Don’t these wood chewing creatures cause enough damage? Are we to believe that termites are responsible for the increased levels of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the two greenhouse gasses scientists say contribute to global warming? In a 1982 New York Times article, researchers said that termites emitted 30% of the Earth’s atmospheric methane. It was estimated as long ago as 1982, that there were ¾ of a ton of termites for every human. That’s a lot of termites. With that many termites, it is astonishing that anything made of wood has not completely disappeared.

The Hierarchy of Termites

All termites are social, live in colonies, and have a social hierarchy. A small colony can chomp down 5 grams of wood every day of the year. Imagine the inner framing of your home disappearing at the rate of 2-feet per year! Given enough time, termites will chew and munch your home straight down to the foundation. The same as a tornado except the accumulated damage takes longer. But is it the fault of the termite that humans decided to build their homes out of wood?

Workers

Worker termites can’t digest wood without the help of certain microbes in their gut which break down the cellulose in the wood. Workers are cream-colored and are on the bottom of the food chain, though the work they do is more significant than anything else any of the other termites do. Their job is to find food, raise the Queen’s offspring, dig and clean out tunnels, and regurgitate food for soldier termites.

Soldiers

Soldier termites are larger and more intimidating in their appearance. They stand watch and battle predators such as ants who love to dine on termites. When an enemy is spotted, the soldiers and workers issue a warning to the colony by rapidly beating their heads against the wood in your home.

Colony Royalty

Colony royalty are the only termites with wings. Every 3-4 years, during the late summer or fall, these new kings and queens fly away to begin new colonies. Because of their inability to adapt to flight, most swarmers become victims to natural predators and only a small number actually ever make it. The small percentage who do make it lose their wings and seal off a private habitat where the queen proceeds to lay thousands of eggs. After the eggs hatch and become larvae, they squirm their way out from the King and Queen’s domain to the main colony where they are cared for by the workers. The King and Queen remain faithful to each other for the duration of their life span of 25 years or more. In comparison, soldiers and workers only live a few years.

Treatment Options

Preventative treatment may include such things as when building a new home or new fence, consider ways to elevate the construction away from the soil where harmful termites make their home.

Home owners only have two choices of treatment for subterranean or dampwood termites: insecticides or bait. Miller Pest and Termite in Omaha choose the Sentricon baiting system and here are a few reasons why.

  • Although the Sentricon baiting system does not attract termites, the bait is found by foraging workers who hungrily gobble up the food source, return to the nest where they feed it to the colony. Eventually, the queen eats the bait, dies, and so does her ability to produce thousands of eggs every day.
  • The Sentricon system begins working as soon as the system is installed.
  • Bait stations only need to be checked annually.
  • Perfectly safe to install around pets and children.
  • No tenting, no smelly residual chemicals to deal with, therefore, the Sentricon baiting system is the safest, most economical and most effective treatment for subterranean and dampwood termites.

If you’re seeing termites or you’re not quite sure what it is you’re seeing, contact Miller Pest and Termite today for a free inspection.