Termites: Everything At One Place


Termites are small insects that live in groups and have different roles (eusocial). They eat wood and other dead plant matter and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Furthermore, termites are part of the Blattodea order and are in the suborder Isoptera or the family Termitoidae. Initially, termites were in a different order than cockroaches, but recent phylogenetic studies show that they evolved from cockroaches because they have a close relationship to wood-eating cockroaches of the genus Cryptocercus.

Before, experts believed the separation occurred during the Jurassic or Triassic. Moreover, newer estimates say that they first appeared in the Late Jurassic. The first fossils of them were present in the Early Cretaceous. About 3,106 species are there so far, and there are still a few hundred to name. Even though people often call these bugs “white ants,” they are not ants. In fact, they don’t have any close relationship with ants.

General Information About Termites

Termites, like some ants and bees and wasps in the distinct order Hymenoptera, have sterile “workers” and “soldiers. All colonies have one or more “kings,” which are fertile males, and one or more “queens,” which are fertile females. Most of the time, termites eat dead plants and cellulose, which they find in wood, leaf litter, soil, or animal dung. Termites are vital detritivores, especially in subtropical and tropical areas. They recycle wood & plant matter is very important for the environment.

Termites are one of the most successful groups of insects on Earth. They occur on every continent except Antarctica. Their colonies can have as few as a few hundred people or as many as several million people. Moreover, termite queens are the only bugs that are known to live the longest. Some queens have been said to live up to 50 years. In contrast to ants, which go through a full metamorphosis, each termite goes through an incomplete metamorphosis in which it goes through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Colonies are “superorganisms” because the termites are part of an entity that can take care of itself: the colony.

Termite Facts

Termite damage

1. Termites Are Eusocial.

This indicates that they live in a caste system, where each group has a different job.

2. The Soldier Caste And Queens Can’t Feed Themselves.

These two castes depend on worker termites to feed them by spitting out cellulose that has already been broken down.

3. Termites Keep Clean.

Termites in a colony spend a lot of time cleaning each other to keep from getting sick.

4. Termite Queens Decide What Kind Of Termite Their Young Will Become.

They do this by giving the young feces that have pheromones in them. The role of the termitne will depend on what kind of pheromone the queen puts on the waste.

5. Termites Make Many Different Kinds Of Pheromones.

The glands on their chests are where the pheromones come out. Different pheromones tell other members of the same caste a lot of different things.

6. Termites Have Sense Organs.

These organs are at the base of their antennae and tibiae, letting them feel vibrations. Scientists have seen that some species choose where to live based on the vibrational sounds that different pieces of wood make.

7. Termites Can Talk To Each Other By Making Vibrations.

Soldier termites tap or bang their heads against the tunnel walls of the colony when they sense danger. This makes vibrations that tell the rest of the colony something is wrong.

8. There Have Been Many Kinds Of Termites For A Long Time.

Some termite species have been around for more than 250 million years.

9. Eating termites is good for you.

Termites are a very healthy food because they have a lot of iron, calcium, protein, fatty acids, and amino acids.

10. They Never Sleep

Termites build their colonies all day, every day, around the clock.

11. Termite Colonies Are Big.

There were more than three million termites in the biggest termite colony ever found.

12. Ants And Termites Are Enemies.

So, how to kill termites? In fact, ants are the main thing that kills termites and keeps them from spreading. When termite and ant colonies are close to each other, they will sometimes fight over territory and food.

13. Some Types Of Termites Build Their Colonies On The Side Of A Building.

Termite mounds can be up to 30 feet high in tropical places like parts of Africa.

14. Termite Damage Is Expensive.

Termites cause more than $5 billion worth of damage to property every year. That’s why getting rid of termites as soon as possible is important!

15. Termites Come In Many Different Kinds.

There are more than 2,700 different kinds of termites in the world.

16. There Are A Lot Of Termites.

Some estimates say that they make up 10% of the biomass of all animals and 95% of the biomass of soil and insects in tropical areas.

17. In Some Termite Species, Some Queens Can Lay 15 To 25 Eggs Per Minute.

This means that more than 40,000 termite eggs are laid every day! Termite queens from the family Termitidae can lay a million eggs a year. In fact, it is known that they lay about 10 million eggs each year.

18. Termite Queens Live Longer Than Any Other Kind Of Insect.

Some termite queens can live for 30 to 50 years, having babies every year and starting many new colonies. If you put every single termite on the planet on a scale at the same time, they would weigh a total of 445 million tonnes.

If the same thing were done to people, we would weigh 350 million tonnes.


Distribution And Diversity

All continents except Antarctica have termites. However, the number of termite species is low in North America and Europe (10 species in Europe and 50 in North America). But it is high in South America, where over 400 species are known. Besides, out of the 3,000 species of termites that have been identified so far, 1,000 live in Africa, where there are a lot of mounds. Moreover, in the northern part of Kruger National Park alone, about 1.1 million termite mounds are still alive.

