The thought of termites conjures images of a home being slowly consumed by an invisible creature. That would be many thousands of invisible creatures eating away at the skeleton of one’s home. It may be a surprise to learn that most termites are not this type of pest. There are approximately 2,800 termite species in the world, and only 28 that find homes appetizing.
Eating Habits & Gas
Termites eat wood and just about anything made out of plants. Fabrics, wallpaper, and plastic are known to have been consumed by termites, which is why many opt for termite treatments Fort Myers FL. An average colony can eat as much as one to two pounds per day, and while digesting their food, termites produce as much as 150 tons of methane gas annually.
Basic Species & Types
There are three basic termite species: damp wood and dry wood based on eating preferences, and the subterranean, which lives underground. A king and queen found each colony, and mature colonies may have many kings and queens along with soldiers and workers. Termite queens can lay eggs as fast as one every 15 seconds, pre-determine the roles of her young, and can live up to 20 years.
Population Density & Attributes
It is believed that termites were roaming the earth long before humans and even before dinosaurs. There is even evidence they were first to practice agriculture by farming fungus millions of years ago. Today, termites outnumber people, and their total mass outweighs humans.
They have temporary wings that fall off after they move to a new colony and hold the record for the fastest movement in the animal world. Just in their hindgut, each termite has over 1,400 species of bacteria, making them a gold mine of microbiomes. They never sleep, use vibrations to communicate, and squeeze through any opening the width of a penny or larger.
Architectural Prowess & Cooling
Termites are known to be masters of mud in creating an architectural masterpiece and enormous mounds. The tall tower seen above ground on a termite mount is an air conditioning system. Tubes or tunnels run from lower in the colony all the way to the top to let air circulate and cool the colony.
All of these interesting facts fail to make the termite more attractive to have around if they are munching on one’s home. Learning facts about termites can help explain why they are such a formidable enemy.