Termites are widely misunderstood insects. Typically, when you think of termites, you only think of the harm they can do to your home or business. In the U.S. alone, termites and similar pests cause over $30 Billion in damage to over 600,000 homes annually. But termites also have some redeeming qualities worth considering.
1. Termites are beneficial to the environment:
Despite the fact that they can destroy our built structures, they are actually very environmentally friendly. They’re nature’s way of cleaning up dead trees and transforming them into rich soil. Nature can then use this fertile soil to regrow new plants and trees at an accelerated rate. In addition to disposing of old wood, they also help circulate air through the soil, which helps plants and trees receive the water and supplements they need quicker and easier.
2. Ants are Termites’ major predators
Did you know that ants are termites’ biggest natural predators? Although we are not promoting keeping termites away with an ant infestation, a few ants help naturally protect your home from termites.
3. Termites are workaholics
Termites are one of the most efficient and hardest-working insects. They are nature’s true workaholics as they work 24/7 and don’t require sleep. While their diligence and hard-working attitude is admirable, this is also one of the reasons why they are so destructive. A small termite problem can become a serious concern in a relatively short period of time. This is why it is so important to conduct regular termite inspections and control with a qualified termite specialist like Sure Shot Exterminating in Tulsa.
4. Termites are ancient, social creatures that greatly outnumber us
The earliest fossil records of termites date back all the way to the Cretaceous period, beginning 145 million years ago and ending 66 million years ago. Because of this, termites hold the world record as the most established mutualistic living beings, a being whose mutual dependency is necessary to its social well-being. Did you know they also outnumber us? For every person on the plant, there are 1,000 pounds of termites. (That’s the same weight as an adult cow!)
5. Eating Termites may have medicinal benefits
Many different cultures eat termites for medicinal benefits. Some people who live in the Amazon make a soup of boiled termites and sugar to cure whooping cough. To cure the flu, they breathe in the smoke of burning termite nests.
6. Termites are a good source of protein
Termites contain 38% protein. They are also rich in iron, calcium, basic unsaturated fats and amino acids like tryptophan. Because of this, people in several countries consume them as a regular part of their diet. In Singapore, people eat termite queens live or dipped in alcohol. Some people also enjoy them soaked in rice wine. What do they taste like? It depends on what kind of wood they eat, but raw termites taste like pineapple and cooked termites have a delicate vegetable flavor.
7. Most Termites are blind
Unlike many other pests, most termites rely on chemical signals called pheromones, environmental clues and their sense of touch rather than eyesight. Only the termite kings, queens and reproductives have small, weak eyes. The workers and soldiers are completely blind.
8. Some termites can fly
Reproductive termites, also known as swarmer or flying termites, are the only termites with wings. Reproductive termites are the kings and queens of the colony and mate periodically throughout the queen’s 30-year lifetime. When a colony matures, the additional reproductive termites fly away to mate and begin new settlements.
9. Termites are well-groomed
You wouldn’t think termites would be such clean freaks but termites try to stay clean because it’s essential to their survival. They invest a considerable amount of time cleaning each other to get rid of harmful microbes and parasites and to keep other harmful substances from spreading.
10. Termites have a special warning signal
When they are in danger, termites communicate with each other through vibrations. They hit their head against a wall to generate vibrations that resonate throughout the colony and signal others to find safety.
Although termites are amazing creatures, if you have a termite infestation, you need to know how to identify signs of an infestation and get rid of them before they cause too much damage to your property.
Visible signs of a termite infestation
- Active or live termites
- Shelter/mud tubes (Muddy shelters termites build to protect themselves while accessing their food source. You can often see tubes on sheetrock, concrete foundations, in crawl spaces and other visible areas.)
- Frass (Termite droppings, often found around tubes, damage and exit holes.)
- Exit holes (Pin to nail-sized holes found in sheetrock, trim boards, and other building materials.)
- Wood damage
Scientists estimate that people spend millions of dollars each year to treat termites and repair termite damage. For this reason, most home and property owners prefer to identify and treat termites early. We recommend having your home or property inspected by a certified termite inspector from a reputable pest control company, like Sure Shot Exterminating in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and beginning regular termite treatments to decrease your risk of a termite infestation.