Table of Contents
Termites are easily one of the most feared insects on Earth. When you look at all the potential damage they can do, it is easy to understand why this is the case. They might not bite or spread disease, but they are one of the most destructive insects out there. There is a risk they will damage a wooden structure to near collapse within a few months. Therefore, it is imperative to understand everything you can about this insect, so you can get detect and remove them from the property as quickly as possible.
- Termites are social pests. Where you’ve found one, there are likely tons more. They work in groups, live in large societies, and cooperate for the sake of the colony.
- While this insect is known for destroying wood, it is the cellulose in the wood that they are after.
- Cellulose can be found in a variety of other products, including cotton fibers, cardboard, paper, and wood furniture.
- Termites choose to build their initial colonies underground, about 300 to 400 feet away from the home. When you see a mound growing from the ground, the colony has reached its full size. The population is overgrowing its initial nest.
- Some termites will burrow and build nests in wood structures like patios and porches. These are usually secondary colonies that get built after the first colony reaches its maximum growth potential.
- While there are 2,000 termite species, it is the Subterranean termite that does most of the damage.
- This species is responsible for 95 percent of the reported $2 billion in damage done each year.
Breaking Down And Understanding The Termite Society
As mentioned above, termites do most things together. They work, live, eat, and grow together. However, there is an order to this chaotic idea. Termites have a chain of command so to speak. Understanding this chain of command and how it operates will help you understand the termite.
The Queen Termite (Primary Reproductive)
- It all starts with the queen. She is not only the biggest member of the colony, but she is in essence the leader. Everything that is done is done to please her. She can grow to be 4 inches in length.
- The queen is so big that if she needs to be moved, which she often does, it will take hundreds of worker termites to accomplish the task.
- She is responsible for reproductive purposes and can produce 30,000 eggs in a single day!
- If properly cared for, she can thrive for 10 years.
The King Termite (Primary Reproductive)
- The king’s main role is to serve his queen. And that’s what he does.
- However, the king will continue mating and helping grow the colony.
- The worker termite is the workhorse and backbone of the termite colony. There are hundreds of them. Termites work non-stop, 24/7.
- They are primarily responsible for building and maintaining tunnels, feeding other colony members, foraging for food, and grooming other termites.
- They are soft-bodied, somewhat light in their color with no wings, and grow to only about the size of a grain of rice. Don’t overlook the worker termite based on its size.
The Soldier Termite
- The soldier termite defends the colony and wards off threats. Termites primarily must worry about ant attacks, but they can be attacked at any given time.
- These termites are white, soft-bodied, and wingless.
- Their primary weapon of defense is their long, powerful jaws that can be used to attack.
- The winged reproductive termites can consist of both male and female members.
- Where each colony only has 1 king and 1 queen, every colony will have hundreds of winged reproductive termites or swarmers.
- These are the members of the colony that are responsible for starting new colonies.
- These members can also assist with the reproductive part of the colony, hence their name.
Learning To Differentiate Between The Flying Ant And Flying Termite
In Raleigh North Carolina, there are two common nuisances that you’ll end up seeing a lot of. The flying ant and the flying termite will quickly become annoyances around your property. While they are similar, they are entirely different in the way they operate, live, and look. Detecting and eliminating these insects will also be different. Therefore, you’ll have to learn to differentiate between the two. Here’s what you need to know:
- Both the winged ant and winged termite have two sets of front and back wings. (This makes for a total of 4 wings for both)
- The front pair of wings on the flying ant is longer than the back and is not easily broken off.
- The front and back wings on the flying termite are the same in length but can easily be snapped off. Whether they get caught or pulled, they are susceptible to damage.
- The waists of the flying ant are narrow and pinched, whereas the flying termite has a thicker and less defined waist.
- Both insects have antennas, but it is the flying ant that has the elbowed antennas. The flying termite’s antennas are straight.
Are Termites Dangerous?
This is usually the major concern when homeowners find themselves dealing with any insect. How dangerous are they and why kind of damage can they do? By now, you should know that the termite doesn’t pose any direct threat to people or pets. It doesn’t bite, sting, or transmit disease. Nevertheless, termites can still create dangerous situations. A termite can damage a building to the point where it is about to collapse. If you’re still in the house, the risks are immense. Eliminate the pests before something bad happens.
Can I Eliminate The Infestation Myself?
Given the complexities of termite infestations, elimination is not an easy task. Most of this has to do with the fact that the termite builds its colony 300 to 400 feet away from most structures. There will likely be hundreds of entrances and exits leading to and from the structure. It will take killing every pest and treating every one of these tunnels to eliminate the threat. If you do not successfully treat it the first time around, you’ll end up wasting money and time. Therefore, it is pertinent to get it right the first time.
In addition to this, elimination usually requires the use of specialized chemicals and pesticides. These pesticides and chemicals are extremely dangerous. They are, even more so, dangerous in the wrong hands. When applied or mixed incorrectly, these chemicals can be lethal. Therefore, it is always wise to let a professional exterminator deal with the infestation.
When you’re ready to get started, call our office. We’ll take care of the infestation for you.