What are Termites?
They are colony pests and are often referred to as a silent destroyer since they can be hiding and flourish secretly in your yard or home without any instant signs of damage. Termites feed on cellulose so any home can play host to the silent killer. Although the termite is made to tear its way through cellulose materials, they can consume books with just as much ease as they feed on cabinetry. Termites can appear in any wood materials or plant without any sign that they exist.
Where do Termites Live?
Termites live in colonies with a population of over one million. The colony has many structurally segregated forms that live together and have different responsibilities in the colony. In the colonies, termites work together to collect food and nurture their young larvae. The responsibilities that each member of the colony has determines when and the reasons some termites leave the nest to establish new colonies. Where the termites start a new colony is dependent on the specific termite species and it the capacity to endure dry and cool climates.
How do Termites Reproduce?
The queen termite has an enormous body compared to that of their offspring and is an egg laying machine. She can survive for over 25 years and lay more than 2000 eggs daily. The queen can regulate the genetic makeup of the colony. It produces new queens without going through the mating process and thus decreases the chance of inbreeding. The king and queen swarm in large groups looking for a mate during the Summer. The mates perform a mild courtship dance, and they start establishing their own colony.
Within the first year of producing eggs, the queen can lay a hundred to thousands of eggs daily. The king and queen take care of the first few generations until there are adequate workers to offer them help. When the eggs hatch in larvae, the young termites develop into soldiers or workers contingent on the temperatures and pheromones the eggs are open to. Workers are the providers in the labor division of the colony and it is their responsibility to take care of feeding, upholding the order of the young and developing babies. Workers and soldiers can either be male or female, and they are both sterile. The colony population continues growing for about five years and then the queen has her initial reproductive young kings and queens that mature and get ready to swarm and depart to begin another colony.
Common Termites in the United States
There are some species of termites that are prevalent in the United States. Here are some of them.
You are likely to find these termites in your attic wood. They make colonies in wood, and they flourish on a small amount of moisture. These termites do not connect to the ground and are hard to find since they exist in small colonies. Dry-wood termites prefer areas that do not get to freezing temperatures when Winter kicks in.
They are often in nests that are in stumps or trees which can last for several years. Subterranean Termites can survive a wide range of temperatures and can live through any state apart from Alaska. They also construct mud galleries that can go over brickwork, timber and concrete.
These termites have been found in states such as Mississippi, Hawaii, Florida, Texas, Georgia among others. They are the most destructive termites, and they differ from other species in that they are somewhat large, and their bodies are yellowish brown. Formosan termites can create cartons to preserve water for the colony until they can locate a water source that is more permanent.
They require damp conditions to survive and only live in wood. Dampwood termites are often in decaying wood, stumps, dead trees and logs. Many species do not need to have contact with the soil to live. They can infest buildings, wood piles or utility poles if they have any wood-to-ground contact or moisture caused by leaks. However, they rarely infest structures.
How to Get Rid of Termites
There are several ways you can remove termites. Here are some of them:
- Using Chemicals
You can use arsenic dust to get rid of termites since it is quite effective. It kills all the colony members even if just a small amount comes into contact with it.
- With Cardboard Traps
It is among the natural ways you can use to eliminate termites. Cardboard has cellulose, and this is what termites eat. To set such a trap, spray the cardboard to make the cellulose smell more distinct. Place the trap in proximity to an area that is termite infested to attract them so you can catch and burn them.
- Heat Fumigation
Termites die when they are exposed to extremely high temperatures for over 35 minutes.
- Sunlight Exposure
Get any termite infested items away from the house and the sun rays will deal with them for you.