Posted March 6, 2020
Termites damage approximately 600,000 homes in the United States each year, costing residents an estimated $5 billion in termite control and related repairs! Termites are so widespread that they are found in every part of the country (pdf).
If you are one of the many unlucky homeowners who have experienced a termite infestation, you understand just how frustrating these insects can be.
Termites are such a difficult problem to get rid of that it almost seems like they have superpowers – which, as it turns out, they actually sort of do. Learning about termites and their behavior can help us figure out how they’ve been able to remain a major pest.
Termites are so stealthy that a colony can thrive inside the walls of a home for 8-10 years undetected.
That gives the little guys plenty of time to chow down on everything, from the wood inside the walls to furniture, books, and even wallpaper without blowing their cover.
So why are termites so hard to spot?
The main reason people don’t see termites is a simple one – they don’t like to be out in the open. Termites eat wood from the inside out and spend their lives safe in the colony’s tunnels. You can almost think of it as agoraphobia for termites (fear of leaving the house), but it is necessary for their survival.
Living life isolated from the outside world may seem extreme, but worker, soldier, and young termites (or nymphs) live in total darkness anyway. Only adult kings and queens have functional eyes, while workers and soldiers don’t have any eyes at all.
Their blindness makes them shy, careful, and highly dependent on their sense of touch to explore and communicate with each other. Termites are able to use their sensitive antennae to find their next woody treat.
Unlike ants and most other pests commonly found in homes, termite bodies are very soft. Their soft bodies lose a lot of water by evaporation, causing termites to die of dehydration in the hot sun or open air.
Termites can reproduce extremely fast. Some queens can lay several thousand eggs per day, which means a colony is constantly growing. Mature termite nests can have hundreds of thousands or even millions of individuals!
As the colony gets larger, it expands its territory. The most mature colonies will produce more than one queen to help with egg-laying duties. Sometimes, to expand territory, additional queens can even be sent far away from the original colony to start a satellite nest.
With many ant or bee species, the entire nest can eventually die if the queen or queens are killed because new eggs are not being produced. Luckily for termites (but not homeowners), a termite colony can restart itself — even if the queen is killed! Ants and bees have ways to get the colony going again if the queen dies, but only termites specifically have this powerful ability.
Queen and king termites produce special chemicals that keep the soldiers and workers from growing and reproducing. When the existing queen dies, her chemicals don’t hold the workers back anymore, and one of them can grow into a fully reproductive queen to take her place!
If even one reproductive worker survives an attack from predators or professional termite treatments, that worker could grow into a new queen and start building up the colony all over again.
This superpower is why professionals often come back once a year to inspect your home, even after a thorough termite treatment is completed. There’s just no guarantee that the colony won’t reappear in full force.
There are a few products you can apply to your home to help get rid of most pests — boric acid, food-grade diatomaceous earth, and even termite bait systems — to name a few. However, attempting your own termite extermination can be very stressful and a waste of your precious time and money.
The most efficient way to get rid of pests for good is to call a professional. Pest management companies have all the tools needed to inspect for termite infestations and kill termites for you.
You obviously want a company that can deliver excellent termite control. But what sets Fox Pest Control apart, is our ability to restore your peace of mind and to teach you how to protect your home from future damage.
Our friendly and knowledgeable Pest Pros will be with you every step of the process – when you call Fox, you’re joining a family that cares.
If you’re worried your home has a termite infestation, contact Fox Pest today!
Because No Bugs is Simply Better.