wooden floorings, sheetrock, wooden bearings, walls, and ceilings. However, termites can also survive feeding on wallpapers, plastics, paper products, and fabric made from plant fibers. You will be surprised how much termites like to damage valuables and accessories such as carpets, artworks, books, clothing, and furniture. These creatures cause more than 5 million dollars of damage to properties every year. So, it’s best to do what you can to prevent these creatures from entering your home. 

Identification of Termites

The termite is a small creature that grows up to 4 to 15 millimeters in length. Queen termites are the largest in their colonies since they can grow up to at least 10 millimeters or 4 inches in length. The biggest recorded termite called the Gyatermes Stryiensis was initially found in Austria. It has a wingspan of 76 millimeters and a body length of 25 millimeters.

Did you know that the worker and soldier termites are blind? Most people might not know this but they do not have a pair of eyes. They use their antennae for sensing, touching, tasting, and smelling pheromones. The termite antennae are known for their basic segments – the scape, the pedicel, and the flagellum. They also have a mouthpart that contains a pair of strong mandibles that help them gnaw wood and handle food for their colony. 

How to Eliminate Termites From Your Home

There are many ways to reduce the population of termites in your home: 

  1. Use Boric Acid. This homemade poison is very effective in killing various pests. Just mix a generous amount of boric acid with water and spray it on termite-infested areas. You can also use this as a form of lawn treatment to prevent any more termites and other insects from infesting your house. 
  2. Essential oils such as orange oil, garlic oil, canola, and Aloe Vera are proven effective against termites. Just like the boric acid, spray an orange oil solution on infested areas to reduce if not eliminate the population of termites. 
  3. Termite traps work great too! As we have discussed, termites are attracted to boxes and cardboard. You can use this as a trap so you can eliminate some of these creatures from your home. Just wet a box or cardboard and leave it overnight on common termite hideouts. In the morning, you can see how many termites it caught. You can decide whether to burn it all or drown them in boric acid. 
  4. Termites are known to be one of the most common winter pests. They cannot survive the cold. This is the reason why they need to get inside our homes before winter so they can breed and survive. If you think you have termites inside your house, you can try to expose them to cold temperatures using your regulator or air-conditioner. In that way, they will be forced to evacuate. And when they do, you can place the necessary traps to exterminate them. 
  5. Sunlight is also one of their greatest enemies. Termites love to feed on damp wood and cardboard. Exposing your home to heat or sunlight can help curb their appetite and move away from your house.
  6. Use DE or Diatomaceous Earth. This works best in scorching and desiccating insects to death. Just spread a generous amount of DE where there are termites and pests around and you’re all set! You can use a trap for this so you can kill more termites in one night. 

Call for a Local Pest Exterminator in Troutman

There are instances when severe termite infestation can make your home irretrievable. This is why it is important to call for a pest exterminator near Troutman, NC. But first, you need to consider several factors to determine whether a pest control service is reliable and competent.

First and foremost, do your research. It pays off to check the ratings from Google, and the testimonies of the company’s past clients. You can also ask around which companies they tried for pest control. Assess whether they are knowledgeable and skillful enough to do their job. Apart from that, make sure they use safe and high-quality methods for pest control. It’s not enough to say they use insecticides because you can buy it in department stores. You might as well do it yourself. Their methods must be safe for your home, your environment, and of course, your family. You should never take safety and security for granted just because they claim that their treatments are effective.

Also, consider the affordability of the service. I am sure you do not want to experience any budget constraints for a pest control service. It is important to look for a competent and affordable service for your house.

Without further ado, the best and most competent pest control service in North Carolina is provided by Lake Norman Pest Control. If you are looking for a pest control service that matches all of your positive expectations, you can expect nothing else from this humble company. Experience state-of-the-art methods of pest control. In no time, you will have the pest-free life you and your family deserve. For a fast-paced and competent service, choose Lake Norman Home Services – the real heroes in the pest world.