Termites are often described as a homeowner’s worst nightmare. While you may not want them invading your neighborhood, they are fascinating insects. If you are unconvinced, just consider these fun facts about termites.
Humans have been around for more than four million years, but people are evolutionary whippersnappers when compared to termites. Scientists believe the first termites appeared more than 250 million years ago. They predate even dinosaurs.
A Family Resemblance?
Like ants, termites are social insects that live in large colonies and have assigned roles and tasks. They even physically resemble ants, but don’t let their looks fool you. Termites are actually more closely related to cockroaches.
Bring on the Stake
Like the vampires of legend, termites prefer to stay out of the sunlight. In fact, they tend to avoid light from any source. Unlike vampires, these insects have no interest in blood. However, they would likely welcome a chance to munch on a wooden stake.
It’s ironic. Although termites are perhaps best-known for their appetite for wood, they cannot digest the cellulose from wood without help. More than 100 species of bacteria, protozoa and other micro-organisms thrive inside their guts and aid with digestion. Since termites are not born with these micro-organisms already present, young termites must dine on the feces of other termites to populate their intestinal tracts with the right mix of micro-organisms before they begin consuming wood.
Which Is Which?
While all termites have the ability to be destructive, not all termites are the same. There are more than 2,700 species of termites scattered across the globe. Some 40 species are found in the United States.
Termites don’t sleep. They work around the clock. The colony also eats continuously, which may explain why worker termites have been known to travel some 250 feet away from their home base to secure food. That’s roughly equivalent to a person strolling nearly 4.5 miles to pick up groceries.
Like carbon dioxide, methane is a greenhouse gas that is linked to concerns about air pollution and climate change. It’s colorless, odorless and tasteless, and termites are thought to produce some 150 million tons of it each year.
Although they may be interesting insects, termites are not good neighbors. They can cause significant damage quickly, so it’s vital that you reach out to a pest control specialist if you suspect that termites are trying to move into your property. A family-owned and -operated business proudly serving our community for nearly 50 years, Gibson Pest Control is ready to assist you with all your pest control needs. Contact us today for a free estimate.