Termites 101

Despite the fact that they cause more than $5 billion in damage every year in the United States, termites are fascinating creatures. They live everywhere on earth except Antarctica. How much do you know about them? Check out these 10 pieces of trivia worth knowing.

Western is here to help you with any suspected problems. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to come out and inspect your home. We offer a number of termite removal solutions, technology, and fumigation for drywood termites.

termites in wood

10 terrific termite facts and figures

  1. It’s good to be queen
    Termite queens exist to reproduce – and boy, do they ever. Queens can live for 15 – 30 years, producing hundreds or thousands of eggs every single day.
  2. Kingly responsibilities
    Termite kings are great dads. They not only fertilize eggs, they also feed young termites with pre-digested meals. Yum!
  3. Wingin’ it
    Some termites are lucky enough to leave the colony to find mates. When they do so, they have wings – we know them as swarmer termites. Once mated, they break off their wings, and focus on reproduction to create their own colony. Termites sometimes even eat the wings for nourishment…how resourceful!
  4. A termite colony alarm system
    Since they cannot consume wood themselves, termite soldiers are tasked with protecting the colony…by using their head. They bang their heads against the gallery walls, resonating an alarm through the colony. Termite soldiers also have larger heads than other members of the colony, making their role easier.
  5. Eau de termite
    Termites use pheromones (scents specific to the colony) to control behavior and communicate with one another. A pheromone trail guides workers so they don’t lose their way home. Trail pheromones (released from an abdominal or sternal gland) can be used for a range of purposes. For example, bringing other workers to food sources, identifying a new nesting spot or recruiting soldiers for defense.
  6. Poop provisions
    Termites, especially drywood termites, eat each other’s poop. It’s gross, but true. Yuck. Termites must acquire a supply of microorganisms for their digestive system before they can begin the difficult work of consuming wood.
  7. Eating (and how we beat termites)
    Termites eat through a process called “proctodeal trophallaxis.” This benefits termite control efforts. When foraging termites consume bait Western uses to control them, they go back to the colony and feed it to the young through this process. This spreads the termite bait to others and ultimately eliminates the colony.
  8. Clean sweep
    Keeping clean is critical to termite survival. These pests groom each other – a lot – to keep parasites and harmful bacteria from infiltrating the colony. Worker termites assist the queen when she is in her reproductive cycle by cleaning her as well.
  9. Hey, Tyrannosaurus Rex
    Termites walked among the dinosaurs. The first evidence of their existence is from 130 million years in the Cretaceous period. That means they lived at the same time as triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex.
  10. Can’t see a thing
    Most termites are blind. Since soldiers and workers spend most of their lives in the dark doing work, they don’t need sight. The only termites with sight are kings and queens in search of mates.

costs of termite damage

Termite prevention for your home

You know termites could wreak serious havoc, but did you know that termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage every year? Only 183 of the 3100 known termite species cause damage that is detrimental to humans and our structures. But those 183 species are hard at work. Termite damage affects roughly 600,000 homes in the U.S. each year.

Termites can infest and damage a wide range of areas on your property, from your backyard to inside your home. The common places to look out for damage are foundations, walls, fences, furniture, windows, doors, and any wooden materials. Repairing termite damage should only be done once an infestation has successfully been eliminated. Although it is rare, there are some instances where termites have damaged a property beyond repair. Repairing the damage can differ depending on the type of damage done. Termite damage repair could mean replacing a garden fence or even rebuilding a wall.

Annual termite inspections are vital for early detection of termite activity to prevent the risk of large scale damage and expensive repairs. Termite inspections evaluate the conditions which make a property exposed to timber pests and identifies ways to mitigate and minimize risks of infestations.

Don’t let your home be part of that figure. Western Exterminator’s year-round plan, pestfree365, includes a termite inspection every three years, so you can be sure that your home remains termite-free. Give us a call at 888-444-6138 to learn more.

Tiffany Tenley

As a Marketing Content Manager, Tiffany has come to love and appreciate the diverse and complex world of pests—good, bad and ugly. Not only does she research and write about them, she admits to having eaten a few crickets on some cheese-laden nachos. When she's not working, Tiffany enjoys spending time with her family, exploring new restaurants, concert-going, reading, writing and traveling.

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