The knowledge that there are complex, ancient species fighting for the right to devour your walls and floorboards might not seem particularly comforting. On the flipside, consider how termites feel about having their food source relocated from the forest to the suburbs and locked up in your house. You might wonder why it is important to know anything about termites other than that they are destructive and creepy, but there are plenty of interesting facts that will increase your appreciation for these tiny insects.
They are Members of the Cockroach Family
While many people refer to termites as white ants, the best current evidence suggests they are actually descended from the same common ancestor as modern cockroaches. They share many interesting habits with cockroaches, including repetitive regurgitation of semi-digested material and consumption of each other’s faeces. Unlike cockroaches, however, termites spend a lot of time cleaning each other in order to keep their colonies free from disease.
Termites Go to War with Ants
Termites are so far removed from ants that neighbouring colonies of ants and termites will even occasionally go to war with each other.
Termite Kings Are Good Parents
Unlike so many other species in the insect world, male termite parents actually stick around for extended periods to care for their offspring.
Termites Never Sleep
Termites never sleep. They keep working 24 hours a day, and as the role of workers is to eat wood to extract cellulose, they are potentially undermining the integrity of your building all day every day.
Termite Queens Can Live a Long Time
Some species of termite queens can live up to 30 or 50 years, and some queens are capable of producing 10 million eggs per year. All this means is if you have termites, you can give up expecting them to just give up. In some species of termites, the queen is able to determine the caste of her offspring by adding different pheromones to her faeces so as to adapt to changing conditions.
With all of this time devoted to laying eggs, it may come as no surprise that the life of a queen is not particularly exciting. Once she has started laying eggs, a termite queen may never move again and will instead be tended to by thousands of her children.
Understanding Termites Microbiome May Unlock Useful Chemicals
Termites have been around on Earth for hundreds of millions of years, and their success is due largely to their ability to extract usable energy from wood. The chemistry of this is quite complex, but it is due to a symbiotic relationship of a wide range of bacteria. Recently, scientists have begun examining whether it is possible to use these bacteria to inoculate otherwise difficult to breakdown materials in the hopes of producing fuel and other useful chemicals.
Contact AGJ Pest Management to Protect Your Property from Termites
Our team of professionals can come to you and perform a pre-purchase inspection, and we also do home treatments to prevent the infiltration of termites. On top of that, we can do yearly inspections to make sure your building remains termite free and catch infestations before they become extremely costly. Call us today on 0421 533 002 or contact us online.