Termites feed on wood, dead plant materials, animal dung, soil, leaf litter. They are considered as pests and cause serious damage to the strength of building structures, plantation forests and plants. They live in colonies, commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions. Termites delegate labour equally among the members of the colony and take care of the young ones. The colonies have self-organized activities, decentralized and swarm intelligence. These three features guide the termites to carry out their activities effectively and exploit food from environments and sources unavailable to any other insect. Termite colonies contain soldiers, workers, nymphs, egg-laying queens and reproductive male and female termites.
The adult termite queen can produce or lay between 20,000 and 30,000 eggs in one day. It has two mature ovaries which may be sub divided into 2000 ovarioles each. The egg laying period makes the queen have a distended abdomen which increases the body length. During this time, the body size is several times longer than before mating and it makes the queen unable to move freely. The colony attendant workers assist the queen to move.
The colony king dies shortly after mating with the queen termite. The winged termites are also known as alate. They are the only termites with well-developed eyes. Alates go through incomplete metamorphosis. During rainy seasons, the alates leave their nests in large swarms. The winged termites are considered as poor fliers. They are easily deterred by wind less than 2km/h. The wind makes them fall resulting to them shedding or losing the wings.
Threats of Termites
Termites damage result to poor structural conditions of any building. They compromise safety and strength of the invaded structure especially building constructed using wood or timber.
The termites feed on wooden furniture, floors, cabinets, or ceilings at residential or commercial buildings. The insects are able to transverse through metal siding, metal and others in search of food and shelter.
Damages caused by termite result to expensive costs incurred during repairs, replacement and maintenance. The property owner may end up opting for renovation or knockdown rebuild. This will lead to time wastage and financial strain especially when you are not prepared.
Prevention of Termites
- Consider doing pest inspection regularly by hiring licensed termite inspector from a reputable pest control company. Pre-purchase termite inspections of a home or real estate helps identify damaged structures and invest on effective measures to curb future infestation.
- Destroy the nests which house the termites’ colony. Their nests are made of faeces, mud, saliva, chewed cellulose or wood, and soil. This will make it easier to knockdown their shelter.
- Application of powder repellents that are harmless to humans but vulnerable to termites. This is an effective termite treatment and control.
- Hire or employ a professional termite specialist to apply pesticides to eliminate the infestation.