There are 435 types of termites in Asia, and most of them live in China. However, termite species are only found south of the Yangtze River in mild tropical and subtropical areas. All ecological groups of termites in Australia, such as damp wood, dry wood, and subterranean, are unique to the country, and there are more than 360 known species. Because termites are so social and there are so many of them, they make up too much of the world’s insect biomass. Bear in mind about 1% of insect species are termites and ants, but they make up more than half of insect biomass.

What Do Termites Look Like?

Correct identification, as with any other pest, guarantees the implementation of the most effective control methods and enables you to select the most appropriate preventative measures to avoid future issues.

As they develop from an egg to an adult, termites go through a series of distinct morphological and behavioral changes, namely “castes.” Moreover, recognizing the several termite species that might coexist inside a single colony is crucial.

When you break their nest, it is the workers that you will see first. They chew wood with their harsh mouthparts, which contrast with their pale brown, soft bodies and lack of eyes and wings. They have both sexes, yet neither can reproduce. Young workers provide for and care for the young of all other castes.

So, what does a termite look like? Soldiers protect the colony against predators like ants. They have no eyes, a jellylike body, and no wings. Moreover, in some species, the mandibles (jaws) are enlarged, and the heads of the soldiers are disproportionately huge. Besides, the nasus on the snouts of animals belonging to the subfamily Nasutitermitinae is used to spray a liquid that deters predators. Typically, these warriors are much more diminutive than the laborers. Soldiers cannot provide for themselves and must rely on laborers for sustenance.

What Is The Difference Between Ants And Termites?

Most people mistake termites for ants, especially while they’re in their winged stage, because of their comparable size. The only time you’re likely to see a termite on your property is if it’s in the winged stage, the alates, or has recently shed its wings.

The fragile bodies of the other termite stages dry out fast when exposed to the dry air outside their nests or tunnels. Thus they cannot survive outside for very long. Open-air termite foragers consume decomposing plant debris such as dead grass, leaves, twigs, and lichen; nonetheless, these insects thrive only in damp environments, are rarely encountered outside of rural settings, and are not structural pests.

Termites, on the other hand, invade dwellings in search of wood and other cellulose sources like paper, while ants seek out the stuff that humans eat, such as sweets and protein. Some ant species are so well adapted to attacking ants and even co-habiting termite nests that ants might be considered the primary predators of termites.

What Do Termites Eat?

Termites are detritivores, which means they eat dead plants at any stage of decay. Furthermore, termites are vital for the ecosystem because they recycle things like dead wood, poop, and plants. Moreover, many species eat cellulose, and their midguts are designed to break it down. Furthermore, 11 percent of the methane in the air comes from the breakdown of cellulose by termites.

Methane is one of the most important greenhouse gases. Termites mostly depend on symbiotic protozoa (metamonads) and other microbes in their guts, such as flagellate protists, to break down the cellulose for them so they can use the end products. In a termite’s gut, there is a microbial ecosystem with many species that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth.

When termites hatch, they don’t have these symbionts in their guts yet. They get them when they eat a culture of other termites. In turn, gut protozoa like Trichonympha depend on the symbiotic bacteria that live on their surfaces to make some of the digestive enzymes they need. Most higher termites, especially those in the Termitidae family, can make their own cellulase enzymes, but they mostly depend on bacteria.


Termite eggs

Termite Treatment

So, how to get rid of termites? Termite control can prove a big challenge. To get rid of termites at home, mix some borax powder with water and spray it over the infested regions. Cabinets and other wooden furniture are protected against termites with this non-toxic method.

Do Termites Fly?

The nymphs of long-winged termites already have eyes and the beginnings of wings. They’re both sexes, and when conditions are right, they’ll mature into swarming insects called alates.

Is Termite Harmful To Humans?

Most of the time, termites don’t bite or sting. They only eat wood and are looking for food. But a soldier termite can bite or sting if it feels threatened or attacked. Termite bites don’t kill you, but they can make you itch, swell, and feel like you’re on fire.

What Causes Termites At Home?

Moisture is one of the main things that make pests, like termites, want to come into your home. Keeping termites away from your home will be easier if you get rid of any extra water. Buying a dehumidifier can help if you live in a place with a lot of moisture in the air.

What Is The Best Way To Get Rid Of Termites?

You can treat your home with termite-killing solutions. Moreover, you can use direct chemicals within the home, and you can use termite baits. You can also spray boric acid into the floors and walls to kill any remaining termites.

Should You Kill Termites?

You can’t get rid of termites entirely, but you can keep them from establishing new colonies in or around your house. Termite management is a job best left to the experts, despite the temptation to do it yourself.

Can Termites Get In Your Skin?

You can’t get rid of termites entirely, but you can keep them from establishing new colonies in or around your house. Termite management is a job best left to the experts, despite the temptation to do it yourself.

Can Salt Kill Termites?

Termite Phoenix claims that Salt is an excellent termite treatment. You may get rid of termites by spreading Salt around the perimeter of your home. Always make sure that you protect the entire boundary. Excavate a hole in the yard and fill it with water and rock salt to deter critters.

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