Termites are insects that consume wood. These wood-boring insects cannot survive in colder areas. They can start new colonies by introducing infested wood to a new location or by division, which occurs when they find a new food source. The new subcolonies exploit this source and produce reproductives from the nymphs. Eventually, they break off to become their own colony. This cycle repeats itself several times, with each colony consuming a different type of wood.
Termites are wood-boring insects
There are two types of termites: subterranean and drywood. While subterranean termites are most commonly found along the Gulf Coast and in southerly regions of Texas, they are not common in most areas. Drywood termites live inside tubes, and can be easily identified by their mud tubes that keep them dry and hidden from predators. Subterranean termites, on the other hand, are not easily visible, and are usually buried underground in the wood of buildings. They are also able to enter basement walls and floor joists.
They tunnel through soil or into wood
Termites build a network of long, thin, parallel, or overlapping tunnels, with a central “highway” and small pockets on the sides for storing grass pieces. These tunnels are frequently intersected, with cutoffs occurring at intersections that are more or less perpendicular to one another. Near nests, these intersections form a regular rectilinear grid. Sometimes, they cross without joining, creating a form of fly-over.
If you’ve ever wondered why termites are so destructive, you might be interested in knowing that 90 percent of them have no eyes. Their eyesight is not important to them, as they spend most of their lives deep inside the center of the colony. Rather than seeing with their eyes, they use chemical signals and vibrations to navigate their environment. Even though termites are blind, they can still eat your house.
They can’t digest food on their own
Termites cannot digest wood cellulose on their own and need help. This is where hundreds of microbes come into play. Mostly bacteria, these microbes combine nitrogen in the air with the calories in wood to form cellulose. That’s like turning a potato into protein-rich steak. Termites need help breaking down wood cellulose because it is not their own natural food source.
They’re a threat to humans
Termites are not harmful to humans, although they can be a nuisance in some situations. Termites create dust, shed skin, and swarm, contaminating the air inside your home. These particles can cause respiratory infections, as well as allergy and asthma attacks. Termites rarely bite humans, but they are able to cause moderately painful stings to people who are predisposed to these conditions. If you suspect that you may have been stung by a termite, seek medical attention right away.
They can be treated
Termites are small, swarming insects that can cause significant damage to a home. They usually come from the soil beneath your house and can enter through cracks in concrete slabs or foundations. In addition to entering your home through cracks, termites can eat through drywall or plaster. Termite colonies can grow to millions of workers. Fortunately, termites can be treated.