Frequently Asked Question
do termites fly?
Not all termites can fly, but termite colonies can produce flying termites during a termite swarm. A termite swarm is the season when well-built termite colonies reproduce to create new termite colonies. A swarm usually occurs after a rain event and warm. Nature gives the new-born termites wings, so that they may fly and find themselves a new home. When termites find a new home and mate with their partners. The wings shed off.
Flying-termites are normally confused with flying-ants. You can tell the difference by closely examining their physical appearance. Termite wings are of equal size while ants have unequal wings. And ant antennae bend 90 degrees while termite antennae are straight.
where do termites live?
Termites have many kinds. And their physical appearance, behavior, habitat and survival needs also vary to some extent. Subterranean termites, being the most common live in the soil. The create mud-tubes to travel to food sources.
On other hand, drywood termites like to live in the wood, they’re feasting on. These can include your furniture, wooden-house structures, cardboards or any thing that satisfies their hunger for cellulose.
The third kind is dampwood termites. Although, not so common, these can be found in decaying or wet wood. Dampwood termites are much larger in size compared to other termites. They need a lot of moisture to survive, more than an average home offers. Which is why there colonies are hardly found inside homes.
how long termites live?
Termites are tough insects, considering their colonies get attacked by predators and fungi. But still their overall life span depends on how favorable the climate conditions are. The Queen in a colony, achieves the longest life. Since, everyone in it protects the queen. Studies have found a termite queen can live up to 20 years.
Whereas the soldiers and workers are not that lucky. Both normally live up to 2 years. When required the whole colony puts their life at stake for the queen. The termites save the Queen and the Queen saves the colony. How? By laying 30,000 eggs each day!
why are termites important?
Now, there may have come a time. When you just looked at the sky and asked God, why? Why on Earth would you create termites. Because obviously, it is hard to find a positive side about an insect that costs Billions in reconstruction every year alone in the United States. But when you study nature a bit close, you’ll find that it never allows anything without importance or a contribution to this world.
And the same implies with termites. Termites are insects that are long acknowledged to help speed up the litter decomposition process. These insects also feed on mammalian dung, and help decompose 1/3rd of the mammalian dung on average in the tropics.
do termites like light?
Not all termites are attracted to light. This behavior is only present in swarmers (termites with wings). It is called phototaxis. Phototaxis is defined as the natural movement of an organism when exposed to light, towards or away. Insects that are positively phototactic move closer to light, like moths. But negatively phototactic insects move away from light, e.g: cockroaches. Why does it happen? No one knows for sure. All we have in the name of explanation are some strange theories.
According to one theory, flying-termites use the light from the sky to calibrate their flight. And in a life threatening scenario, they fly towards it (which is upwards). And interpret darkness as going downwards. And when a flying-termite sees you’re porch light it confuses it with the moonlight, flying towards it.
are termites nocturnal?
Termites remain active 24 hours a day. So yes, you can find them feasting on your furniture at night. But unlike pure nocturnal insects, termites also search for food in daylight. Since, termites live in dark places, and use their mud-tubes to travel, it is hard to see them in daylight. Moving away from light is an automatic reaction of an organism known as negative phototaxis. Since this behavior also exits in termites (except swarmers) termites are often described as nocturnal insects.
do termites bite?
Every termite colony consists of three castes: soldiers, workers and the reproductives. The soldiers have the duty to protect the colony against predators like spiders and ants. They do so by using their massive jaws, which are more than capable of biting a human. Termites never bite humans for the sake of curiosity or food, they only do that when you hold them or do damage to their colony.
Although, you may not fret about getting termite bites on your body. You should definitely do something to save your home-structure and furniture. Because they do bite wood and anything that provides cellulose.
can termites make you sick?
Like I mentioned previously, termites don’t usually bite humans. And even when they do, their bites are not toxic. But there are some others reason why termites can directly or indirectly cause health issues. The number health risk with termites is of molds. The problem is that molds and termites grow in the same kind of dark and humid environments. And when termites travel throughout your home, they can actually spread mold particles via air. Which increases the risk of it being landing on food or being inhaled. Molds can cause skin diseases, fungal infections, and can severe mid asthma. Moreover, many people can develop allergies to termites.
Drywood termites, using their strong jaws can damage electrical wiring. Which increases the risk of short circuits and fire.
do termites eat clothes?
Most people know termites as house-eating insects. But believe it or not, there is a long list of stuff that termites can feed on. And clothes are not an exception. The reason behind their eating habits is cellulose. It is the reason why the y eat wood and every other thing on their eating list. Cellulose, is also found in plants like cotton and flax plant – used to make linen fabric. Both as you know, are popular fabrics to make dresses. And can be attacked by termites. So now you know another reason to get rid of termites.
can termites chew through concrete?
Termites can not chew concrete. Their jaws are not strong enough. But do you know, there have been some cases where termites got into the house through concrete slabs? It’s not that termites are good at teleportation. It’s because they are good at finding the tiniest of cracks and squeezing through them. So yes, it is possible for termites to find cracks in concrete slabs and actually crawl up the foundation of your home.