Termites might be the bane of your existence, but they’re actually pretty incredible creatures.
Look past the fact that they cause billions of dollars worth of damage each year and you’ll be surprised to learn that these little decomposers have more to them than what meets the eye!
From their two-story-high homes to their fascinating ability to reproduce, we’re here to put your pest knowledge to the test. Here’s a list we compiled of 11 unbelievable termite facts.
1. They Eat More Than Just Wood
No, wood isn’t the only thing on a termite’s menu! In fact, termites have been known to consume materials like plastic, fabric, and even wallpaper.
While these ever-hungry insects definitely prefer the taste of wood, they’ll munch on pretty much anything made from plants. Their insatiable appetites cause them to spend large portions of the day eating away at structures, so that’s why they’re notorious destroyers!
You’ll definitely want to look for signs of termites to find out if they’re making a meal of your home. And if you suspect termites? Contact us immediately so we can take care of it before any more damage can be done!
2. They’re Eusocial
Believe it or not, termites live in complex social systems.
They’re eusocial insects, meaning that they adhere to a caste system. Each caste performs a different and important role that keeps the colony running smoothly.
Some termites are in charge of building, while others are in charge of laying eggs. There is even a specific caste of termites that are solely in charge of combat!
3. There Are Three Types of Termites
While on the topic of termites’ social lives, there are basically three types of termites: the king or queen, the soldiers, and the workers.
These different termites are present in every colony and no colony can function without all three. In this aspect, they’re incredibly similar to ants despite their natural feud.
4. They’re Insomniacs
Termites are hard-working insects that dedicate their entire lives to upholding the colony. In fact, they work so hard that they never sleep.
Imagine working seven days a week straight and never going to bed. These little busybodies are nature’s ultimate workaholics!
Most of their 24-hour workday is spent gnawing away at wood or other materials, which is why they’re such destructive pests.
5. They Produce Lots of Gas
As termites digest the wood and other materials that they’ve consumed, they release a significant amount of gas. While this may not seem like a lot considering the size of a termite, the gas adds up.
In fact, this quantity is so huge that the global methane emission from termites is about 20 million tons each year. That’s a lot of gas!
6. They Build Massive Mounds
Termites are among the best construction workers in the animal kingdom. Their mounds are enormous, towering over the earth as they use the tunnels within to travel from their nests to their food source.
One mound discovered in Africa reached an astounding 42 feet high, which is incredible considering the relative size of termites. That’s around the height of a two-story building!
7. They’re Hygenic
You wouldn’t think it, but termites are actually relatively clean insects. Although they spend almost all their lives in dirt, they make a communal effort to maintain hygiene.
Termites groom each other, just like cats, working to rid parasites and other harmful bacteria from one another. This might seem pointless, but this grooming is paramount to the colony’s survival: being clean keeps devastating diseases at bay.
8. They Communicate With Vibrations
Termites can sense vibrations with organs at the base of their antennae and tibiae, allowing them to both communicate and navigate the world around them.
If there’s a potential threat, soldier termites will bang their heads against the tunnel walls, alerting the rest of the colony with the vibrations.
In addition to communication, some termite species even use vibroacoustic signals emitted by wood to determine which food source to infest next!
9. They Have Lots of Children
There are 1,000 pounds of termites to every one human. That being said, termites produce a lot of offspring.
The average queen termite lays 15 to 25 eggs per minute. That’s more than 40,000 new eggs each day!
With all these larvae, you’d imagine that parenting would be a pain, but termites are actually also responsive, caring parents. Even termite fathers stick around to help out with feeding and raising their young with the queen.
10. Ants are The Enemy
Like lots of other animals, termites also have natural predators.
Ants are termites’ predators, laying waste to entire colonies if the termites are caught unprepared for an invasion.
Termite and ant colonies are often built in close proximity, causing tension as both insect groups try to access food. If an ant wanders into termite territory or vice versa, actual “wars” can break out as soldier insects organize attacks on the enemy’s colony.
11. Their Damage Costs Billions
Although they’re tiny, their hard work surely pays off. Their mighty appetites can destroy entire homes and businesses if given the chance!
As aforementioned, termites cause billions of dollars worth of damage each year. In the United States alone, termites cause an estimated $5 billion in structural property damage.
Don’t ignore the problem and get left with unexpected expenses. As soon as you suspect termites or another pest, you need to get an inspection!
Call a pest control company that you can trust to get the job done right with care and efficiency, like SafeGuard Pest Control.
Get More Termite Facts From the Pros
Thanks to these termite facts, you now have a better understanding of the fascinating world of these tiny powerhouses.
While these insects are definitely marvelous in some aspects, they’re not always welcome guests in our homes and buildings. Contact us to get a pest inspection or to find out how our top-rated services can be of assistance to you!