Your home is your sanctuary. And while this quote seems hackneyed, it is the most apt sentence to describe the sentiment we hold for our place. It is where we return to after a long day of work and it is our abode for lazy Sunday’s when we want to sleep in without a care in the world. In such a case, a termite infestation can be nothing short of a time sentence in hell. If you have been subject to termites in your home, we know you are nodding your head in agreement. And if you have not, buckle up because in this first edition we will provide you detail knowledge about the termite caste system and how to identify this pest in your home!
- Know what you are dealing with
The first step to overthrow the enemy is to know everything we can about it. Only then can we devise a plan to defeat!
So let us see what we are dealing with. Termites range in size from 1/8 of an inch to 1 inch long. They may be brown, white or black in colour depending on the species, role and life stage of the particular termite in question. Most worker and soldier termites are completely blind as they do not have a pair of eyes.
Yet termites are very sneaky creatures and can remain undetected within a household for as long as 30 years!
However it is usually true that you can detect signs of termites after your home has already been infested. If you think you have white ants in your home, you might just have a termite infestation. To prevent this, a yearly inspection may help to prevent against any potential termite infestation as to an untrained eye many red flags can go undetected.
- Know what they eat
Termites are detritivores (don’t say this aloud or you will have floating furniture!)They mainly fulfill their daily cellulose requirements by feeding on dead plants and trees. Wood constitutes a majority of the termites diet, but some pests also eat other subsidiary matter such as paper, plastic, and even drywall. While most termites prefer dead wood, some termites may feed on living trees.
While termites are one of the smaller pests that can invade your household, it is their dietary habits that make them the most threatening to homeowners. They may measure about 1/8th of an inch, but are fully capable of shaking home foundations, weakening furniture and destroying stored books.
Termite’s tunnel through soil long enough to find their source of cellulose. They also follow small objects by creating gaps in the soil that helps them to locate their food source. If you are in the habit of leaving food out, beware. Termite follow the scent of fungi associated with food and decayed food sources (fruits & vegetables). While searching for an infestation, examine any moist locations that may have developed fungi. You might be able to locate termites as well!
- The termite caste system
Much like ants, termites are also divided into colonies with specific roles assigned to members of the colony. To better understand termites, let us have a look at their caste division.
Fun fact: A young termite queen lays an egg every 3 seconds for a total period of 15 years! This means that not only are termites capable of rapidly multiplying, but they destroy property in a relatively short time span.
The queen is also the manager of the colony. The worker termites report their progress and she monitors the activities of the colony through chemical messengers known as pheromones. Termite queens can produce millions of eggs every year and their rapid growth if one of the reasons why termite control should be taken utmost seriously.
In the first year of establishment of the termite colony, the king assists the queen in nurturing the first batch of their offspring as the sole male reproductive member of the termite colony. However, the role of the king is restricted to reproduction after the first year.
Worker termites constitute as the majority of the colony’s members as a mature colony can have up to a thousand workers. Their work is extensive as they are responsible for searching for food, feeding the young, building a shelter and performing their housekeeping duties. Worker termites are responsible for the damage to your household as the rest of the colony members do not have the necessary mouthparts that are adapted to penetrate through wood. As a result, they are the food providers for the entire colony other members are fed by them.
Alates or swamer termites
Swarmer termites are the more mature and feared members of their colony, mostly due to their winged presence. They evacuate their parent colonies in the mating season to establish colonies of their own. However, most of these winged nuisances die in the attempt leaving behind their carcasses and wings along doors, window frames, furniture and walls. In the upcoming spring season, be vigilant to the presence of any such atrocity that may signify the presence of a colony in your household.
The soldier termite defends the colony when it is under attack. They do not directly damage wood or plants as they do not have the necessary mouth parts to do so. However, in case of possible threat the soldier termite defends the colony by plugging itself onto vulnerable areas. It is for this reason, they have heads larger than the rest of their family members and bodies that are stronger and more adapted to dealing with attack. As a result, you may be able to spot them outside the colony defending their other family members.
We hope you liked this informative post. At American fumigation, termite control is one of the many services that we provide to our customers. Over the years the company has established a reputation and maintained a value as a provider of high quality service and has enjoyed a steady growth of its customer base. We are committed to providing a reliable, good quality and trouble free service ensuring complete client satisfaction.
Stay tuned for further editions this spring season about termites!
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