How well do you know termites? We've put together a quick and informative list of facts that will help you get a better understanding of these tiny wood-destroying insects. The more you know, the safer your Aiken home will be.
1. Termites are not ants.
If you uncover termite workers diligently feeding on the inside of your home, you may think they're ants. They have six legs, three body parts, and two antennae, just like ants do. But termites are definitely not ants. In fact, termites and ants are natural enemies. This is why you'll always see solder termites with the workers. Soldier termites have black pincers that they use to do battle with ants and other termite predators.
2. Winged termites are not a species of termite.
If you've ever seen a termite swarmer, you might be tempted to think it is a species of termite because swarmers aren't pale-colored, like the workers. They are black, or a dark orange. But winged termites aren't a species, they are a caste. Within a termite colony, there are a few roles to play. There are workers, soldiers, reproductives, a queen, a king, and winged reproductives. We call these winged reproductives swarmers because they swarm together during the mating process.
3. Termites in the United States don't build those giant mounds you've seen on National Geographic.
If you've ever watched a National Geographic documentary on termites, it is likely that you've seen the giant mounds that termites can make. These mounds are not found in the United States because the termite species that make these mounds do not live here. Our termites establish themselves inside wood or under the ground. The most destructive termites are the underground termites we call subterranean termites. They cost U.S. property owners billions of dollars annually.
4. Termites never sleep.
Have you ever wondered how such a tiny insect can present a threat to your property? One reason is that termites don't sleep. They can feed on your property 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
5. Worker termites hate the light.
When termite workers feed on a man-made structure, they rarely expose themselves because they have a strong aversion to light. But research is lacking on how they even know to avoid it. Worker termites are completely blind. Some theorize that a worker termite may have some other area of its body that is photosensitive, and it may excrete a pheromone when it is exposed to light. This pheromone scent, and this mysterious ability to detect light, may work together to prevent termites from getting out into the sunshine. This makes them extremely difficult to detect.
6. Termite workers don't just eat wood
When a termite worker tunnels into your yard, it will be looking for more than just sources of decaying wood. Those workers can eat a variety of things. They'll eat dead plants and decaying trees—particularly trees that have heart rot. They'll eat cardboard, some clothing materials, paper, certain plastics, and even drywall.
7. Subterranean termites are strongly attracted to moisture
The skin of a termite worker is thin and requires a lot of moisture. When termites get into a man-made structure, they bring moist soil up into their tunnels to keep them hydrated. A damp perimeter around your home is going to be attractive to these insects. This is why we often suggest cleaning gutter systems and repairing broken splash blocks and downspouts as a first step in termite prevention.
8. Termite swarmers don't eat at all.
If you're concerned about swarmer termite chewing their way into your home, you need not. Swarmers don't consume food like workers do. In fact, workers are the only termites in a colony that acquire food. All other termites get their food from the workers through a process of shared fluids.
9. Termites are hard to get rid of.
The way a termite colony attacks your home makes these insects hard to eliminate and detect. Subterranean termites come up from the ground and feed on the inside of your wood. The only way to effectively stop them is to use a product that has the ability to spread through the colony. You have to get the workers to share it. And this product must be deployed correctly to achieve complete protection. The experts here at Aiken Pest Control trust the Sentricon® System with Always Active™. If you want to protect your South Carolina property from termite damage, this is the way to go. Let the Certified Sentricon® Installers at Aiken Pest Control help you get your protection in place.